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“High Priest of the Pasture” to Present Carleton Convocation

February 10, 2012
By Alex Korsunsky '12

Self-described “environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin will deliver Carleton College’s weekly convocation address on Fri., Feb. 17 at 10:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. In his presentation, entitled “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” Schwartz will argue that, unlike popular science fiction visions of the future, a sustainable future means looking to the past to re-establish historical normalcy by returning to closer relationships with the land that sustains us. Salatin’s address is free and open to the public.

Salatin argues that our culture is the first culture with no chores for children, cheap energy, heavy mechanization, computers, supermarkets, and TV dinners—and while he doesn’t advocate for the return of horses and buggies, he does think that we will need to take a step “backward” in order to go forward, using technology to re-establish historical normalcy and strike a sustainable balance with nature in order to allow our society to survive. This normalcy will include edible landscapes, domestic larders, pastured livestock, and a far closer relationship between human beings and their environment. Salatin argues that it is preferable to get started enthusiastically rather than be dragged into this inevitable new normal.

Described by the New York Times as the “high priest of the pasture,” Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm, a pasture-based, relationally oriented farm that stresses sustainability, health, and symbiosis with the earth over the industrial commodity-based factory farms that have increasingly dominated the American agricultural landscape. Polyface Farm was profiled in Michael Pollan’s bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Penguin, 2007), and in two subsequent documentary films, Food, Inc. (2008) and Fresh (2009). More information can be found online at

Salatin has been recognized for his ecological and local-based farming advocacy with numerous awards, including the Heinz Award, and an honorary doctorate. He is the author of seven books, including his most recent publication, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (Center Street, 2011).

The Carleton College convocation speaker series is sponsored by the Office of College Relations. For more information or disability accommodations, contact or call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street, between College and Winona Streets in Northfield.