Will you join the World Food Day campaign to #ToastAFarmer ? I am happy to.
photo – Cole Anderson
Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon with host Donna McElligott I talked about World Food Day’s 2014 theme of family farming – feeding the world and caring for the earth. You’ll find the podcast here. You’ll find my Aunt Muriel’s Farmhouse Carrot Cake recipe using lots of local farm ingredients here.
One of the things you’ll see trending on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram tomorrow is the hashtag #ToastAFarmer along with #WFD2014 and #IYFF. It’s all about showing appreciation for family farmers and especially – for here in Alberta – the next generation. I’m going to start toasting farmers today.
One of my favourite Alberta farmers is a man named John Mills. Read on to find out more about this amazing YOUNG farmer.
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.