Thursday, January 26, 2012

If This Guy Had His Way, We’d All Have Pet Chickens

For Christmas Woody’s brother and his girlfriend bought us tickets to see Joel Salatin speak at the 92nd St Y. You might know of Joel Salatin from his appearance in the documentary “Food, Inc.” or from Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. His latest book, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, was released last October.

Joel Salatin

From first reading about him in Pollan’s book and then seeing him in the documentary, I knew we were going to be in for an interesting evening! If you don’t know him, Salatin is a farmer and owns Polyface Farms, a “family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.” (That’s a mouthful!) It’s pretty fantastic, enlightening and a bit confusing to hear him speak about his farm. Fantastic because he is so enthusiastic about what they are doing. Enlightening because he speaks truthfully about the industry, has incredible ideas and has created a farm that honors the earth, natural processes and treats animals well. And confusing because he’d go off on tangents spewing terms that almost sounded like a foreign language!

Salatin admitted that the farm is continually evolving and that they aren’t as self-sustainable as they’d ultimately like to be. Currently, they have to purchase grain from neighboring farms as their soil isn’t able to support it. They understand they’re not perfect, but they are always looking to improve their processes and offerings. Overall, it was a pretty entertaining to hear him interviewed by Dan Barber (chef and co-owner of New York's Blue Hill restaurant and Blue Hill at Stone Barns).

Just a few takeaways from the evening:

  • Farmer’s farm because they don’t like people (it’s okay for me to write this because I have farmers in my family!)
  • Beef (and giraffe) that are raised properly, are better choices of meat than chicken.
  • There is a great organization called the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund which supports farmers when faced with overstepping from the government.
  • Everyone should have chickens at home rather than dogs. This way you’ll never have to pay for eggs again, thus doing away with large factory farms producing eggs, and they eat kitchen scraps which will greatly reduce the amount of waste in landfills! If you’re wondering, he did suggest that even us New Yorkers get chickens!
  • Like the rise of ‘rock star chefs’, he hopes to see the rise of ‘rock star farmers’

I highly recommend that if you have an opportunity to see Joel Salatin speak, you should go! I’ve added his book to my list of must reads.

  • What do you think of the idea of having chickens in your home? (I’m kind of intrigued by the idea!)
  • Do you pay attention to how the meat, dairy and eggs you eat are produced?


Today’s workout -

  • 3x10 cable push downs
  • 2x15 weighted side bends (ea. side)
  • 2x15 upright row
  • 30min elliptical
  • 2x40sec plank
  • 1x30sec side plank (ea. side)
  • 100 ab exercises
  • 2x15 back extensinon
  • 3x10 bridges

(image from Polyface Farms)


Misszippy said...

How much fun to get to hear him speak! I'll bet it was incredibly interesting. We need more like him all over the country.

NYwolve said...

Ummm, I don't think pet chickens will sweep the nation. My grandmother used to have a hen house behind her house in Texas. It was in the country though, and there was nothing "pet" about these chickens.

Melissa Keller said...

I want chickens, except for the noise!

Michelle D said...

I bet it was interesting to hear him speak! Gotta say though one of my neighbors a couple houses down from me has chickens and it drives the neighborhood nuts! I don't think I could stand it.

BTW - Tagged you in my recent post :)

Lisa_earlymorningrun said...

Huh. So I guess if I don't want to be the most hated person in my building (or in the future, neighborhood) then I should rethink the whole Chicken thing!

Josie @ said...

I actually thought it would be cool to have chickens in NYC with a little garden some apartments have. But then, where do they go in the winter??