Optimal Performance

Grass-fed Farming Pioneer Joel Salatin on Passion, Integrity, Community and Growth

Joel Salatin may be the world’s most famous farmer.

Last month I spent a day with Joel Salatin at his world-famous Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia.

We busted some misleading myths perpetrated by the documentary Cowspiracy.

We talked about his farming principles that are changing the world.

And we dug into topics like passion, integrity, home-centric living, and perpetual growth that are central to Joel’s decades of growth and success.

You don’t want to miss this episode – it’s a side of the magnetic leader you’ve never seen.

Joel Polyface Dead Mouse

Joel’s cat brought us surprise during the recording.

Joel Salatin: Beyond Organic, Pioneer of Grass-fed & Polyculture Farming

Joel’s work to promote beyond low-infrastructure, beyond organic, symbiotic, grass-fed, polyculture ecosystems is changing farming, food, and people’s perception of farmers.

In this episode of the OPP, I visit Joel at his world famous Polyface Farm to spend a Saturday with a man who is changing the world.

While we did talk about farming and food, but you’re also going to hear a great deal about some recurring themes here on the OPP, including passion, integrity, self-evolution, growth, and community.

Click the images below to listen to the OPP on-the-go: on iTunes or Stitcher.



Joel was previously on the podcast, and you can see that episode —> OPP #51 where he discusses farming policies and protocols in greater detail.

What you’ll hear from Joel Salatin on Episode 58 of the OPP:

  • Debunking the stats presented in Cowspiracy
  • A LIVE example of symbiosis and polyculture in action…one of Joel’s animals make a guest appearance
  • Despite overcrowding claims, we have fewer livestock on the planet than we did in ancestral times
  • Why you should never judge anything based on the worst possible example
  • How amphibians and bees are driving public policy
  • The connection between integrity and vibrant health
  • Joel’s 3-Part System to change your trajectory
  • “Home-centricity” – stop viewing your home as a pit-stop between activities, create the world you want around your home
  • The danger of being disconnected with nature
  • How mission statements and goals evolve as we mature
  • Joel’s tips and advice for continuing self-evolution (from farmer to industry-leader)
  • The 3 biggest lesson’s Joel has learned in his career
  • Don’t second guess your passion
  • Realize that you need a mentor, partner, or team to reach your goals – very few people succeed on their own
  • Never feel like you’ve “arrived” – Stay hungry, stay humble, and keep pushing for more
  • Where to find more of Joel
  • Joel’s favorite books (See OPP #51 for his Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal)

Some videos and photos from the Polyface Farm tour


Joel Salatin Pastured Poultry

Polyface Farm Free Range Chickens
Pasture Raised Chickens at Polyface Farms

Polyface Farm Turkeys
Pasture-Raised Turkeys (turkeys need more space than chickens)

Polyface Farm grassfed cows
Grass-Fed Beef: Nature uses herbivores to prune grasses. This is a crucial element in Joel’s farming model

Links & Resources:

Polyface Farms

Joel on Optimal Performance Podcast #51: The Surprising Truth About Agriculture and Money


Our Cowspiracy blog post with mind-blowing stats (A single 1/4 pound hamburger takes 660 gallons of water to produce – using the factory farming model)

Amphibian Studies as environmental indicators

2015 White House Pollinator Action Plan

Holistic Management Resource Model – Allan Savory

Allan’s TED Talk, How to fight desertification and reverse climate change:

Documentary Movies Featuring Joel &/or Polyface Farms:

Food Inc

Food Matters

Polyfaces: A World of Many Choices

Nature Deficit Disorder & other Books by Richard Louv

Joel’s Books:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Sir Albert Howard’s An Agricultural Testament

“It’s the temptation of every civilization to take what nature has created and turn it into cash”

“Artificial manures (chemicals & pesticides) grow artificial plants, that grow artificial animals, that create artificial humans who can only stay alive by taking artificials.”

What was your favorite part of this episode? Let us know in the comments below.


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