Time Magazine called Joel Salatin “the world’s most innovative farmer” after he and his family turned a degraded farm into a highly successful organic enterprise that feeds more than 6,000 families, and provides food for numerous restaurants.
Instead of using chemicals, the Salatin family works with nature by using the symbiotic relationships of animals and their natural functions.
People interested in sustainable farming and the story of a family hoping to change the world with their “regenerative model of food production” will want to see the film “Polyfaces: A World of Many Choices,” which is coming to Star Hall on Tuesday, July 26, at 7 p.m. The Grand Conservation District and the Youth Garden Project are teaming up to present the film.
Australians Lisa Heenan and Darren Doherty took their life savings and spent four years making the film in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. They say they believe this style of farming can “change the fate of humanity.”
Indeed, in the film Salatin says, “If every farmer in the United States would practice this system, in fewer than 10 years we would sequester all the carbon that’s been emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Age…”
“Polyfaces” has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature Film 2016 at Silver Springs International Film Festival, Czech Republic Minister of Agriculture Award 2015 at the Life Sciences Film Festival in Prague and Remi Winner at the 49th Annual Worldfest Houston International Film Festival 2016.
Grand Conservation District chair Kara Dohrenwend said she heard about Salatin during local discussions about small-scale agriculture.
The district is interested in preserving the area’s agricultural heritage, and while Grand County doesn’t have many large food producers, there are a lot of one- to five-acre agricultural properties, she said.
Conservation districts were formed across the country in the late 1930s in response to the Dust Bowl, to help farmers better produce food, Dohrenwend said.
“When I saw the film’s trailer, I thought it could be a way to bring people together to talk about small-scale agriculture,” she said. “(Salatin) talks about how to restore the land, and how to restore community … It seemed to me we need more of that in this time.”
Dohrenwend said she has invited several local farmers to the film screening for a discussion afterward.
The district provides agricultural education and disperses money to entities such as Canyonlands Field Institute and the Youth Garden Project.
Proceeds from next week’s event will go to the Youth Garden Project, a nonprofit organization that provides hands-on science lessons and other activities for area schoolchildren at low cost, or for free.
The Youth Garden Project plants fruits and vegetables on a one-acre plot that it uses as an educational tool, both during the school year and in the summer.
“We connect people with the process of growing food,” Youth Garden Project Executive Director Delite Primus said. “We partner with teachers,” both during the school day and after school.
Science lessons are aligned with Utah curriculum requirements, she said.
Each summer, the organization holds a nine-week camp program for kids where children play, spend time in the garden and participate in a variety of activities created around a particular theme. The camp typically fills up fast, Primus said.
The Grand Conservation District’s five-member board meets once a month on the second Monday at 7 p.m., at the Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings.
Documentary about sustainable agriculture comes to Star Hall on July 26
“When I saw the film’s trailer, I thought it could be a way to bring people together to talk about small-scale agriculture … (Joel Salatin) talks about how to restore the land, and how to restore community … It seemed to me we need more of that in this time.”
When: Tuesday, July 26, at 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
Cost: $5; proceeds benefit the Youth Garden Project
Star Hall is located at 159 E. Center St. To learn more about the movie, go to: www.polyfaces.com.