Sunday, April 24 | 10:00 – 11:30 am (Pacific Time) | Closing Keynote
Folks, This Ain’t Normal
with Joel Salatin
Based on his book by the same title, this whimsical performance is filled with history, satire, and prophecy. While most Americans seem to think our techno-glitzy disconnected celebrity-worshipping culture will be the first to sail off into a Star Trek future unencumbered by ecological umbilicals, Salatin bets that the future will instead incorporate more tried and true realities from the past.
Ours is the first culture with no chores for children, cheap energy, heavy mechanization, computers, supermarkets, TV dinners and unpronounceable food. Although he doesn’t believe that we will return to horses and buggies, wash boards, and hoop skirts, Salatin believes we will go back in order to go forward, using technology to re-establish historical normalcy.
That normalcy will include edible landscapes, domestic larders, pastured livestock, solar driven carbon cycling for fertility, and a visceral relationship with life’s fundamentals: food, energy, water, air, soil, fabric, shelter. We may as well get started enthusiastically than be dragged reluctantly into this more normal existence. Rather than being an abstract, cerebral, academic look at ecology, food systems, and soil development, this talk is based firmly on a lifetime spent communing with ecology, economics, and emotion in their full reality, as a farmer.
Both sobering and inspiring, this performance empowers people to tackle the seemingly impossibly large tasks that confront our generation. Historical contexts create jump-off points for the future–a future as bright as our imagination and as sure as the past.
About Joel Salatin
Joel Salatin, 64, calls himself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer. Others who like him call him the most famous farmer in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson. Those who don’t like him call him a bio-terrorist, Typhoid Mary, charlatan, and starvation advocate.
With a room full of debate trophies from high school and college days, 12 published books, and a thriving multi-generational family farm, he draws on a lifetime of food, farming and fantasy to entertain and inspire audiences around the world. He’s as comfortable moving cows in a pasture as addressing CEOs in a Wall Street business conference.
His wide-ranging topics include nitty-gritty how-to for profitable regenerative farming as well as cultural philosophy like orthodoxy vs. heresy. A wordsmith and master communicator, he moves audiences from laughs one minute to tears the next, from frustration to hopefulness. Often receiving standing ovations, he prefers the word performance rather than presentation to describe his lectures. His favorite activity?–Q&A. “I love the interaction,” he says.
He co-owns, with his family, Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia. Featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma and award-winning documentary Food Inc., the farm services more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets, and a farmers’ market with salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, and forestry products. When he’s not on the road speaking, he’s at home on the farm, keeping the callouses on his hands and dirt under his fingernails, mentoring young people, inspiring visitors, and promoting local, regenerative food and farming systems.
Salatin is the editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer, granddaddy catalyst for the grass farming movement. He writes the Pitchfork Pulpit column for Mother Earth News, as well as numerous guest articles for ACRES USA and other publications. A frequent guest on radio programs and podcasts targeting preppers, homesteaders, and foodies, Salatin’s practical, can-do solutions tied to passionate soliloquies for sustainability offer everyone food for thought and plans for action.
Mixing mischievous humor with hard-hitting information, Salatin both entertains and moves people. Seldom using a power-point and often speaking from an outline scribbled in a yellow legal pad, he depends on theatrics, style, and compelling content to hold attention and defend innovative positions. The rare combination of prophet and practitioner makes him both a must-read and must-hear in a time desperate for integrity leadership and example.
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He has authored 12 books:
- PASTURED POULTRY PROFITS: Net $25,000 in 6 months on 20 Acres
- SALAD BAR BEEF
- YOU CAN FARM: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
- FAMILY FRIENDLY FARMING: A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament
- HOLY COWS AND HOG HEAVEN: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food, is an attempt to bring producers and patrons together in mutual understanding and appreciation
- EVERYTHING I WANT TO DO IS ILLEGAL: War stories from the local food front.
- THE SHEER ECSTASY OF BEING A LUNATIC FARMER
- FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
- FIELDS OF FARMERS: Interning, Mentoring, Starting, Continuing
- THE MARVELOUS PIGNESS OF PIGS: Nurturing and caring for all God’s Creation
- YOUR SUCCESSFUL FARM BUSINESS: Production, Profit, Pleasure
- PATRICK’S GREAT GRASS ADVENTURE With Greg the Grass Farmer, a children’s book illustrated by daughter, Rachel Salatin.
His speaking and writing reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience punctuated with mischievous humor. He passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm. Four generations of his family currently live and work on the farm.