American farmer Joel Salatin, the star of the documentary Food Inc, has become a "pin up boy" for the growing food "re-localization" movement. On a recent visit to Canberra, he gives his take on food politics after a lifetime of experience in natural and profitable farming.
Salatin came to prominence with his ideas about creating abundance on a family farm. His methods include learning how to mimic nature and arrange the facets of farm life so they don't operate as independent operations, but rather a system of "intertwined cycles."
Disregarding conventional wisdom, the Salatins planted trees, built huge compost piles, dug ponds, moved cows daily with portable electric fencing, and utilized portable sheltering systems to produce all their animals on perennial prairie polycultures.
Salatin believes we’re now living through an age of a "food inquisition", not unlike the religious inquisition of 500 years ago, where the powers behind industrialized agriculture and food production are putting heretical farmers like him "on the rack."
In this talk, organized by Milkwood Permaculture in association with Slow Food Canberra, Salatin lays out twelve false assumptions peddled by the "inquisitors," which sustainable farming methods counter.
Joel Salatin has been featured in Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and in the films Fresh and Food Inc. He is also the author of six books including Family Friendly Farming, Salad Bar Beef, and his latest, Everything I Want To Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front. He is a full-time farmer of the highly successful Polyface Farms, and winner of the Heinz International Award for Environmental Leadership.
Author and farmer Joel Salatin argues that the "food police" have a corporate mentality that discriminates against small farms and artisan food producers. "The antidote to pathogenic food is precluded from innovating into food commerce because of the prejudice against small scale operations," says Salatin. "All innovation requires embryonic prototypes."
Joel Salatin imagines an ideal environment for breeding pathogens and disease, a depiction that shockingly describes most modern industrial agricultural facilities. Stressing the backwardness of regulations, Salatin mockingly explains, "But it's OK if we zap it with some radiation a thousand miles away out here at the food processing plant. That's food safety."
Agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1927, it inspects, tests, approves, and sets safety standards for foods and food additives, drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and household and medical devices. It can prevent untested products from being sold and take legal action to halt the sale of undoubtedly harmful products or of products that involve a health or safety risk. Its authority is limited to interstate commerce; it cannot control prices nor directly regulate advertising except of prescription drugs and medical devices.
I think that you are also missing the point. The reason that animal agriculture is causing so much damage to the environment is because of scale and lack of a natural cycle. Before factory farming, farms were mostly self sustaining, running on sunlight water and hard work. Which is how Joel runs his farm, its a beautiful idyllic place, with rolling green hills, plenty of pasture, trees, bushes and microecosystems, exactly the kind of place you'd want to live. His farm helps to capture carbon from the atmosphere.
If you practice vegetarianism or veganism that is your choice and you should be free to make it, but omnivores should also be free to practice their lifestyle, especially if they are doing it as conscientiously as Joel is.
"Food miles don't feed climate change – meat does", well one of the main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture according to World Watch is "Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world." Plants also need refrigeration and transport, one cannot separate one from the other.
We have a broken food system in the first world, and it will take diversity to change that, with good, concerned people like Joel Salatin.
Although he makes several important points, it appears as though Mr. Salatin is missing the big picture that he preaches to others about.
The cigarette companies should get this guy to peddle their poison. All the stuff they need can be found in chapter 12 of this presentation.
Perhaps Mr. Salatin would do better to read more himself as he suggests others to do. Here are somethings that I would recommend:
"Food miles don't feed climate change – meat does"
From the United Nations, "A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change."
As much as 51% of GHGs are the result of animal agritculture.