What's in your food?

Joel Salatin
Joel Salatin will speak at the Ag Hall tomorrow night. Photo courtesy of www.nofamass.org

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - November 16, 2006

Thanks to recent research and our continuing curiosity, more and more of us have been prompted to ask the question, "What's in the food we eat?" Joel Salatin, a sustainable farming pioneer, will attempt to provide some answers in his lecture on Friday at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury.

Todd S. Purdum called Mr. Salatin the "High Priest of the Pasture" in his May 2005 article of the same name, which appeared in the New York Times.

Mr. Salatin of Polyface Farm in Swoope, Va., has been preaching his farming message for years. His family has owned Polyface Farm since 1961 and Mr. Salatin took over running the farm in 1982. The mission of his farm is "To develop agricultural prototypes that are environmentally, economically and emotionally enhancing and facilitate their duplication throughout the world."

His models for pastured poultry, cattle, pigs, and rabbits have inspired others to copy his ideas or use them as a jumping off place for their own small farms.

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven

"Holy Cows and Hog Heaven" is the title of one of Mr. Salatin's self-published books and also the title of his talk on Friday. His goal is to educate farmers and consumers, giving them an alternative to industrialized agriculture. Food buyers and farmers need to establish a partnership, according to Mr. Salatin. He said he has "unstuck" himself as well as his customers from the industrial food system. "We're making a good living on a small farm (Polyface Farm) but we're not sacrificing the ecology, or the environment, or social issues in order to do it" said Mr. Salatin.

Find out how the food we eat comes to our table. What decisions can we make on a meal-by-meal basis to help local farmers continue to provide good food for our tables? Mr. Salatin might help you find a better way.

"Holy Cow and Hog Heaven," Friday, Nov. 17, 7 pm, Ag Hall, Panhandle Road, West Tisbury. $5 suggested donation.