As many Americans responsibly don face masks, distance from their families, and await the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, a group of 300 people sat tightly packed on hay bales Sunday at a Virginia farm to hear anti-vaccination activists and “ancestral health” experts offer up an alternate reality.
The event was hosted by the Weston A. Price foundation—a nonprofit “dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism,” according to its website. It was held at the Swoope, Virginia-based Polyface Farm, owned by the infamous Joel Salatin, whose own website describes him as a “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer.”
Time once called 63-year-old Salatin the “world’s most innovative farmer,” and he was profiled in Mother Jones this week, in a piece that dug into how Salatin became a “media darling.”
The size of the gathering at Polyface Farms would be ripe for condemnation anywhere during a deadly pandemic, but it was especially stunning in Swoope, which The Staunton News Leader reported had a whopping 52 percent positivity rate on Wednesday.
According to several social media posts from the event, speakers included Del Bigtree, the chief executive officer of anti-vaccination group Informed Consent Action Network; Mike Dickson, a former professional bodybuilder turned full-time farmer; Hilda Labrada Gore, an “ancestral health expert;” Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and The Contagion Myth, which her website claims was banned by Amazon; and Salatin himself.
The "foundation" in question has long peddled the bogus notion that vaccines cause autism. Bigtree is a notorious proponent of the idea, and has hijacked the yellow Star of David badge, which some European Jews had to wear during the Holocaust, to symbolize their “persecution” by government vaccine rules.