Freedom of food

Joel Salatin, famous for Polyface Farm and being a part of the film “Food Inc.,” is going to be in Staunton on Saturday, Sept. 4, speaking on food issues to Transition Staunton-Augusta.

The presentation will take place from 7:30 p.m until 9:00 p.m at Gypsy Hill Place in Staunton.

Polyface Farm has been in Salatin’s family since 1961 when they moved to the Shenandoah Valley.  The real question is what makes Polyface Farm so different from other farms and why would filmmakers venture all the way to Swoope to speak and observe the family and farm?

“We are pasture-based rather than grain-based, which is a huge difference, and instead of having huge barns, we have taken a portable route. Also our fertilizer is generated from composting as opposed to petroleum-based,” says Salatin.  

“I never wanted to do anything but work on Polyface Farm. I wasn’t sure that the farm could pay salary, but my heart was always to be here full time,” says Salatin.

“Food Inc.” is a film that has reached an astounding number of people. The process of working on that film was much like any other documentary that has filmed at Polyface Farm. “We have people here all the time. Sometimes their film reaches only a small number of people. ‘Food Inc.’ just happened to be one that was a huge success,” Salatin says.

That particular summer, when “Food Inc.” was shooting, Polyface Farm had visitors from five different video companies all working on a film featuring the famous farm. Salatin says, “When people call us wanting to work on something like that, we always try our best to work out an agreeable schedule, and then they just come on over. Some of them end up working out, and then others will come and film, then we won’t hear anything else out of them because the company has shut down.”

Salatin’s presentation on Sept. 4 is entitled “Food Emancipation.” As Salatin reflects on his presentation, he says, “What it will be about is the hurdles in our culture that arbitrarily and capriciously keep the local economically sensitive food system from competing with the other larger food systems. I’ll be exposing what is holding us back.” 

The evening with Joel Salatin will be at the new Shenanarts Ntelos Theatre at 300 Churchville Ave. in Staunton.

Tickets for an adult are $19.50, for Senior/Student $15.50 and for a child 12 and under $9.50.

More information is available online at

Story by Jenny Hypes. Jenny can be reached at

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