An unconventional farm visit

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The Living Earth Action Group will present "A Visit to Unconventional Polyface Farm" on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Westminster West Congregational Church.

Nicole Crouch Diaz will tell us about her visit last summer to Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm in Virginia. Salatin's 550-acre farm is featured prominently in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma (2006) and the documentary films, Food, Inc. and Fresh. His unconventional farming practices have drawn attention from the alternative agriculture community, especially those interested in sustainable livestock management.

For example, Pollan became interested in Salatin because of his refusal to send food to locations not within a four-hour drive of his farm, i.e. outside his local "foodshed."

"We want [prospective customers] to find farms in their areas and keep the money in their own community," said Salatin. "We think there is strength in decentralization and spreading out rather than in being concentrated and centralized."

Salatin's philosophy of farming emphasizes healthy grass on which animals can thrive in a symbiotic cycle of feeding. Cows are moved from one pasture to another rather than being centrally corn fed. Then chickens in portable coops are moved in behind them, where they dig through the cow dung to eat protein-rich fly larvae while further fertilizing the field with their droppings.

Nicole Crouch Diaz is passionate Earth-loving farmer/gardener. She has studied and practiced many "new" techniques in her garden in Westminster West, where she lives and co-gardens with her mother.

Bring snacks if you can. This program is presented by the Living Earth Action Group, meeting on Fridays at 5 p.m. at the Westminster West Congregational Church, 44 Church St., Westminster West. All are welcome. For more information and to receive the weekly Living Earth News by email, contact Caitlin Adair at pcadair@sover.net or at 802-387-5779.

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