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Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front Paperback – September 17, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm, arguably the nation's most famous farm since it was profiled in Michael Pollan's New York Times bestseller, The Omnivore's Dilemma and two subsequent documentaries, Food, Inc., and Fresh. An accomplished author and public speaker, Salatin has authored seven books. Recognition for his ecological and local-based farming advocacy includes an honorary doctorate, the Heinz Award, and many leadership awards.



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Polyface (September 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963810952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963810953
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Preston B. Larus on September 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Author Joel Salatin is a "farmer." The word tends to conjure an image of the small farmer of yesteryear ... struggling, hapless, about to be made obsolete by today's industrialized, corporatized agribusiness.

Forget that image. Salatin's business model is uniquely American: innovative, quality-driven, free-thinking, and customer-oriented. He has created a loyal local market for his high-quality poultry, beef, and pork, and he accepts no government monies or subsidies.

As if that wasn't hard enough, Salatin has had to constantly swim against an overwhelming tide of flawed regulations that discriminate in favor of mega-operations. "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal" tells all about that struggle, and so much more.

Salatin asks (and answers) the questions, why are small farmers and local food artisans leaving their heritage behind to work in town? Why do we, as a society, have a larger segment of our population in prison (2.5 %) than working on farms (1.5%)? Why is food quality at a low? And why are regulatory barriers keeping small producers out of the business of food production?

And how did we - the constituency, the consumers, the all-powerful "demand" part of the supply-and-demand equation -- ever buy in to the notion that the institutionalization of our food supply is inexorable and must be suffered with stoic cynicism and resignation? And what is there to do about it?

The answers to these questions matter, because the ultimate costs of these trends are huge, in terms of food quality, in terms of resource damage, and at many other levels. But the worst damage of all is the loss of whole communities and ways of life ... ways that have worked for centuries.
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Format: Paperback
Joel Salatin provides an honest, albiet frightening, view of what it is like trying to run a small business in America in 2007. As the owner of a small business for 27 years, as well as a sustainable ag farmer for the past 3 years, I can attest to everything Joel discusses in his book. Other reviews criticize his political leanings, his simplistic libertarianism, his religious beliefs, and his so called "rants", but none of these critics challenges the truth of what he reveals. Those in the front always take the first arrows. This book should scare the hell out of anyone who believes that government is the answer to all of our ills. For those of us who want clean food, those of us who want to produce a wholesome product for us, our families, and our neighbors, and most of all, those of us who just want a choice in our lives, this book is a testament to the need for a revolution against the food industry as well as our big bully government. I borrowed this book from my son, but am so appreciative of the information within, that I will send Joel a check today for the cost of the book.
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By J. Mease on September 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I blew through this book over the weekend and I've found a soul-mate in Joel Salatin. Salatin in an evangelist for the local food movement and we couldn't have a more honest or articulate one.
Joel does a heartfelt and beautiful job of explaining how the best intentioned goverment programs to support farming are actually destroying it, and the health and freedom of Americans along with it. It's a manifesto for local food systems. If you are interested in local food and supporting sustainable agriculture, this book should be on your shelf and gifted to those in government and academia who could make a difference but haven't.
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Format: Paperback
This book is definitely not for everyone. But, if you are outraged by our food system and the taxes you pay to agribiz for their crappy "food" that's killing us by slow degrees, and also enjoy a good rant by someone who knows whereof he speaks, you'll love it.

For the record, I have been vegetarian for two decades, and that in no way diminishes my respect for Salatin or this book. Must we agree with everyone on everything in order to recognize truth when we see it? I stopped eating meat in 1989 when I learned about our factory farming system and didn't want to be part of it...but I have no problem whatsoever with folks who raise their own animals with love and respect and then eat them, or sell them to local friends. Seems natural enough to me, even if it's not my choice.

But not to the government, and that's the point of this book. Its many examples of constant gov't intrusion into every part of the food chain lay clear who runs what and why we're in the sad shape we're in, ecologically and nutritionally.

It all rings true, whether I agree with each of Salatin's political views or not. The pettiness of some of the reviews here on Am only shows why those trying to fight the moronic system aren't winning: they're too busy fighting each other! Divide and conquer? Why bother? Let us beat each other down! It's working, apparently.

Put it this way: if every adult in America read this book and knew about how our food (specifically meat) system is run, there'd be overnight change. Must we agree with all of Salatin's views on everything to give him due credit for fighting his version of the good fight?

We will all never agree on everything, nor need we.
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