I read about Polyface Farms in "The Omnivore's Dilemma". Located in southwest Virginia not far from Staunton, the Salatin family farm is renown for its sustainability methods. We traveled 125 miles beyond the furthest lodging of our road trip to visit this place today. It was so worth it! You can read all about the place at www.polyfacefarms.com
The farm is open. We parked in a small lot and wandered around the farm. In the fields, in the henhouses, in the pig barns. No signs said, "Do not enter." No one supervised our walk. It's a completely transparent operation.
First, the rabbits. They are friendly. Their enclosure has wooden slats on the bottom. It sits in the grass. The rabbits eat the grass through the slats and poop out the slats. Each day the enclosure is moved to fresh grass. The rabbit enclosure is between two greenhouse buildings, sheltered from the wind. No need to mow; by the time the rabbit enclosure gets back around to a site already used, the grass has grown back.
The pigs are friendly. They have enough room to move around and enough sun for a warm snooze. There is no odor in the pig barn because downed wood is put through a chipper and the chips are laid down in the barn. There's enough carbon in the wood chips for effective absorption.
The cows are friendly. They graze on grass within moveable fencing. Every few days they're moved to fresh pasture.
Then an "Eggmobile" is moved into the used field. The hens range over the field, cleaning up after the cows and enriching the soil with their poop. They lay their eggs in the Eggmobile. Art went inside to look around. The hens were friendly!
Closer to the farmhouse, greenhouse-like structures house laying hens, young chickens, and babies. They have plenty of room. We wandered around inside each building.
In the laying boxes.
A bragging hen.
One down, one to go.
Under the warmer.
The Salatins slaughter the chickens they sell. The area was immaculate.
Other farm stuff. All organic, of course, and sustainably grown
Indoors, after the chickens.
Broccoli under the straw.
We visited the store after our wander and met Joel Salatin's wife. I asked her if he likes touring around the country giving talks. She said, "Yes, so far." Very nice lady, friendly, she answered all my other questions, too!
So glad we got to see this place!