The Reversing Climate Change podcast with Nori
A podcast about the different people, technologies, and organizations that are coming together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. We also talk about blockchains.

#72 Replicating Natural Systems for a Forgiving, Abundant Farm—with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms

April 30, 2019


“What does forgiveness look like? What does loving your neighbor look like? I think … one of the reasons we have this physical creation is so that God could demonstrate what forgiveness looks like, what neighborliness looks like. And guess what? Forgiveness does not look like a farm that has to use more and more drugs all the time to keep its animals healthy. Forgiving is not a farm that has to use more chemicals to keep its soil healthy or keep the bugs away. A forgiving farm is one that has resilience.”

Joel Salatin is the self-proclaimed ‘Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer’ behind Polyface Farms, a $3M operation in Swoop, Virginia, serving more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets and a farmers’ market with its salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry and forestry products. Feature in both The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food, Inc., Polyface is known for its environmentally-friendly farming practices modeled around the natural systems of the biological world. Joel also serves as the editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer, the writer of the Pitchfork Pulpit column in Mother Earth News, and the author of 12 books, including The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation and Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front.

Today, Joel joins Ross and Christophe to share his practice of duplicating nature’s patterns on the farmscape. He offers his take on the flaws in the environmentalist approach to climate change and where the Christian faith community, libertarians, and economists fall short. Joel also describes how the regulatory environment is prejudiced against small-scale operations, exploring the way oversight stifles innovation. Listen in for Joel’s insight on food choice as a human right and learn how to take responsibility for your own consumer choices around food!


Polyface Farms

Joel’s Daily Blog: The Lunatic Farmer

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollen

Food, Inc.Documentary

Living Soils Symposium

The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation by Joel Salatin

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin

Milton Friedman

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

F.A. Hayek

Michael Pollan

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes

Connect with Ross & Christophe


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Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Email [email protected]

Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Key Takeaways 

[0:39] Joel’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up on family farm in Shenandoah Valley of VA
  • Grown to $3M business with 20 full-time staff

[2:44] Joel’s farming practices

  • Duplicate nature’s pattern on farmscape
  • Mimic way animals moved (choreography)

[6:06] How humans have pillaged the land

  • War consequence of exploitation of resources
  • More weight of animals 500 years ago than today

[8:09] The idea of active management

  • Use hands, intellectual ability to heal land
  • Environmentalism by participation (not abandonment)

[9:49] Joel’s criticism of the environmentalist approach

  • Assumes elite know more than crowd
  • Oversight prejudicial to small-scale operations
  • Oversight unnecessary with real-time feedback loop

[18:28] Why Joel is an advocate for food emancipation

  • Regulatory oversight demands something that harms us
  • Food choice as much human right as other freedoms

[21:42] Joel’s criticism of the Christian faith community

  • Power over vs. responsibility to environment
  • Hypocrisy drives people away from religion

[28:20] Joel’s criticism of libertarians

  • Fails to recognize ‘it takes a village’
  • Farming should leave MORE commons

[31:02] The danger in measuring GDP alone

  • Views prisons, soil liability, etc. as assets
  • No way to account for asset losses + liability incursions

[33:52] Why Joel wants to eliminate crop insurance and subsidies

  • Picks winners and losers in marketplace
  • Power stacked to promote orthodoxy

[39:46] How to take responsibility for your consumer choices

  • Movement defined by participants
  • Question orthodoxy, rewarded with access

[45:33] The innovation around Joel’s eggmobile

  • Portable henhouse follows cows’ movement
  • Serve as biological pasture sanitizers + produce eggs
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