Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces pastured beef, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, rabbits, lamb and ducks, servicing roughly 6,000 families and 50 restaurants in the farm’s bioregion. He has written 11 books to date and lectures around the world on land healing, local food systems.
Books By Joel Salatin
Your Successful Farm Business
Production, Profit, Pleasure
Twenty years ago Joel Salatin wrote You Can Farm, which has launched thousands of farm entrepreneurs around the world. With another 20 years of experience under his belt, bringing him to the half-century mark as a full-time farmer, he decided to build on that foundation with a sequel, a graduate level curriculum.
Everyone who reads and enjoys that previous work will benefit from this additional information. In those 20 years, Polyface Farm progressed from a small family operation to a 20-person, 6,000-customer, 50-restaurant business, all without sales targets, government grants, or an off-farm nest egg.
As a germination tray for new farmers ready to take over the 50 percent of America’s agricultural equity that will become available over the next two decades, Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley stands as a beacon of hope in a food and farming system floundering in dysfunction: toxicity, pathogenicity, nutrient deficiency, bankruptcy, geezers, and erosion. Speaking into that fear and confusion, Salatin offers a pathway to success, with production, profit, and pleasure thrown in for good measure.
Patrick’s Great Grass Adventure
With Greg the Grass Farmer
In his first children’s book, farmer-author Joel Salatin and his daughter Rachel team up on a whimsical tale about a pigeon, a farmer, and grass. This beautifully illustrated edu-tainment book introduces 4-7 year-olds to Greg the grass farmer through the eyes of Patrick Pigeon. What better way to discover ecology-enhancing grass farming than from an aerial view? Grass as crop, insect haven, and diversity blanket comes to life as Patrick Pigeon watches and reports on Greg the grass farmer’s activities. Discovering a real farm from a real farmer through captivating explanation and illustration brings a local grass farm to life.
Fields of Farmers
Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating
America’s average farmer is sixty years old. When young people can’t get in, old people can’t get out. Approaching a watershed moment, our culture desperately needs a generational transfer of millions of farm acres facing abandonment, development, or amalgamation into ever-larger holdings. Based on his decades of experience with interns and multigenerational partnerships at Polyface Farm, farmer and author Joel Salatin digs deep into the problems and solutions surrounding this land- and knowledge-transfer crisis. This book empowers aspiring young farmers, midlife farmers, and nonfarming landlords to build regenerative, profitable agricultural enterprises.
The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer
Foodies and environmentally minded folks often struggle to understand and articulate the fundamental differences between the farming and food systems they endorse and those promoted by Monsanto and friends. With visceral stories and humor from Salatin’s half-century as a “lunatic” farmer, Salatin contrasts the differences on many levels: practical, spiritual, social, economic, ecological, political, and nutritional.
In today’s conventional food-production paradigm, any farm that is open-sourced, compost-fertilized, pasture-based, portably-infrastructured, solar-driven, multi-speciated, heavily peopled, and soil-building must be operated by a lunatic. Modern, normal, reasonable farmers erect “No Trespassing” signs, deplete soil, worship annuals, apply petroleum-based chemicals, produce only one commodity, erect Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, and discourage young people from farming.
Anyone looking for ammunition to defend a more localized, solar-driven, diversified food system will find an entire arsenal in these pages. With wit and humor honed during countless hours working on the farm he loves, and then interacting with conventional naysayers, Salatin brings the land to life, farming to sacredness, and food to ministry.
Divided into four main sections, the first deals with principles to nurture the earth, an idea mainline farming has never really endorsed. The second section describes food and fiber production, including the notion that most farmers don’t care about nutrient density or taste because all they want is shipability and volume. The third section, titled “Respect for Life,” presents an apologetic for food sacredness and farming as a healing ministry. Only lunatics would want less machinery and pathogenicity. Oh, the ecstasy of not using drugs or paying bankers. How sad. The final section deals with promoting community, including the notion that more farmers would be a good thing.
Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal
War Stories from the Local Food Front
Drawing upon 40 years’ experience as an ecological farmer and marketer, Joel Salatin explains with humor and passion why Americans do not have the freedom to choose the food they purchase and eat. From child labor regulations to food inspection, bureaucrats provide themselves sole discretion over what food is available in the local marketplace. Their system favors industrial, global corporate food systems and discourages community-based food commerce, resulting in homogenized selection, mediocre quality, and exposure to non-organic farming practices. Salatin’s expert insight explains why local food is expensive and difficult to find and will illuminate for the reader a deeper understanding of the industrial food complex.
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven
The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven is written by an honest-to-goodness-dirt-under-the-fingernails, optimistic clean good farmer. His goal is to:
- Empower food buyers to pursue positive alternatives to the industrialized food system
- Bring clean food farmers and their patrons into a teamwork relationship
- Marry the best of western technology with the soul of eastern ethics
- Educate food buyers about productions
- Create a food system that enhances nature’s ecology for future generations
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven has an overriding objective of encouraging every food buyer to embrace the notion that menus are a conscious decision, creating the next generation’s world one bite at a time.
Family Friendly Farming
A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament
Saving the landscape, rebuilding entrepreneurial rural families, and protecting nutritious food are the themes of this timeless treatise-hence the word “testament.” Delving into the soul of the Salatin family’s nationally acclaimed Polyface Farm, author Joel Salatin offers Family Friendly Farming as the key to dealing with resource issues, food policy, and social fabric.
With humor and personal stories, he opens his family and farm convictions for all to see, share, and enjoy. Written from his unabashed “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist” perspective, his ideas are guaranteed to encourage and challenge virtually every “ism” in the culture. It will captivate anyone passionate about healing the land, healing families, and healing the food supply.
For several decades young people have been leaving the family farm. The ones left behind are now responsible for society’s greatest resources: clean land and clean food. Anyone dedicated to preserving these resources will find in these pages a nongovernmental, self-empowerment approach to environmentalism and food safety.
The heart of this book is aimed toward parents tired of their Dilbert cubicle at the end of the expressway who want to reconnect with their children through a pastoral lifestyle. It’s written for anyone who yearns to grow old working with and being adored by value-sharing grandchildren and honored by passionate, productive adult children. Family Friendly Farming can make any family business more viable and any family more functional.
The ten-chapter section on how to get the kids to love the farm is an invaluable addition to any collection of child-rearing manuals. Salatin moves from the family team-building section into a practical discussion on how to increase income per acre and create new, white-collar salaries without buying more land, equipment, or buildings. He deals with the unique and thorny issues surrounding any family business by using his own multi-generational family farm experience as his base for insight and wisdom.
You Can Farm
The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
Have you ever desired, deep within your soul, to make a comfortable full-time living from a farming enterprise? Too often people dare not even vocalize this desire because it seems absurd. It’s like thinking the unthinkable.
After all, the farm population is dwindling. It takes too much capital to start. The pay is too low. The working conditions are dusty, smelly and noisy: not the place to raise a family. This is all true, and more, for most farmers.
But for farm entrepreneurs, the opportunities for a farm family business have never been greater. The aging farm population is creating cavernous niches begging to be filled by creative visionaries who will go in dynamic new directions. As the industrial agriculture complex crumbles and our culture clambers for clean food, the countryside beckons anew with profitable farming opportunities.
While this book can be helpful to all farmers, it targets the wannabes, the folks who actually entertain notions of living, loving and learning on a piece of land. Anyone willing to dance with such a dream should be able to assess its assets and liabilities; its fantasies and realities. “Is it really possible for me?” is the burning question this book addresses.
Pastured Poultry Profit$
A couple working six months per year for 50 hours per week on 20 acres can net $25,000-$30,000 per year with an investment equivalent to the price of one new medium-sized tractor. Seldom has agriculture held out such a plum. In a day when main-line farm experts predict the continued demise of the family farm, the pastured poultry opportunity shines like a beacon in the night, guiding the way to a brighter future.
Salad Bar Beef
In a day when beef is assailed by many environmental organizations and lauded by fast-food chains, a new paradigm to bring reason to this confusion is in order. With farmers leaving the land in droves and plows poised to “reclaim” set-aside acres, it is time to offer an alternative that is both land and farmer friendly.
Beyond that, the salad bar beef production model offers hope to rural communities, to struggling row-crop farmers, and to frustrated beef eaters who do not want to encourage desertification, air and water pollution, environmental degradation and inhumane animal treatment. Because this is a program weighted toward creativity, management, entrepreneurism and observation, it breathes fresh air into farm economics.