2016 Conference Speakers
Joel Salatin, Farmer, Author, Speaker
Joel Salatin, 57, 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.
A sought-after conference speaker, he addresses a wide range of issues, from “creating the farm your children will want” to “making a white collar salary from a pleasant life in the country.” A wordsmith, he describes his occupation as “mob-stocking hervbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization.” His humorous and conviction-based speeches are akin to theatrical performances, often receiving standing ovations.
He has authored ten books, five of them how-to types:
- 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: a clarion call to readers to honor the animals and the land, and produce food based on spiritual principles.
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.
Brian Oldreive, Founder of Foundations for Farming (formerly Farming God’s Way)
Mr. Brian is a native white African from Zimbabwe with more than fifty years farming experience and is one of the most humble, Christ-filled men I have ever met. He is an inspiring example of what God can do through a farmer dedicated to Jesus. Foundations for Farming (the foundation being Jesus) is a discipleship based ministry that focuses on teaching the poor faithfulness with the land. Over thirty years ago Mr. Brian dedicated his farm to the Glory of God and, as a result of giving up growing tobacco, lost everything he owned. The Lord used this humbling experience to bring him to a point where he cried out to the Lord for wisdom as he continued to be unprofitable even after taking over management of another farm. As a result of applying a few basic principles copied from what he saw in God’s design in nature Mr. Brian became the most successful farmer in Zimbabwe, winning prize after prize for his farm’s production. God then laid on his heart the need to teach what he had learned to the poor of Africa and as a result Foundations for Farming (then called Farming God’s Way) was born. In the mid 2000’s the economy and agriculture system of Zimbabwe collapsed due in part to the land seizure of white-owned farms by the government. Mr. Brian lost everything he owned again when the farm he managed was taken over. So he began working full time on discipling the poor of Zimbabwe and Africa in farming that is based in a heart for Jesus. Meanwhile, the government of Zimbabwe sought to rebuild the country’s food system, but nothing they tried was working. Some leaders began to notice that the only people growing enough food to feed themselves with surplus to sell were those who received training in Foundations for Farming. As a result, Mr. Brian and his team were eventually asked to teach their program into the nation’s schools, agricultural colleges, police departments, prisons, and hospitals with full liberty to point to Jesus as the foundation of good agriculture. In Zimbabwe the Church is now leading the way in rebuilding the nation’s food production system on the principles of God’s Word. Our prayer is that Mr. Brian’s testimony and non-American perspective will be a refreshing challenge to the way we view our farms. Click here to hear an interview with him.
Noah Sanders, Farmer and author of Born-Again Dirt, US Representative for Foundations for Farming USA
Noah lives with his wife and two sons near extended family in central Alabama where he farms, producing chickens, eggs, vegetables, honey, milk, and fruit that feed his family and community. As the US Representative for Foundations for Farming, he works to equip others in being better stewards of the land in order to transform individuals, families, and communities. He is the author of the book, Born-Again Dirt, Farming to the Glory of God, and encourages Christian farmers through his blog, www.redeemingthedirt.com.