I had the opportunity to hear Joel Salatin speak at IU this past weekend. Ever since reading Ominvore's Delimma I have been interested in hearing this man speak about his passion for farming livestock in a humane and sustainable manner and making the family farm a place of intergenerational and community pride. Joel, his family, and thier Polyface Farm was profiled in Michael Pollan's bestselling book Omnivore's Delimma. (This is an awesome book, eye opening, I highly recommend it!) After reading this book and researching a little on my own I saw that Joel did speaking engagements, so I began to sporadically look for any talks near here. Last year he spoke at a grazing conference in Columbus, IN but I would have had to pay a registration fee so that was out. So when I saw he was speaking at IU for free, I was thrilled. (I know I'm a nerd! And a proud nerd at that!) He spoke in a large lecture hall, by the time I got there, 10 minutes before his talk was to begin there was standing room only. I was so happy to see so many that were interested in someone like this man had to say. I should have expected it since Bloomington is such a food progressive town. His talk was everything I expected, Pollan did a great job of describing this man. He is funny, very intellegent, passionate and experienced. I really enjoyed the presentation and the visuals of the animals on the farm and seeing how it all worked, I had read in the book, but a picture does tell a story much better. The night was interesting also as there was an organic livestock farmer standing behind me that came in with a chip on his shoulder about Salatin. It was kind of funny listening to his comments. Seemed a little bitter. Polyface is not certified organic and considers itself "beyond organic", which I think ticked this guy off that Salatin was making such a good living and was not even certified. He kept saying, "He made over $400,000 last year!" If that is true I think Mr. Certified was just a little jealous!! Personally I am glad that they are being rewarded finiancially for doing the right thing, certified or not!
More food discussion is coming to IU in Febuary when Michael Pollan will speak at IU auditorium. I am so there!! I read his latest book "In Defense of Food" last year and it was another great read and a very informative work about our food and food systems. Thanks IU for hosting these great speakers and not even charging us!! (except maybe parking!)