Transition to a world made by hand

ACity bees2

Peak oil commentator of Archdruid fame John Michael Greer, who foresees an inevitable if gradual collapse for industrial society, advises the equally doomstruck to "collapse now and avoid the rush." It's good advice and I've taken it to heart. Transition girl About six years ago I moved to the small (but widely-hailed) city of Staunton, Virginia. Shortly afterwards, I helped start our … [Read more...]

Sustainable farming mania is frustrating me

farm display

I'm certainly no farmer. I work at a computer all day. So it's odd that the books that get me most jazzed up these days are not about the big problems of the day -- the economy or politics or climate and energy. They're about farming. For me, that's a real about face. I used to revel in the skulduggery of the Koch Brothers and scorn the subtleties of heirloom tomatoes. But now I can't get … [Read more...]

USDA: Rural population needed not for farming but for cannon fodder

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Joel Salatin recently posted this piece on the Polyface Farms Facebook page and we repost it here with Joel's permission. -- Ed. Why do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind U.S. Department of Agriculture policy? In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out last Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial … [Read more...]

Convinced that food can save America

Student drinking yogurt

It's hard to overestimate the importance of food. Yet, sometimes it appears just as hard for food writers to avoid hype. It's all too easy for people who love food enough to write about food to lose themselves in breathless raptures over the deliciousness of forest foraged mushrooms or the power of artisanal pork to cure diabetes, resurrect rural economies and provide meaningful careers to … [Read more...]

Land of milk and money

food freedom demonstration

Fewer than 5% of all Americans drink raw milk. Yet, the question of whether Americans should be allowed to drink it at all is one of the hottest controversies between foodies and public health officials these days. As demand for milk that is neither pasteurized nor homogenized booms and more families try to acquire the stuff for the health benefits they believe that raw milk confers, government … [Read more...]

America’s most famous farmer puts America over his knee

Joel Salatin speaking in 2010

It's not only Sarah Palin who thinks that America is the world's essential nation because Americans are exceptionally worthy. All too many of us Yanks continue to believe that we're the smartest, hardest working and most self-reliant people on Earth. And that God or evolution or just history has rewarded us with superpower status and super riches because we deserve it. Well, if you believe any … [Read more...]

Joel Salatin and the straight poop on sustainable farming

Joel Salatin w pigs

A Pigaerator? What’s that? I’m glad you asked. Joel Salatin, Janaia Donaldson’s guest on this episode of Peak Moment TV, explains this, while providing many other fascinating insights Salatin's pasture-based agriculture on Polyface Farms in Virginia. To avoid the overgrazing so common in modern farm practices, animals are moved every day to fresh pasture, including their portable … [Read more...]

Local food for smart people

buy fresh buy local

If you've read The Omnivore's Dilemma or seen the documentaries Fresh! and Food, Inc. then you already know that the problem with food today is that most of it is produced less for the benefit of eaters than for the profit of agribusiness corporations. But going on about confinement chicken houses or lakes of pig manure at factory farms might be kind of a heavy message for a family member, … [Read more...]

Two words to win the presidency: food freedom

pickling

This past weekend I attended the state meeting of VICFA, the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association. Hosted at Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms, this casual potluck held under a shade tree included a gathering of, as Salatin put it, "fierce loose canons" all of whom hold passionate convictions about his or her God given right to choose what to eat, what to produce and how to buy … [Read more...]