Ohio Wesleyan University to Host Alternative Farmer

Author, Activist, Mega Farmer to Speak Oct. 4 at Sagan National Colloquium

Joel Salatin

DELAWARE, Ohio – Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm in Shenandoah Valley, Va., and author of eight farming-related books including “Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World,” will discuss sustainable living Oct. 4 at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Salatin will present at 7 p.m. in the Benes Rooms inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. His lecture is part of the university’s 2012 Sagan National Colloquium, “Bite! Examining the Mutually Transformative Relationship Between People and Food.”

Salatin is described by Time magazine as “a sage and celebrity in the sustainable-food movement.” But the author describes himself in a slightly different way: “I am first and foremost a farmer, but not a very ordinary farmer,” he writes on his website. “In fact, I’m known as a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic.”

He also describes his family’s Polyface Farm as “a diversified, grass-based, beyond organic, direct marketing farm,” adding “please understand that we don’t do anything conventionally. We haven’t bought a bag of chemical fertilizer in half a century, never planted a seed, own no plow or disk or silo – we call those bankruptcy tubes.”

In its review of “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” Time magazine notes: “It’s about better food, yes, but what Salatin is really calling for is responsibility: a declaration of independence from corporations and bureaucracy. He wants us to be full citizens of the food system, like the Jeffersonian citizen-farmers who founded the country.”

Salatin holds a bachelor’s degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and American Agriculturalist. He also was heavily involved with the 2008 Oscar-nominated documentary “Food Inc.,” which examines America’s corporate-controlled food industry. “It’s up to people to step up and think responsibly about their food,” he told Time reporters.

Polyface Farm now serves more than 2,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants with on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs. Its offerings include salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey, and forestry products.

In addition to Joel Salatin, the 2012 Sagan National Colloquium will feature speakers including the authors of “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating” and “Making Supper Safe: One Man’s Quest to Learn the Truth About Food Safety.” For a complete schedule of upcoming Bite! events and speaker profiles, visit the Sagan National Colloquium blog.

Each year, Ohio Wesleyan’s Sagan National Colloquium addresses an issue of international importance. Past speakers have included social activist Gloria Steinem, authors Barbara Ehrenreich and Kurt Vonnegut, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, and former President Gerald Ford.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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