Sustainable farming activist Joel Salatin will lead the third annual Field & Fork Network Farmer-Chef Conference on Monday.

Held at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, it's the third gathering of Western New Yorkers on both ends of the food production system -- the people growing crops and raising meat animals, and those responsible for buying food for restaurants and institutional kitchens.

Programs and workshops will address seasonal menu planning, butchery topics, institutional food procurement, value chain management, and appreciating local wines. (For more information see

Salatin, a working former who runs Polyface Farm in Swoope, Va., has become one of the nation's foremost advocates of sustainable farming practices. He raises meat animals and eggs while avoiding industrial farming practices like massing animals in confined spaces, and widespread use of pesticides and other chemicals.

Polyface Farms has become well-known through Salatin's appearances in Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and the documentaries "Food, Inc." and "FRESH." But in line with Salatin's emphasis on supporting local agriculture, Polyface won't sell you any food. "We do not ship anything anywhere," the Polyface website says. "We encourage folks to find their local producers."

Tickets to the daylong conference, which starts at 8 a.m. Monday, are $65, available through Salatin is also speaking at 8 p.m. Monday at Daemen College's Wick Center in Snyder; tickets are $18 and $20, from or by calling 565-2306.

-- Andrew Z. Galarneau