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We are the Caretakers of Creation

These empowering words were spoken by Joel Salatin, a beyond-organic farmer and author in Virginia. His family owns and manages Polyface Farms, which they purchased in the early sixties. The land in that area had been abused by poor farming practices so the soil was terrible — the topsoil having been washed away by rain and wind thanks to overgrazing and a lack of crop rotation. The Salatins began planting trees, digging ponds, and herding their cattle, hogs, and poultry to various sections of their property (and moved them daily). They land began to heal and the Salatins continued their work. Here’s Daniel Salatin to tell you more about their philosophy and operation:


This family rebelled against standard farming practices and fed their animals grass-only diets, free-ranged their poultry and hogs, and refused to administer antibiotics at a time when most farmers were only just beginning to grasp the concept of crop rotation. The United States Department of Agriculture fought with this family over every aspect of their farming operation. As Bruce Willis said in The Whole Nine Yards, “the stats don’t lie” and the USDA is having to eat a lot of crow because the Salatin farm is able to pay every one of their workers ample wages and still have money to reinvest in their farm. They put the animals needs first and let them work together on a carefully managed cycle to improve the land and therefore feed themselves. Steroids, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are not needed or used. The end result? An inspiring success story of healthy land, grass, cattle, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and humans.

Josh and I admire these innovative farmers because they paved the way for those of us who dream of having a farm like theirs. We love their books, philosophy, and way of life. Want some great reading for the spring? Check out the following (click on the book cover to open the page):

We hope that you too are inspired by the Salatins. If you just can’t get enough of them or you are interested in taking The Razor Family Farms Challenge then click here and read about what you can do to change the world and see a tour of Polyface, Inc. with Joel Salatin.

Want to save 60,000 trees and get a free grocery tote? Click here. (Thank you, Jayedee!)

Don’t miss the sounds of the morning at Razor Family Farms in the post below:

  • Happy Mommy - What a great book! Our soil is much like that of Salatin’s farm, and we have and will use much of his practices as we move on to our new land soon.
    We had our fresh eggs for breakfast this morning, so good!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Very interesting. My family works a lot on those principles. I have heard of the Salatin’s from another blog. I have sent and email to her to visit you. I will put the challenge chicken on when I get a few minutes to work with it and write a general post. We eat fresh pastured chicken’s eggs and our beef, turkeys and chickens are raised by the family. I am so glad I found your blog or you found mine, whichever the case may be.ReplyCancel

  • Hayden - It wasn’t until last September that I started seriously thinking about going back to the family homestead in Michigan – it’s been idle for roughly 70 years, and I’ve been urban for 30. As I was working through the “are you really serious about this?” monologue my eye fell on Salatin’s “You Can Farm” and Elliot Coleman’s “Four Season Garden” on my bookshelf and I had to laugh. How many dedicated urbanites have these books? Much planning to do still, but one more year and I’ll take early retirement and be there.

    Dawn gave me the link to your blog – I look forward to exploring it further.ReplyCancel

  • Christine - It has been a process of us going greener and food hasn’t (yet) been a part of the process. I’m glad I found your blog because I’ve been learning alot! I wished we owned our own home & lived in the country to have our own eggs and such…ReplyCancel

  • The Holly Tree - Morning, Lacy. ::waves:: I think what that family has done is just fantastic. There was a time when farmers didn’t go for all the crap that’s injected in livestock, now – and when they weren’t doing that, the food was safe to eat. Today, there are so many hormones and crap fed to those animals that it’s actually dangerous to eat meat now.

    My dad was a Grade One (top) inspector for all the slaughterhouses in my province. When things started changing (hormones, etc being added), Dad found himself rejecting more meat more often, because there were just too many things wrong with it. Farming families who decide to push back against the government by doing things the old-fashioned way is definitely a family I can support, that’s for sure.

    Thanks so much for sharing this family’s story. ::hug:: I hope you have a great day, my friend. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • The Holly Tree - Hi Lacy. 🙂 Thanks so much for the offer to guest here, but I must respectfully decline. My dad left that line of work many years ago (and, he’s been dead for almost 12 years), and I don’t have the pull I’d need to get into those houses to talk to the long-time employees. When Dad took me, he always made special arrangements; people can’t just go into those places and take a look around or talk to the guys who work there, anymore.

    However, what I can tell you is that if you wanted to get in on an arranged tour, talk to the guys who are on the kill floor, as well as the processing guys. They’ve seen it all, and they’re the ones who have a way better view of how much has changed… Most of the changes have been in the beef industry, although sheep are being affected, too, now.

    Anyway, if you know someone who works in a slaughter house and if they can arrange a tour for you – and if you have a cast-iron gut (believe me, my friend, you need one) and you can handle watching the whole process from the initial kill through to the rendering – then I encourage you to check it out. You’d be surprised what you can learn when you least expect it. You might not be able to post/print what you learn, and/or you may have to do it by promising anonymity to your source of information, but it’s well worth the time taken to learn about the industry. Mad Cow Disease – for example – is a man-made disease; did you know that? It’s a result of indirectly turning herbivores into carnivores by feeding cattle sheep-byproducts.

    Like I said, Lacy, it’s well worth investigating, if you’re into it. If nothing else, it will show you just how important it is that farming families like you and Josh, as well as the Salatines, continue fighting against what the government tries to force on you. Genetically modified foods include beef, pork, and poultry, and anyone who rebels against that by going organic to the point where the government is getting irritated… Well, they have my respect, that’s for sure. ::thumbs up::ReplyCancel

  • Robin - What a wonderful story, Lacy! Thank you for sharing it. 😀

    I won a bag! We stopped using plastic/paper grocery bags right around February 1st. And we haven’t looked back! I am so glad to have won this free one – I like so much what it says on it. We buy their products on occasion, too. :mrgreen:

    Thank you! Hugs & Blessings, RobinReplyCancel

  • Heather - Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just glanced through some of your interesting posts and I can tell I need to come back when I have more time and read some more. Talkeetna is beautiful. Love it there…such a interesting town with such charm.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - thanks Lacy…. took the quiz … won a bag! …. So glad that there are people like you finding great information to share! Those guineas are noisy!ReplyCancel

  • kristi - Such prettiness! I particularly love how you were able to plug a Bruce Willis film into social consciousness! Excellent.ReplyCancel

  • Landon Jones - Yes, I read about the Salatins in a paper at the organic food market in Norfolk where Dave and I like to shop. I love that they have figured out how to work with nature, not against it. I wish them all the success in the world. Oh, and Daniel’s kinda cute.ReplyCancel

  • lacyrazor - I can’t get over these wonderful comments! I am stunned at the quality of them as well. This is where I confess: I truly believe that I have the best and most intelligent readers of any blog. Seriously — you guys rock!

    Know that I appreciate every single comment you make. Your comments and thoughts inspire, teach, and thrill me every day.

    Blessings and thanks!


  • Texas Tea, Green Manure, and Forgiveness | Razor Family Farms - […] to know more about Joel Salatin?  Read “We are the Caretakers of Creation.” (another post in this […]ReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - Landon, my dear friend, I’m so glad to see you here!


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