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

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Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front + Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World + You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Great insight into Joel Salatin's farm life.
While I agree with Mr. Salatin that his rants are justified, the solutions that he espouses can be a bit simplistic.
Dan Moore
Our government is trying to regulate us to death and will if we let them.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

239 of 252 people found the following review helpful 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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109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Dave Lillie on January 21, 2008
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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89 of 97 people found the following review helpful 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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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By K. Swanson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2009
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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More About the Author

About Joel
Joel F. Salatin (born 1957) is an American farmer, lecturer, and author whose books include You Can Farm and Salad Bar Beef.

Salatin raises livestock using holistic methods of animal husbandry, free of potentially harmful chemicals, on his Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. Meat from the farm is sold by direct-marketing to
consumers and restaurants.

In high school, Salatin began his own business selling rabbits, eggs, butter and chicken from his family farm at the Staunton Curb Market. He then attended Bob Jones University where he majored in English and was a student leader. He graduated in 1979. Salatin married his childhood sweetheart in 1980 and became a feature writer at the Staunton,
Virginia newspaper, The News Leader, where he had worked earlier typing obituaries and police reports.

Tired of "having his stories spiked," he decided to try farming full-time after first getting involved in a walnut-buying station run by two high school boys. Salatin's grandfather had been an avid gardener and beekeeper and a follower of J. I. Rodale, the founder of regenerative organic gardening. Salatin's father worked as an accountant and his mother taught high school physical education. Salatin's parents had bought the land that became Polyface after losing a farm in Venezuela to political turmoil. They had raised cattle using organic methods, but could not make a living at farming alone.

Salatin, a self-described "Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-Farmer" produces high-quality "beyond organic" meats, which are raised using environmentally responsible, ecologically beneficial, sustainable agriculture. Jo Robinson, the author of Pasture Perfect: The Far-Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs and Dairy Products From Grass-Fed Animals (2004) said of Salatin, "He's not going back to the old model. There's nothing in county extension or old-fashioned ag science that really informs him. He is just looking totally afresh at how to maximize production in an integrated system on a holistic farm. He's just totally innovative."

Salatin considers his farming a ministry, and he condemns the negative impact on his livelihood and lifestyle of what he considers an increasingly regulatory approach taken by the agencies of the United States government toward farming. Salatin now spends a hundred days a year lecturing at colleges and to environmental groups.

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Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front
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