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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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About the Author
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really love this family's work. They have a ton of know how that can only be acquired by being the hardworking, God-fearing, non-partisan people they are. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Todd Latiolais
Joel Salatin is a clear, concise, knowledgeable entertaining writer, farmer and a true conservationist / environmentalist. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Uncle Fester
A frustratingly entertaining book that illustrates the ridiculous rules and regulations that forbid you and me to eat what we feel we should be eating to support the health and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Steve A B
Love it! I find myself saying that "everything I want to do is illegal" all the time!Published 6 months ago by Allison Mutek