Farm guru to speak at Langley sustainable farming workshop

Author and farmer Joel Salatin will be in Langley on Saturday, Nov. 8.

Renowned farmer, teacher and author Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 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 put on by the Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation. It will also feature Chris Bodnar, who co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford, and Julia Smith of Urban Digs, a small farm in 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 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 four how-to’s such as 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 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 and are striving to build a healthy agro-ecosystem where people, animals and vegetables can work together to nourish bodies and our community,” Smith says on her website, urbandigsfarm.com.

The LSAF workshop, which is sponsored by Langley Township and VanCity Savings, will be held at the Langley Events Centre from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is sponsored by the Township of Langley. Tickets are $25 each, plus GST, and can be purchased by calling any Township of Langley recreation centre. Just search “TOL rec centres” to find hours of operation and phone numbers.