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Polyface_20151106_A02

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
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Transcripts - Polyface_20151106_A02

  • 1. The News Leader (ISSN 1946-8938, USPS 0520-760) is published every morning by The Leader Publishing Co., 11 N. Central Ave., Staunton,VA 24401. Periodic postage paid at Staunton,VA. POSTMASTER: Send changes of address to The News Leader, 11 N. Central Avenue, Staunton,VA 24401. Member of The As- sociated Press,The Newspaper Association of America and Virginia Press Association. Leader Publishing Co. is part of Gannett Co., Inc., of McLean,Va.We help fund local charitable efforts through the Gannett Foun- dation. More information is available through Gannett and Gannett Foundation links at the bottom of www.newsleader.com.Additional local foundation information is available from Susan Armstrong, (540) 213-9105 CONTACTING US Main Number: .............. (540) 885-7281 Toll-free: ........................ (800) 793-2459 Circulation: ................... (877) 424-0032 11 N. Central Ave., Staunton,VA, 24401 WHO’S IN CHARGE? 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If you believe we have made an error of fact, please call Executive Editor David Fritz at 213-9116 or (800) 793-2459 ext. 116. Corrections will ap- pear on this page. GETTING IT RIGHT LOTTERY PICK 3 Thursday Day: 2-1-0 Wednesday Night: 3-0-9 PICK 4 Thursday Day: 3-8-9-5 Wednesday Night: 3-3-0-4 CASH FIVE Thursday Day: 5-16-17-20-32 Wednesday Night: 2-14-17-19-31 MONEY BALL 5-16-17-20-32 POWERBALL Wednesday: 2-12-17-20-65 Powerball: 17 1. Why did you pick Polyface Farms for the documentary? We have been working in the re- generative agriculture arena for over 20 years. We had been following what was happening at Polyface Farms and in 2009 we asked Joel (Sala- tin) to teach a workshop for a series we were run- ning in the U.S. We then started bringing Joel to Australia and Europe for workshops and then brought Daniel (Salatin) and Sheri (Salatin) for workshops. In 2010, we thought that if we made a film about Polyface Farms, we could reach more people faster. 2. Can you single out one or two of the prac- tices used at Polyface Farms that restores the land? At Polyface they have a mixed species, planned grazing system where they move the cat- tle every day which in turn is followed by layers, broilers (turkeys and chickens) and in some cases pigs. This diversity of livestock and disturb- ances creates ecological opportunities to the land that increases plant and soil microbial diversity and volume. 3. Why is the title of the film Polyfaces and not Polyface? Our teen- age daughter Pearl came up with the name because there are lots of faces at Polyface Farms that work to make it happen. In- sects, animals, farmers, the Polyface team and the customers. 4. As Australians looking in at agricultur- al practices in America, what do you generally think of as the history of American agriculture? Australia and the U.S. have similar European origins and our land masses and agricultural areas are similar in total acreage. Both countries have suffered as a result of the onset of European agricultural systems, however that damage has ceives the least), we look at the subsidy framework in the U.S. as supporting this shift — whereas in Australia and New Zea- land mixed farming sys- tems (i.e. pastured live- stock and cropping sys- tems on one farm) remain the norm. U.S. (and European) agricultural technology andproductionsystemor- thodoxy dominates the world currently — this is clear from the post-Butz (and Norman Borlaug as well) shift globally to rad- ical simplification of pro- duction systems, genetic “improvement” and mod- ification, moving live- stock indoors and in con- centration and for the first time in human histo- ry more humans living in cities than in the country. 5. What do you hope this documentary will achieve? My plan was for this film to be bigger than “Food. Inc.” as it shows positive working exam- ples of the regenerative economy in action. We made it to inspire people to become more con- scious as consumers. been reduced in the last few decades thanks to the soil conservation era, a science that was initiated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was wholly adapted in Australia soon after. The post-WWII pe- riod heralded a boom in both productive output and rural population den- sity in both of our coun- tries — much of the cur- rent nostalgia toward a return to agrarianism is related to this relatively recent demography. U.S. landscapes re- main extremely verdant and we look at so much of the agricultural land- scape as producing well below its potential — something of a function of the post Earl Butz period as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture,wheremixed agricultural systems shifted to continuous cropping and intensive confined animal produc- tion systems. As Australian agricul- ture receives the second- least amount of agricul- tural subsidies in the Or- ganization for Economic Cooperation and Develop- ment (New Zealand re- Polyface Continued from Page 1A habitat that allows (ani- mals) to express their physiological distinctive- ness. Respecting and hon- oring the pigness of the pig. ...” The farm is at the van- guardofthefoodintegrity movement. It is a labor of love for Joel Salatin. He and his family are the hearts and minds behind the daily operations. “We’re in the pasture livestock business,” says Salatin. “We raise beef, pork,chicken,turkey,rab- bit, duck, lamb, forestry products and we market them directly to restau- rants and families.” Unlike massive indus- trial farms, this is a close- to-the-earth operation, where work is done by people rather than ma- chines. Things like gravi- ty, conservation of energy and symbiosis underpin Salatin’s methodology, and maximize the yield of nutrients. “Oneofthethingsthat’s so different about our farm is that we run a fun- damentally integrated system as opposed to a segregated system.” This differs from in- dustrial farming where systems are disconnected and open-ended elements of the systems lead to waste and degradation of the environment. Salatin uses the conser- vatism of nature, where nothing is wasted. The en- ergy of the sun is stored in plant matter which is con- sumed by herbivores like cows whose droppings provide nutrients for in- sects. Those insects in turn are food for omni- vores like chickens. And the chicken droppings re- turn nitrogen to the soil. “When you capitalize on these energy flows and ecological patterns in na- ture … wow, it becomes extremely productive.” The need for an eco- logically sensitive model is increasingly urgent. “The reason we want to farm differently is be- cause right now orthodox farming is unsustainable, and it’s actually degenera- tive to the landscape. We have dead zones as a di- rect result of agricultural pollution.” Water management is an important part of Sala- tin’s strategy. Catchment ponds at the top of the hill replenish aquifers, pro- vide irrigation and pre- vent erosion of top soil. “I am a pond-a-holic,” Salatin says. “I am a big believer in catching sur- face runoff whether it’s from a roof or a field and keeping the raindrops as high on the land as possi- ble for as long as possible. That’s the way nature likes things done.” Salatin’s methods en- hance rather than deplete the environment and this inspires people. A grow- ing number of young peo- pleareattractedtotheele- gance and harmony of what Salatin describes as “that sentient choreogra- phy of the Earth” where all elements interact har- moniously. Many of them sign on as interns and stay on as apprentices. “A lot of people say, ‘These systems are all warm and fuzzy and nice, but c’mon can it really feed the world?’ The fact is it’s the only system that does work.” David vs. Goliath The obstacles to over- come are considerable. According to Salatin, the forcesarrayedagainstPo- lyface Farms are deeply entrenched industrial in- terests with vast financial resources that allow them toinfluencethelegislative and regulatory processes to their advantage, and to mold public opinion. “I can tell you for a fact that many conventional farmers call us bioterro- rists — Typhoid Marys,” says Salatin. “They legiti- mately believe that our unvaccinated, unmedicat- ed free-roaming chickens are going to transfer a dis- ease to a blackbird that will then take it to a Tyson chickenhouseanddestroy theplanet’sfoodsupplyall because we were so negli- gent. This is what they’re taught.” Additionally, any sig- nificant change must work against the sheer in- ertia of a society lulled by convenience. “Deep down, intuitive- lymostpeoplebelievethis is the right thing. But they’re busy going to the soccer game — ‘I don’t have time to cook, I don’t have time to think about menus, we gotta stop for Happy Meals on the way home....’ Convenience has overridden conviction.” This is where the docu- mentary comes into play. “What we hope to see is not only farmers who come to this and say, ‘OK, there really is a credible alternative,’ but for non- farmers to come and real- ize, ‘Wow, these kinds of farmers exist, and I’m go- ing to go patronize one,” saysSalatin.“Ihopethatit infuses the integrity food movement with millions of people ready to quit go- ing to the supermarket andgettingjustregularin- dustrial stuff.” ‘Polyfaces’ Producer and co-direc- tor Heenan, co-director Isaebella Doherty and co- producer Darren Doherty comprise Regrarians Media, a nonprofit enter- prise based in Australia that works to educate, em- power and encourage pro- ducers and consumers. Theirvisionisofasustain- able and regenerative food production system that can maximize yield while minimizing stress on the environment. “Wehadbeenfollowing whatwashappeningatPo- lyface Farm and in 2009 we asked Joel to teach a workshop for a series we were running in the U.S.” says Heenan. “In 2010, we thought that if we made a film about Polyface Farms we could reach more people faster.” What has emerged is a message of hope for the futureandofjoyinthecol- laboration with rhythms of the natural world; a time-lapse image of an or- ganically growing com- munity. Polyface Farms is on Meadows Lane in Swoope. GRIFFIN MOORES/THE NEWS LEADER Andrew Salatin, 10, feeds sheep in their pen supervised by his father, Daniel Salatin, after the animals escaped from their forest enclosure at Polyface Farms. Healing Continued from Page 1A GRIFFIN MOORES/THE NEWS LEADER Joel Salatin surveys a hoop house. He is working on his 10th book, “The Pigness of Pigs.” “I am a pond-a-holic. I am a big believer in catching surface runoff whether it’s from a roof or a field and keeping the raindrops as high on the land as possible for as long as possible. That’s the way nature likes things done.” JOEL SALATIN

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