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Office Hours- Joel Salatin

By March 20, 2015Office Hours

Office Hours are now in session! Each week we will have the opportunity to meet some of the faculty speakers for Blue 2015 and learn more about them.

Please join me in welcoming Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms. Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.


Joel Salatin

What song is at the top of your playlist?

What is a playlist?

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

From my earliest memory, I always wanted to be a farmer.  One of my earliest and most poignant childhood memories is of my grandfather’s expansive garden in Indiana, in late summer, surrounded by a T-trellis grape arbor.  The purple concord grapes dripped with sweetness and I could just barely reach the dangling fruit, which I ate with gusto.  That sense of being swallowed up in abundance, of being nested in complete provision, has propelled me to be a farmer.  My great uncle, also in Indiana, had a large flock of chickens out on range.  When I went there, again, I felt surrounded by abundance. That security is something I’ve always coveted, not only for its protection but for its freedom from outside manipulation and dependency.  To step out of the back door and into a womb of abundance is still my greatest joy.  It’s also a visceral object lesson of God’s spiritual grace and provision.

What is the best piece of either personal or professional advice you’ve gotten?

“Lead by example.”  My Dad used that often for many issues.  I remember him developing the phrase after a discussing with a neighbor our healing plan to quintuple the production on this worn out farm. The neighbor farmer laughed to the point of derision, and Dad always referred to that conversation as the catalyst for his “lead by example.”  Often he added a second phrase:  “you can’t push on a string.” These have had many ramifications in my life.  Leading requires walking the walk, not just talking about the walk.  It’s about being real, not fake.  It means doing what you know needs to be done rather than talking about what your going to do.  Developing a track record is still the best way to create status. The other part is about changing people.  People are drawn to new thinking, not pushed to new thinking. And so the two ideas go hand in hand when it comes to moving people:  better to lead them than push them.  And leading requires examples.

Do you have a favorite quote or scripture verse that motivates and inspires you?

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring ever work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

This is one of the clearest, most comprehensive instructions I’ve found in the Bible.  The biggest tragedy of the human life is to be busy about the wrong things.  The New Testament carries these ideas a bit further with the idea of receiving “Well done, though good and faithful servant.”  And the biggest tragedy is the folks who say they’ve done wonderful works and Jesus responds:  “Depart from from me; I never knew you.”   This Ecclesiastes passage contains both of these thoughts, laying a foundation for the why and what of our existence.

Do you have a website or blog to share with our readers?


Read more about Joel:

Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing.

He holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as STOCKMAN GRASS FARMER, ACRES USA, and FOODSHED.

The family’s farm, Polyface Inc. (“The Farm of Many Faces”) has been featured in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, GOURMET and countless other radio,television and print media. Profiled on the Lives of the 21st Century series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA by food writer guru Michael Pollan and the award-winning film documentary, FOOD INC.

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Hi My Friend,

​​​I’d like to invite you to join me on March 24 & 25​ at Blue Conference
Blue is a two-day ​event​ designed to engage people thoughtfully in difficult conversations through curated talks​ (think Ted Talks). Together we’ll explore the ideas shaping our culture and ​explore how​ to find answers in a changing culture​ and embody the gospel in this moment.​ ​ I think you’ll enjoy the conference so I already purchased a ticket for you. Here is a sample of the topics and speakers:

· Sexual Brokenness and the Hope of the Gospel // Steve Arterburn
· Race, Faith and Hope for America // Dr. Michael Waters
· Rediscovering God: Reconciling Faith and Science // Mike McHargue
· The Science of Feeding the World // Dr. Hongda Chen
· Parenting in a Digital Age // Dr. Steven Argue
· Q & A – Refugees and Politics

Please let me know if you can join me as soon as possible.

Your Friend