Despite plenty of skepticism, the trend of local, organic, sustainable food seems to be one that's sticking around. We're all happy to plunk down the extra few bucks at a grocery store or restaurant for organic ingredients, which is probably good considering how much other garbage we eat and drink. In Dallas, Urban Acres, a local community supported agriculture organization and farmstead, has been driving the trend for as long as it's been around.
Now these organic junkies plan to kick up their passion for organic food a notch by launching the first-annual "s?l Conference," and they've brought in a pretty big gun in the world of naturally-grown food to kick it off. Joel Salatin, the owner of Polyface Farms in Virginia, will keynote the inaugural event, to the delight of hippies and foodies everywhere.
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Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, is one of the biggest names in organic farming. Polyface Farms uses organic and ecologically-friendly methods of raising chickens and other livestock, and you can find his chickens at places like Chipotle even though he typically doesn't sell to vendors that are more than a half-day's drive from the farm.
At the Conference, Salatin will be joined by local food advocates Graham Dodds (of Hibiscus) and Cafe Momentum's Chad Houser. Dodds will demonstrate to the audience how to break down a whole pig, something that he does at his Henderson Avenue restaurant a few times a week. If you've ever felt the need to know how to butcher a whole hog, this could be one of the few chances you'll ever get to have a chef-instructed lesson.
Other sessions will focus on backyard chickens, beekeeping, and the reality of farming. Chipotle will be on-hand to provide free tacos for lunch, and an Artizone-sponsored afterparty with drinks and a DJ will take place after a full day of seminars, speakers, and classes. After all that sobering knowledge about vanishing bee populations and urban farming, a drink will surely be in order.
Tickets to the one-day conference on April 8 will run you $45 if you register early, but there are other package options that you should certainly consider if organic farming is your thing. For $105, you can get a VIP pass that includes extra perks, and $165 will get you access to the entire Conference and a "Steward's Dinner" with Joel Salatin. Maybe he'll bring some of his organically-grown chickens and you can taste the difference yourself.