From farm fields to dinner tables across America, more people want pesticide-free vegetables, humanely-raised meat and eggs all produced in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment. Unfortunately, that is not the way most of our food is produced. So how can we as consumers make the choices that are healthier for us and the earth at the same time?
To help answer those questions, we visit a farm that is considered one of the most sustainable farms in America. We’ll look at their all-natural system that builds soil and heals the land while raising food and we’ll also explore the meanings behind some of the food labeling we see in the supermarket.
It’s hard to miss all the media attention on the condition of our food model here in America. Everywhere you turn are stories about the environmental pollution and the depletion of our natural resources caused by the way we mass produce some of our meat and eggs.
But the good news is that there is a very strong movement toward ultra-sustainable food production where the soil is actually left better each year, the animals are happy and healthier and food is more nutritious.
Some choose to switch to a vegetarian diet, removing meat entirely; other consumers reduce their meat consumption and seek out farmers who use techniques far removed from those seen on “factory-farm” operations.
At the forefront of this movement is Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley of VA. With 100 open acres and 3 generations of family, the Salatin’s raises grass-fed beef, forage-based rabbits, pastured poultry, eggs, and forest floor pigs. And the whole system is carefully choreographed without ever using chemical fertilizers or industrial animal feed. And yet, his farm is able to service over 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and buying clubs.
Joel is as outspoken about what is wrong with farming today as he is passionate about doing it right and he and his family openly share their knowledge with others in the hope of healing the land one acre at a time.
We’ll also learn a few tricks in the vegetable garden and Chef Nathan makes a delicious Argentinian dish with grass-fed beef, fresh herbs and a touch of red chili pepper. It’s all about making educated food choices.
- Polyface Farms where this episode was filmed
- Skagit River Ranch
- How Polyface is Healing Land One Acre At A Time on Living Homegrown
- 3 Hours of Rain, 2 Days of Filming and 1 Farmer Making a Difference, behind the scenes by Theresa Loe
- Grassfed Beef Steaks with Fresh Chimichurri Sauce with Chef Nathan Lyon
- Food, Inc. the film
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Mealsby Michael Pollan*
- Food Rules: An Eater’s Manualby Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman*
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver*
*Links related to books and merchandise are affiliate links