Drawing upon 40 years' experience as an ecological farmer and marketer, Joel Salatin explains with humor and passion why Americans do not have the freedom to choose the food they purchase and eat. From child labor regulations to food inspection, bureaucrats provide themselves sole discretion over what food is available in the local marketplace. Their system favors industrial, global corporate food systems and discourages community-based food commerce, resulting in homogenized selection, mediocre quality, and exposure to non-organic farming practices. Salatin's expert insight explains why local food is expensive and difficult to find and will illuminate for the reader a deeper understanding of the industrial food complex.
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About the Author
Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces pastured beef, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, rabbits, lamb and ducks, servicing roughly 6,000 families and 50 restaurants in the farm’s bioregion. He has written 11 books to date and lectures around the world on land healing, local food systems.
Table of Contents
1. The original essay
2. Raw milk and dairy
3. PL 90-492
4. Custom beef
7. 1,000,000 mile chicken
8. Organic certification
9. Government grants : best management practices
10. Government grants : conservation easements
12. Predators and endangered species
13. Sawmills are out
19. Avian influenza
21. National animal identification system
22. Mad cow
23. Animal welfare
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm a grass-fed livestock farmer living near Joel Salatin and have visited his farm and bought his products many times. This book does accurately reflect who Joel is: funny, blunt, knowledgeable 'about some topics', charismatic, certainly a pioneer. However, beware of making assumptions about Joel. The vast majority of his customers and fans are interested in organic foods, have an environmentalist bent, and are politically liberal. They may assume that Joel is like them -- but be assured that he certainly is not. Joel hates all those things. He is a fundamentalist Christian creationist and his politics are somewhere to the right of Dick Cheney. A few examples: He shoots any non-farm animal that comes on his property 'including dogs, rare martens, and birds of prey', and does it with an enthusiasm that is disturbing for a so-called 'poster boy for humane agriculture.' This 'ecological farmer' opposes wilderness areas, endangered species protection, and farmland preservation and would like to see all land privatized to be milked for all its worth in the name of 'property rights.' He compares animal-rights supporters and vegetarians to abortionists. And that's just a few of the chapters! While I agree with a number of his points -- for example, that small-scale farmers should be exempt from regulations designed for corporate agribusinesses like Cargill or Tyson -- his simplistic libertarianism is more appropriate for a college sophomore. Yes, he pioneered pastured poultry and popularized grass-fed farming in general. The number of different profitable enterprises on his farm is remarkable. And anybody who can make a living farming these days should be congratulated. But this book shows him as a generic, naive libertarian wanna-be who has a persecution complex and a far higher opinion of himself than is deserved. I highly recommend his other, more practical, books -- 'Salad Bar Beef' etc -- instead of this angry right-wing rant. Let's hope a more moderate farmer steps up as a spokesman for this critical paradigm shift in agriculture.
Another one of those political books that frustrates me. Mr Salatin had to have a good sense of humor or he would have smacked someone before he had a chance to write the book!
This is a book that would make Robert Heinlein rolled over in his grave, yet he would completely agree with it. It is a book to make me, the mildly rebellious anti-authority person I am, become a raving Libertarian. It also will make you think twice, if not three times, before you buy meat at the grocery store again.The author of this book is a farmer in Virginia. He is trying to run a small farm and sell the products from his farm. Most of the things he wants to do, sell eggs, fresh chicken and other meat, raw milk, are, in one way or another, illegal. The laws that in theory were set up to "protect" are just promoting the industrialization of food production. This month, with a mass hysteria over peanut products, we can see how safe the industry is. Unfortunately the result will be more regulation, resulting in more centralization and more areas where a large company can ignore the regulators and small ones can't get in at all.The best part of this book is that the author is not writing a theoretical tract. He is no animal rights activist who has never seen animals in the wild, he is not a professor, years from getting mud on his shoes, he is a farmer first. He has become an activist only because of the years of fighting the system.While the details of how ridiculous the regulations involving the production of food were, the parts of the book that really got to me were the places he discusses the ideology behind the regulations. For example: One of my icons, Wendell Berry, makes the excellent point in his classic The Unsettling of America that ultimately the rabid environmentalist and the rabid factory farmer are cut from the same cloth: they both idolize a landscape devoid of humans. Ultimately they both hate people. . . Asked to supply a picture of the ideal landscape, neither group will include humans in the portrait.Or this point, As these types of laws proliferate, all of us find fewer and fewer spots of autonomy left. Being able to make self-directed decisions is critical for expressing our humanness. Not that any individual expression is okay. . . but these basic moral codes are a far cry from the kind of micro-behavioural codes emanating from today's politicians. The Romans had a saying that the better the government, the fewer the laws.or this one, Teddy Roosevelt used to say that nothing in government happens by accident. There is always an agenda. And especially today, the agenda usually involves more power and money to large corporate and bureaucratic interests with a parallel disempowering and impoverishing of smaller public and private entities.I especially like that last paragraph, as he neatly skewers both the Left and the Right. This is a man who has thought deeply about our political process and the practical applications of it. All he wants to do is feed his neighbors and his family, the government will not allow it. While I think that a part of his problem is living in the East, even in the West more kneejerk reaction laws are passed every year. If I had a lot of money, I would buy this book for every person I know, as it is, get this from the library and read it, remember it when election time comes around and every time you have to deal with any sort of government bureaucracy.
This book is full of great information, but it has a tendency to get long winded often. It is more like a conversation with someone with much experience. I don't feel like he is trying to preach his political views, or convert me.