Eat rights: Salatin leads the charge

cover-salatin-talking-c-web"Why can't you buy raw milk, ice cream with eggs in it, or home-made sausage?" asks Joel Salatin.

If you’ve never had a chance to experience renegade farmer Joel Salatin expounding on the values of locally grown food and the government regulations keeping it from you, well, now’s your chance. Salatin will be speaking on the “right to local food” on Saturday, September 4 at ShenanArts at nTelos Theatre, Gypsy Hill Place, located at 300 Churchville Avenue in Staunton.

Salatin, 53, is a full-time farmer in Swoope, just outside of Staunton. His family’s farm, Polyface Farm has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Gourmet, and in two popular documentaries, Food Inc. and Fresh. He was also profiled on the "Lives of the 21st Century" series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, and his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. Polyface achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the New York Times bestseller The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. And more recently, he was the Hook’s 2009 Person of the Year.

“Why can't you buy raw milk, ice cream with eggs in it, or home-made sausage? America's food system, enslaved by a global corporate bureaucratic fraternity, offers less choice amid the perception of abundance,” says Salatin, calling for a lifting of restrictions on local, organic food that give industrial, mass-produced food an unfair advantage.

Salatin, a self-described “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic farmer,” is perhaps the local food movement’s most vocal advocate. Indeed, when he gets started on the topic, its hard not to get inspired by his rebel spirit.

“The only reason the framers of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights did not guarantee citizens freedom of food choice was because they could not have conceived of a day when private treaty neighbor-to-neighbor food commerce would be demonized and criminalized,” says Salatin, who plans to explain how citizens can reclaim the right to buy food from local, smaller-scale producers at the September event.

Advance tickets are $19.50 for adults, $15.50 for seniors/students, and $8.50 for children 12 and under and are available at several stores in downtown Staunton and online. Tickets at the door will be one single price of $25. Information and tickets are available at