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Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm to Deliver Lecture on Alternatives to Industrial Agriculture The sustainable farmer’s talk will be held on March 19.

joal-salatin-handbook-matt-eich1-600x400 Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm to Deliver Lecture on Alternatives to Industrial AgricultureJoel Salatin, courtesy of Modern Farmer

Farmer and writer Joel Salatin will deliver a lecture on “Rethinking Food: Talking Ideas and Alternatives to Industrial Agriculture” at Washington and Lee University at 7 p.m. on March 19 in Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the student-run publication Axis Mundi.

Salatin is a sustainable farmer and the owner of Polyface Farm, a livestock farm in Swoope, Virginia. A self-described “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer,” he pioneered a farming method that emphasizes healthy grass for symbiotic and cyclical livestock production. In this method, the cows eat the grass and fertilize the field, then chickens come to eat the larvae from the cow manure and further fertilize the field, and then the whole process is rotated to new pastures.

“After learning Salatin and Polyface Farm were less than an hour away from W&L, having him come and speak seemed like a no-brainer,” said Will Pittman ’24, co-founder of Axis Mundi. “Salatin is a renowned farmer and lecturer, and we think he can speak acutely to the problems and potential solutions of industrial agriculture, as well as how we might live more rooted lives in an age of technology and environmental disconnect.”

Salatin has delivered lectures around the world and is the author of 16 books, including “You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise” (1998) and “Pastured Poultry Profits” (1993). He is the editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer magazine and has been featured in Michael Pollan’s best-selling book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (2006) and the documentaries “Fresh” (2009) and “Food Inc.” (2008).

Following Salatin’s lecture, the Environmental Studies Program and Axis Mundi are planning to show an episode of the PBS series “Life in the Heartland” by Lysandra Petersson, which uncovers the challenges facing multigenerational farmers and explores how some farmers are building a more reliable bottom line through regenerative agriculture and rotational grazing.

Salatin’s lecture is the first in the “Alternatives to Industrial Agriculture” series, which will subsequently feature Desiree Shelley Flores and Amyrose Foll from the Virginia Free Farm on March 25 and Petersson on March 27, respectively.