The BDNow! Podcast Episode 1: Joel Salatin

Joel SalatinJoel Salatin, author of FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL, at Polyface Farm
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On the evening of December 22 (correction: the interview is now rescheduled to December 27), we’ll tape an hour long interview with Local Food/Real Food production innovator and mentor of thoursands of ecological farmers, the self-described “ChristianlibertarianenvironmentalistcapitalistlunaticFarmer,” Joel Salatin, about any and all topics pertaining to food from how to produce it to how to assure we have access to it in its purest form. (The podcast will be available here and through iTunes by noon on Thursday, January 6, 2012.)
You can ask Joel a question for this forthcoming interview by going to the “Podcast” menu above and choosing the “Ask a Question” sub menu. We’ll try to bring all questions to him on the evening of the 22nd. (No need to ask a question after December 22.) (Now rescheduled to a December 27 deadline.)
If you haven’t read Joel’s newest book yet, you should get hold of it. It’s truly a deluxe publication: over 350 pages long (each one containing both facts and informative humor), hardcover with pictorial dust jacket and, unlike many books in the Health and Wellness genre, has an index! It’s a delightful, informative and entertaining read that makes clear the precarious situation we Americans have worked our way into by supporting a food system based on personal convenience and corporate profitability. Unlike many books on this topic, this book gives concrete ways and simple steps that every family can use to improve the quality of their nutrition and promote a higher level of household food security as a hedge against the insecurities of the weather, mainstream economics, and politics.
While Folks, That Ain’t Normal is written for people who are just beginning to join the Local Real Food choir, I have to admit that although I have a lifetime of farming experience I gleaned a lot of practical knowledge from this easy-to-read book, from firewood gathering to old time hog butchering. Although our flock of heritage laying hens is around 200 strong, after reading Joel’s book, I’m pretty much convinced that I’m not practicing appropriate culinary ecology by not having a few in my backyard to eat table scraps as efficiently as possible and reduce the theoretical carbon food print of our breakfast eggs.
from the publisher:
Joel Salatin is a third generation family farmer working his land in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley with his wife, Teresa, son Daniel, daughter Rachel and their families. The Salatin Polyface Farm, an organic grass-fed farm, services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs. Joel Salatin writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and American Agriculture.From farmer Joel Salatin’s point of view, life in the 21st century just ain’t normal. In FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL, he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love. Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact.Salatin, hailed by the New York Times as “Virginia’s most multifaceted agrarian since Thomas Jefferson [and] the high priest of the pasture” and profiled in the Academy Award nominated documentary Food, Inc. and the bestselling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, understands what food should be: Wholesome, seasonal, raised naturally, procured locally, prepared lovingly, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life. And his message doesn’t stop there. From child-rearing, to creating quality family time, to respecting the environment, Salatin writes with a wicked sense of humor and true storyteller’s knack for the revealing anecdote.Salatin’s crucial message and distinctive voice-practical, provocative, scientific, and down-home philosophical in equal measure-make FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL a must-read book. 

Show Notes

1 – Discussion of new book “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” including sales report, rave reviews and information from Ron Paul’s website that lists Polyface Farm Videos including conference recordings, field walk recordings

2 – Discussion of Ron Paul by joel Salatin – conservative, constitutional, entrepreneurial, non-hypocritical integrity. Discussion of government regulations

3- BSA/ slanted Governement research; government regulations on milk; illegal to label milk as being non-BSE

Question 1 – What is Polyface farm’s relationship to veterinarians? Does Polyface Farm use a vet? Use of homeopathy at Polyface; discussion of alternative decisions about animal health.

Need for “control” for comparison on farm based research on soil, etc.

Question 2 – Are you still using kelp at Polyface Farm? Discussion follows about kelp use also poultry nutribalancer. Use of nutribalancer and great results with cows.

Question 3 – How do you handle egg washing on your farm? Established benchmarks of excellence in this are; discussion of ways to stop “egg-eaters”, loitering by chickens;methods of egg washing; time of day to gather eggs, etc.

Question 4 – How much is too much to charge for a dozen eggs? Discussion on organic certification and using GMO free feed. Discussion about the spike in commodity pricing and the high price of grain. Some possible solutions font paying the high price for feed. Some discussion abut government regulation and licensing.

Question 5 (Pam Lund, Florida) -As an urban goat diary, we have no browsing area for the goats, instead we keep good hay, always diverse, grass, alfalfa, peanut and  24/7 supplementing with grains and soon-to-be sprouted grains. What is the best alternative to grass browsing dairy goats in a small area? Joel emphasizes the importance of browsing for goats and offers some solutions for the urban goat farmer/dairy.

Question 6 (Richard Hooten, Canada) – In your opinion, what are the causes of the atrophying the world? Is it overpopulation, climate change, invasive species, soil depletion, inability of man to sustain himself?  What would you deal with first? Joel discusses starting with himself and offers a few things that a person can “do”. Brainstorms ideas.

Question 7 – How do you feel about biodynamics in a larger sense?  Why wasn’t it included in your book? joel presents his observations on biodynamics. Emphasizes creativity, observation and humility.

Question 8 – Do you use a refractometer? Are you brixing your pastures?

Closing comments. Tillage is the answer! (not!)  Joel’s favorite part of “Folks, this Ain’t Normal” is the section where he talks about tillage and the expense of historic grain. The importance of herbivores and perennials are an important component in soil building.


Joel Videos at the Ron Paul Site

Joel Salatin in “Time” Magazine

Images of Joel Salatin by the Photographer for the “Time” Magazine article above

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