Joel Salatin (middle) with #UCanFarm workshop organizers Alex Judd and Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture
You can read my notes on the full day #UCanFarm workshop here.
Spending a day with Joel Salatin was profound. I think I’m a positive person but Salatin’s complete faith in abundance and solutions made me realize I still harbour hesitation and caution that are not serving me in my own small business, Calgary Food Tours Inc. I do believe in the great abundance of our universe in my life in general and in my relationships but somehow I’ve not had the kind of courage to take the leaps I need to take in business. Running a business is relatively new to me. I was a professional nurse for over 20 years and had the luxury of everyone who needed my services lining up in a never-ending queue. I can see now that I need to transfer my faith in life’s abundance and the good of all people to this next arena of my life – my business practices.
I forget to ask for the help I need. I am fearful of taking “the next step”. I wonder how I will find time to do everything I want to do. I am that person that groans when they think of contracts and lawyers and managing staff. My day with Salatin really made me look at all that and exam if any of my fears are justified.
Joel Salatin at the #UCanFarm workshop in High River Alberta
Joel Salatin is a farmer and owner of Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Polyface is 450 acres mixed forest and open grazing land with a biodiverse livestock and soil management program. Polyface provides food directly to 7000 families and 50 restaurants within a four hour radius of the farm and has been featured in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the movie Food Inc.
I signed up for a farming workshop with Salatin produced by Calgary’s Verge Permaculture, not because I have latent plans to become a farmer, but because I wanted to spend a day in the company of someone who has some real solutions for the quandary our food system is in. Salatin delivered. Midway through the day, I introduced myself to Salatin and asked him how much of my notes I could share. His response: share it all; I’m an open source. In fact, he said it with a lovely wide-open smile on his face and we shook hands and I thanked him. Jefferson is not the only polymath to come out of Virginia. I got to meet his modern day contemporary.
This blog is what I was able to glean from the workshop including a short history of Polyface farm, the group’s brainstorming session of why people want to farm, the pros and cons, application of business principles and lots of examples of how aggregate food systems could replace our current industrialized mega grocery supply structures. Salatin actually predicts the day when the middle man could be eliminated and all our fresh food could come directly to your doorstep via farming distribution cohorts. Intrigued? Please read on with my apologies for any mistakes. I’m sure they’re from my note-taking and not Salatin’s depth of knowledge.