I’ve been putting myself through “night school.” I have about 20 hours in the last few days. I have been studying Joel Salatin (Christian libertarian protestant Evangelical) of Polyface farms located in Swoope, Virginia. He is most likely the leader of this “regenerative” movement of creating food. After watching a lot of hours of him talk, To me he is trying to make industrial farming as healthy for consumers and the environment as possible.
For example, he produces a lot of “pastured” chicken. This does not mean the “chickens are running around the field flying after butterflies. They are in a “chicken tractor” which is an enclosed space which he moves every day. He keeps them in a tractor to protect them. He raises Cornish Cross, what many people call the Franken-chicken. It is not a self-sufficient food source as you need to buy chicks from a multi-national company as the Franken-chicken i.e. the Cornish Cross has something like four parents. There is no way for anyone to breed these chickens independently. They are basically monster chickens born in a lab, and owned by a multinational corporation. You buy baby chickens every year to grow. However, at this time there are extremely limited options in producing chicken at an “expected” price profitably. Joel Salatin has tried. Thus he is fighint this battle on the field of battle as it exist, not as people wish it existed. Joel Salatin is critical to study and is an excellent professor.
I have also found Gabe Brown who has a ranch just East of Bismarck, North Dakota. He specializes in raising cattle in the best way possible. He has done a lot specializing in soil health. He has an interesting approach. He doesn’t try to make the “most” out of this or that, he wants to be the most “profitable.”
I have also “gone to school” with Colin Seis of the Gulgong District, in the central tablelands of New South Whales (NSW) Australia. He specializes in something called “pasture cropping.” He has basically created a system where he uses animals to take down cover crops so that he can support “cash crops.”
Anyway, reading hundreds of hours of these three men plus more have taken a lot of time. However, I have learned a lot. I will try, to sum up what I have learned from them in a series of articles. I think sometimes people make this very, very confusing. One word I have grown to hate is “permaculture.”
I am also reading these men’s work through the lens of being a homesteader, self-sufficient, small and defensible. One of the things I have come to understand which I think we all knew, but I understand at a deeper level. Self-sufficient, even in food production is not “lone wolf.” If the Redoubt is going to feed all the “friends” who may be heading our way, this is going to be a community effort.
The first question I’ve been asking for a while is, are you are a prepper or a homesteader with a gun? And the will to use it?
The second question I have discovered to ask is; can you produce enough food, year round to keep your family feed and 10 men in the field? And the means to do it?