Monday, September 21, 2009

Sustainable Agriculture

Joel Salatin (photo/Polyface Farms)

As most of you know, I am keenly interested in farms, food, and seeds, and the state of our soil today. Near-death experiencers, and those like them, come back more sensitive to food and drink than before and are acutely affected by nutritional content, chemicals, odors, and the vibrational content of what is consumed. This is no small matter. That’s why, whenever something special comes across my desk, I pass it on through my blog. This article about Joel Salatin is one of those “specials.” I know Joel. I have heard him speak numerous times and have toured his farm. This man and what he has done is the future of farms in America and across the globe. If we stick with present methods of “industrial” farming and continue to go the way of Monsanto and other corporate giants, we will condemn ourselves as a species to poor health, increased obesity, and the side-effects of estrogen-laden sprays and products (which is linked to the feminization of nature). I am grateful that someone like Joel Salatin finally receive a major award, and that people everywhere are beginning to wake up to his message and take note.

Blessings to all, PMH

Joel Salatin receives Heinz Award for innovation
in sustainable agriculture
September 14, 9:28 PM SF Sustainable Food Examiner Jeri Lynn Chandler

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia, is being honored with a $100,000 Heinz Award for creating alternative, environmentally friendly farming techniques and helping to propel a movement towards local, sustainable agriculture that has been replicated by family farms around the country.

According to the Heinz selection committee, Salatin was chosen because he has "developed a new paradigm for sustainable agriculture by successfully challenging the commercial production of chickens and beef by food industry giants of the 1970s. His pioneering agricultural practices inextricably and beautifully interweave a food system with the land and have been embraced by farmers throughout the country."

Salatin also drew the attention of the Heinz committee because he "has successfully challenged the traditional commercial production of chicken and beef that has been the mainstay of food industry giants since the 1970s. Instead, his pioneering vision inextricably and beautifully interweaves a food system with the land, creating new agricultural practices that are being embraced by thousands of farmers throughout America."

On his 550 rolling acres of Virginia hills in the Central Shenandoah Valley, Salatin raises beef, sheep, chickens, pigs, rabbits and turkeys in a complex rotation based on the symbiotic relationships of these animals to one another and to the grass that is the basis of the farm's food chain.

Polyface Farm nets more than $150,000 annually, which, Salatin maintains, is proof that sustainable farming is a viable way to keep family farms together while producing healthy food in harmony with the environment. Salatin's infectious and inspiring enthusiasm for the benefits of his alternative methods has gotten him featured in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma as well as articles in Smithsonian, National Geographic and Gourmet magazines. He was also in the 2009 documentary Food Inc.

In announcing the award, Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation said, "Joel Salatin is more than the 'high priest of the pasture;' he's a brilliant farmer. He is brilliant because he keeps it simple. It starts with the grass and a divine rotation of cows, chickens, sheep and other farm animals taking their turn to graze. They work in unison the way, I believe, Mother Nature intended. The big corporate farms can no longer tell us that pollution will always come with farming. Mr. Salatin's work shows us that is not true because on his lands, farming is no longer part of the problem; it is part of the solution to a better environment. For this wonderful work, it is an honor to present him with this award."

Traditionally the Heinz Awards are made each year in five categories: arts and humanities; environment; the human condition; public policy; technology, economy and employment. This year, to mark the 15th anniversary of the awards and to honor John Heinz's devotion to environmental issues, all ten awards have been made in the environmental achievement category.

For more information about this year's Heinz Awards: visit
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