Joel Salatin

Last night Tom and I with several of our other urban farming friends including Kitty from Havenscourt Homestead, Heidi from Itty Bitty Farm in the City and Shelby who is still in need of her own urban farm, got to see Joel Salatin speak in Berkeley. For those that don’t know who he is, he is a “grass farmer” from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. He is the epitome of how farming should be. He’s a master steward of the land – making it more fertile rather than take away from it. He builds soil instead of depleting it. And he’s a self-proclaimed lunatic.

Bonus was that we also got to see Michael Pollan, the author of highly acclaimed books such as the The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World and the book where we found much of our inspiration – The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

Joel made some really good points including that we can indeed feed the world using his model. The problem is distribution. 50% of food that we produce in the world today is wasted because it can’t get to the people that need it.

Food production could also be increased drastically by eliminating lawns and waste can be reduced by adding chickens to every yard. In the 1940’s during WWII backyards produced 50% of the nation’s food. That’s an astounding amount. And it wasn’t that long ago. The problem, however, is that today too many communities have outlawed the growing of your own food on your property. No longer can you grow food in your front yard without getting fined. And chickens in most places are illegal. To me that is just wrong. Adding chickens to every yard would eliminate the factory farm egg industry completely.

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