LANGLEY – Renowned farmer, teacher and author Joel Salatin – dubbed a "rock star" farmer by the media – will be the keynote speaker at a workshop on "The Future of Food and Farming" to be held in Langley on Saturday, Nov. 8. The workshop is being hosted by the Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation and will also feature Chris Bodnar, who coowns and operates Close to Home Organics at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford, and Julia Smith of Urban Digs, a small farm in both Delta and South Burnaby that provides market vegetables, meat and eggs to both local families and to some of the top restaurants in Metro Vancouver.
Salatin, described by the New York Times as the "high priest of the pasture", says Polyface, his farm in Virginia (online at Polyfacefarms.com), is "the farm of many faces… a family-owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm."
Salatin, 57, has written nine books, including You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise and Field of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating, the latter aimed at young farmers.
His farm has also been featured in films such as Food Inc. and Fresh and also the book Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.
Now finishing their eighth season of farming, Bodnar and his family operate a 135-member community-shared agriculture program and sell at two weekly farmers markets during the farming seasons.
Prior to farming, Bodnar earned a PhD in communication from Carleton University and now teaches the goat husbandry and business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Richmond Farm School. He also sits on the board of the B.C Association for Regenerative Agriculture and the Certified Organic Associations of B.C.
Smith’s Urban Digs, meanwhile, is based on three acres in Burnaby and another acre and a half in Delta. The farm raises both vegetables and animals, particularly ethically raised chickens, geese, sheep and pigs.
"We are passionate about sustainable agriculture and animal welfare," Smith says on her website, Urbandigsfarm.com, "and are striving to build a healthy agroecosystem where people, animals and vegetables can work together to nourish bodies and our community."
The LSAF workshop, which is sponsored by Langley Township and VanCity Savings, will be held at Langley Events Centre from 8:30 a.m. to noon and is sponsored by the Township of Langley. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased by calling 604-532-3500.