Acton Institute Powerblog

Acton University 2015: Plenary Speaker Joel Salatin

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Don’t let the dirty boots and the beat-up cowboy hat fool you: Joel Salatin is not your average farmer. While he is a farmer (he owns and operates Polyface Farm), he has a lot to say about how we produce, distribute and eat food in our nation, and how practices in the West negatively impact the developing world.

What each of these delegates said, each session I went to, was, “You Americans butt out. We don’t need your foreign aid. We can feed ourselves.” And they would list these wonderful, perennial nut-bearing trees and things that had now been cut down because of cheap, western-dumping, foreign aid into those cultures, which depressed the price of their locally-produced food, and eliminated the value.”

On feeding the world:

Ultimately, nobody in the world is starving because there’s not enough food. 50% of all the edible food, human-edible food in the world, never gets eaten by humans because it spoils. It spoils in route to a destination.

If we would just localize our food networks, it would be like suddenly increasing production or available food by 20% or 30%, simply because it wouldn’t be spoiling in a warehouse. It wouldn’t be rotting on a ship. It wouldn’t be eaten by sacred rats on a dock. It wouldn’t be held up by an uzi-toting displaced youth in an African country demanding a bribe from the rest, Red Cross truck to pass this checkpoint.

All of these things are, have nothing to do with production. If I could click my fingers tomorrow and double the world’s food production, it would not affect one hungry stomach in the world. Nobody in the world goes hungry because of not enough food.”

It’s a matter of distribution, and distribution is primarily a matter of sociopolitical hurdles.”

Joel Salatin will be a plenary speaker at Acton University 2015. We hope you can join us for the entire conference, but you also have to option of joining us just for dinner and the evening plenary. Should you wish to see and hear Mr. Salatin, you’ll find more information here.

You can also read more of Mr. Salatin’s PovertyCure interview here.

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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