Salatin in the City

April 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

Joel Salatin gave a lecture (well actually 2 lectures, but I only saw 1) Easter Sunday at the Teachers College at Columbia University. Events such as this are going on all week in attempts to create some much deserved hype for Fresh the movie. In his talk titled “Can You Feed the World?” Joel answered that question and attempted to tackle the price issue between organic and conventionally grown food.

The most common problem people have with organics is that it costs more. While this might be true, organic eggs for example contain larger amounts of conjugated linoleic acids (good for you), the correct ratio of omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6 (important), as well as more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats (also good). We could delve into the nutritional analysis of other organic veggies or pastured poultry, but I think you get the idea. The stuff’s just better for you. One reason why these items cost more is because there are fewer people buying them. If everyone in Connecticut bought eggs direct from farmers I assure you the price would be comparable to eggs you’d find in the grocery store.

Another problem is government regulation. Polyface farm (Joel’s farm in Swoope, VA) and Cargill (one of the largest beef manufacturers in the US) have the same regulations put upon them despite the fact that one processes 20 head of cattle per week and the other 40,000. Therefore it costs Joel’s farm much more in the way of time and labor to sift through paperwork, dot there i’s and cross their t’s. And as a result we pay a dollar or two more per pound of his beef than we do for grocery store meat. These regulations are what’s killing and bankrupting small farms, which sucks because they’re typically not the ones we need to worry about when it comes to enforcing food safety issues.

As for feeding the world, well, of course we can. How did the world survive before Agribusiness? We grew stuff. We shared it with our neighbors. Then we all ate it. Selling farm equipment, hi-tech gadgets, GMO seeds, and grain to impoverished countries is NOT the way to help them. They don’t know how to use this equipment and really all we’re doing is making them more dependent on us, which is exactly the agenda of the people selling them crap in the first place. So yes, we can feed the world.

These are just some of the highlights of what I can remember but overall it was a super talk. I was so jazzed….to be sitting there listening to Joel, in his sports jacket and rooster tie, enthusiastic and inspiring as always. A dream.


Entry filed under: Events, Movies. Tags: , , .

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