My husband has patiently listened over the past year and half as I educate myself further and further, morphing just what action I want to take in this movement. It started one day in between diaper changes and spit up that Martha Stewart was on in the background talking about a must see movie, "Food, Inc". I filed it away deep in the back of the brain until a few months later we were in Ocean City and I forgot my beach book. I went in to a little book shop and there was one copy of "Food, Inc". I picked it up along with a much lighter beach read about a man on Nantucket and headed to the beach. I couldn't put "Food, Inc" down. I knew from working in restaurants that use local farms the joys of having local food and meeting the farmers as they bring it in through the kitchen, but never stopped to think just how damaging and gross the alternative was. So with anything I do, I researched, I like to read many opinions in order to form my own. My husband says I can't just do one thing, it has to come in at least fives. Try a new recipe, I make it five different ways, learn a new craft, do it five different ways. So as I researched this Food, Inc thing I kept going in further and further finding myself making different decisions at the grocery store, coming across events such presented by Animal Welfare Approved and screenings of movies like "Fresh" and "King Corn" and reading countless books and talking to countless people, getting to know my local farmers. I have also found myself going back to school for sustainable agriculture. At the very least I want our own hobby farm, at the very most I want to reach as many people as possible to educate them as to what they are putting in their bodies. The very thing that gives us life many of us just want faster, bigger, cheaper. One person at a time. I can say in the last year our family has changed and we are 90% barcode free, using local farms and farmers markets in hopes to using our own backyard even more. So heading out to Polyface Farm was for research to see how it really works.
We went out September 16, 2010. It was a nice warm Virginia day and Joel was just flying in (from saving the world, one charasmatic Joel speech at a time) as we were arriving. Everyone with anticipation "would HE arrive in time for the tour", including the camera crew who was there filming for a documentary to be shown in S. Korea. KOREA! This guy, Joel, has reached that far!
First we headed out to the pastured poultry, riding the hay ride as Michael the Arch Angel (the loyal farm dog) followed behind. Now I am typing this from notes written almost 3 months ago, so they won't nearly have the enthusiasm or the flow that I felt that day, but they will have the facts.
Future of Farming and Joel is supplying to consumers, many restaurants in Virginia, Maryland, DC, including Chiptotle (a good read if you have a moment), he's even in talks with Sam's Clubs. Joel runs his farm by "building forgiveness in the land". It can be done right, but people have gotten so greedy for bigger, cheaper, faster that we don't stop to think if it's working or not.
Off to the hayshed, the famous hayshed where Michael Pollan has his epiphany for "Omnivore's Dilemma".
As we headed out to the cows my 3 year old dropped my pen straight down into a cow patty so my notes are limited from here, but pictures should get the point that it can be done right, and it can be done clean, and it can be done for "the masses", and it can be cost effective. Polyface Farm has NEVER bought fertilizer or chemicals, they plant grain thru perennials to build the soil. No structure is a permanent structure. And every animal on the farm has a job.
Joel picking up 14 different grasses that the cows eat.
"What we need is a mob-stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon- sequestration fertilization program"- Joel Salatin, "Fresh"