Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beyond Organic with Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin

If I had to point a finger at one person who started me down this road to Permaculture and seeking to eat and grow healthy, sustainable food, that one person would be Joel Salatin.  (I wrote about this in more detail in this post.)

Joel Salatin is a farmer.  He is rather non-conventional.  He is outspoken.  He is brilliant.  There has not been a book, article, or interview by or about him that I have not thoroughly enjoyed.  You may have seen him profiled/interviewed in the movie Food, Inc. which I highly recommend.

Joel showing off his grass-fed and finished cattle.

His mission at Polyface Farms in Virginia is to produce the highest quality food while improving the land and working sustainably while making a good living!  

Because he doesn't agree, for a lot of reasons, with the government's control of the term "Organic", which requires a lot of money, paperwork, inspections, and time, and isn't always sustainable or improves the land, he labels his product "Beyond Organic".

Joel sitting with his "forest finished" pigs.
How many modern pig farmers would sit with their pigs over the slurry pit?!

As is with many alternative food producers who wouldn't call what they are doing Permaculture, Joel is all about creating systems that model nature... Permaculture! 

Here is the book that caused a major turning point in my life:

I have a lot of videos below, but they all contain really good information.  I think Joel does a fantastic job of motivating people to bring back, what he calls, the Jeffersonian intellectual agrarian.  Enjoy!

Here is a quick video (under 2 minutes) which is part of a trailer for a new film, Fresh, the movie.

Here is a video (10 minutes) where Joel explains raising grass-fed cattle:

This is another interview where Joel talks about why some "modern" farmers can't buy in to "alternative" farming.  In short, he thinks its because it makes them feel like sissys.  I love it!

If this interests you, you can watch a 90 minute interview and tour of his farm in 30 minutes segments.  This is a very well done production:
Part I

Part II

Part III


  1. These are very interesting videos, and give yet another great view point.

    My awareness journey over the past 3-ish years has gone from the beginnings of Jack Spirko's podcast, to videos of Geoff Lawton's food forests, to Paul Wheaton's permaculture and now, thanks to this post, to Joel Salatin.

    I think my head is going to burst soon, but thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Ha! I feel that way very often, and I have been reading about this for over a decade! As I always say, "The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know." But that makes Permaculture so fun... there is always more to discover!

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