Freelancer and aspiring journalist from Adelaide. Visual Arts graduate & current journalism student. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, art & food. I also write for The Adelaidian // theadelaidian.net/author/georgina-tselekidis
Transforming the global food system for the better
In this day and age where food is mass-produced, our supermarket shelves are stocked with artificial poison, fruits and vegetables are genetically modified or abundantly sprayed with chemicals, and the meat we're eating derives from grain-fed and hormone induced animals that are kept in poor conditions - it's no wonder people are getting sick. Whether it be obesity, heart disease, diabetes, mental health, or general malaise, food plays a major role in how we feel and society is coming to realise that what we're eating may be the culprit. More importantly, thoughts of what we're feeding our children are beginning to surface, with many kids developing ADD, ADHD, allergies, eczema and more. Polyface Inc. aim to convey this message through 'Polyfaces' as part of the Transitions Film Festival, held in Adelaide.
Polyface Inc. is a family owned business, dating back to 1961, and is reputably known for their unconventional yet ethical farming ways. Defying the norm, and opposing the pack, the Salatin's decided to venture into their own 'non-industrial food production oasis'. Set in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley in northern Virginia, 'Polyface Farm' uses no chemicals, unlike most commercial farms, and feeds over 6,000 families, food outlets and restaurants. With this, they have maintained an honorable reputation as 'the world's most innovative farmer', with tourists from all over the world traveling to Polyface Farm to experience it all for themselves. Joel Salatin provides tours, talks, and hosts special events promoting his innovative yet simple method of farming that can make a positive impact on the world. Salatin's aim is to spread the message of sustainability, and how their regenerative model of food production can provide quality and nourishing produce without depleting the planet.
Polyfaces is beautifully filmed, capturing the humble lifestyle of those living on the farm. One Australian family spent their life savings and ventured to Virginia, USA to document the Salatin's style of farming over a 4 year period. Here we see the raw and true beauty of sustainable living, provoking notions of how we eat, live and the role we play as consumers participating in negative food production practices. Polyfaces creates a sense of joy through the heartfelt and warming story of this family businesses' origins and how it continues to thrive in such a fast-paced, materialistic, and overindulgent society that is losing touch with simple living. The Salatin family hope to reach out, promote health and encourage other farmers to adopt their techniques. Similarly, the film focuses on the connection between land, community and the relationships of animals and their natural functions, which is conveyed through the Salatins' 'unorthodox' mixed species plant grazing system that sees cows moved to fresh paddocks everyday, and free to roam grazing chickens sharing pastures to promote nutrient-dense products.
We gain an insight into the individual and personal stories of families, interns, and singles that are unfolded throughout the documentary, embracing their incredible sense of passion and love for what they do and sharing it with the community; 'feeding people with good food' is their primary motto. Furthermore, Polyfaces communicates how good food isn't about 'diet' but more a 'lifestyle', and that eating well is the first step in 'healing yourself, healing the land, healing the economy and healing the culture'. As a viewer, I immediately craved the simple life that's portrayed in Polyfaces, as it creates an instant yearning to make a positive change, heightened by the sense of community and the quality of life on the farm that's captured throughout the film. Many conventional farms complain of money, disease, weather and conditions, however, Polyfaces does not signify this vibe of struggle, but paints a happy picture of what our farming future should and can potentially be.