September 17, 2009 — The University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences and Environmental Thought and Practice Program will host a talk today at 3:30 p.m. by pioneering sustainable farmer Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley.
His talk, 'Fitting Our Farm into Nature's Template,' will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, room 108. Refreshments will be served at 3 p.m.
Earlier this week, Salatin received a Heinz Award from the Heinz Family Philanthropies 'for creating alternative, environmentally friendly farming techniques, spawning a movement towards local, sustainable agriculture that has been replicated by family farms around the country,' according to the award announcement.
Each year the Heinz Awards, established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, go to 10 headliners in a wide variety of disciplines.
At Polyface Farm, Salatin's 550 acres of rolling Virginia hills in the central Shenandoah Valley, he raises beef, sheep, chickens, pigs, rabbits and turkeys in a complex rotation based on the intricate relationships of these animals to one another and to the grass that is at the basis of the farm's food chain.
Polyface Farm nets more than $150,000 annually, which, maintains Salatin, is proof that sustainable farming is a viable way to keep family farms together while producing healthy food in harmony with the environment. Salatin has been featured in books – including Michael Pollan's best-seller, 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' – periodicals and the 2009 documentary film, 'Food Inc.'
In hundreds of speeches across the country, Salatin presents solutions to bridging the gulf that separates the environmental movement from agricultural reform, demonstrating that there is a model for raising food animals that reflects both environmental and moral values.