These ol' dirt farmers have had a fun couple of days! First was the second annual Steward's Dinner held by Urban Acres. A lot of our friends were going and several chef friends would be cooking up treats, plus none other than the legendary Mr. Joel Salatin was slated to speak! We were psyched.
The fundraising activity of the event paid our way into Joel's (we're on a first name basis now, yeah it's like that) workshop the next day, hosted by the Clean Economy Series at the Dallas County Community College District. It was quite a day. I fell into bed at 8:30 and passed. Out. And all we did was sit in chairs and listen all day! For those unfamiliar with Joel Salatin's ethos, first go watch Food, Inc. I'll wait.
Finished? As you now know, Joel heads up Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley. They focus on producing beef, chicken, and pork (among many other crops and commodities) in a holistic, sustainable, soil-building way. They raise all their cattle on grass using no hormones, no vaccines, no crap whatsoever.
They operate under the principle that because carbon naturally flows downstream (think leaves falling off a tree, or how valleys are more fertile than hilltops), the only way to move it back upstream is through animals. Literally. Cows consume the carbon fixed into vegetation by solar energy (or, simply put, cows eat grass), then use it to produce an incredibly efficient fertilizer (or, poop). Joel calls it "mob stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration and fertilization". Yeah. And that's just one tiny part of it. He's a prolific author (and speaker, you wouldn't believe the sheer volume of words the man can produce), his book You Can Farm was one of the first I picked up when we started thinking about our our venture. Time for a re-read.
Although he operates predominantly on the meat side of things, the techniques he has developed for building healthy, living soil would be incredibly beneficial to our mangy old Blackland, and it wouldn't take many animals to do what we need... He gave us a lot to think about. And I mean a lot, because that man can talk, holy cow. Pun intended. It was a big fat booster shot of inspiration and motivation. Huge thanks to our buddies at Patina Green Home and Market and Urban Acres for the opportunity.