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86 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of America's Food Supply, one way or another.
Most of Joel Salatin's books have been aimed at small farmers or land-owners looking for an agriculture enterprise. Being in that category, I have enjoyed them all. But trying to explain to most people why it's important to understand the difference between industrial food and local food, has been hard.

This is the first book of his that anyone, farmer or...
Published on March 8, 2005 by K. Powers

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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars jumpy but good advice
A book that crams a lot of fact, exposition and commentary into fastfood sort of reading.

Mr. Salatin has excitement in his tone and energy in his thinking. He makes the idea of eating local practical and palatable

My only angst is his tone toward the migrant farm worker (who 'does not speak english'). Has he forgotten that this is part of our...
Published on September 4, 2007 by snowy owl books


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86 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of America's Food Supply, one way or another., March 8, 2005
This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
Most of Joel Salatin's books have been aimed at small farmers or land-owners looking for an agriculture enterprise. Being in that category, I have enjoyed them all. But trying to explain to most people why it's important to understand the difference between industrial food and local food, has been hard.

This is the first book of his that anyone, farmer or not, can pick up and immediately understand the serious issues involved with the American food supply, and to embrace the solution.

I was always a conservative pro-business Republican until I bought my first milk cow, thinking of selling all of that great pure raw milk. Right. I then read William Campbell Douglas's 'The Milk Book' and began to understand the unnatural relationship that exists between big business and governmental regulatory agencies. Suddenly the question of 'What ever happened to the small family farmer' began to be all too clear.

I also spent six months and a lot of sweat and love raising a few organic hogs, only to find all of the packaged meat stamped 'Not For Sale' from the processor. I argued that my pork was more pure and wholesome than anything from the supermarket, not to mention that it was a USDA inspected facility. But the butcher explained that although that may be so, the state Department of Agriculture mandates any locally raised meat may not be sold.

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven delves deep into these issues and provides a lot of hope for the 'natural' farmer as well as the consumer. There's no doubt that at some point the problems associated with industrial food will come to a head. We now have Mad-cow, Avian-flu, SARS, and Hepatitis outbreaks. All of these have been traced to confinement operations or un-clean foreign-raised crops.

The question is when that time comes what will be done about it. If the government and agri-business are allowed to define the problem, we as small farmers will be targeted directly, unto extinction. But if the truth is allowed to spread now, the consumer can define the issues and local farm-friendly food will be the solution.

I agree with the previous reviewer, if you like this book, buy several copies and give them to your friends who don't realize what is at stake.
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93 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have seen about local agriculture., November 14, 2004
This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
A review by Robert Waldrop, Oklahoma Food Cooperative

If I had a million dollars, I think I would spend a substantial amount of it to buy copies of Joel Salatin's new book, "Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: the food buyer's guide to farm friendly food", and give them away.

I spend a lot of my creative time trying to figure out ways to encourage people to buy local foods, specifically in our case, Oklahoma foods. It's a two-sided process. You have to talk with the producers, and help them understand how city people think about local food and what the farmer needs to do to help people buy their locally produced foods. You have to talk with the customers, so that they understand the opportunities, and the limitations, of the local food market as it presently is. Before both you have to dangle bundles of carrots, "just keep moving in this direction, it's not far, we'll get there, it will be great when we do get there", and so on and so forth in a thousand different iterations just in the past 12 months since we put up our Oklahoma Food Cooperative shingle and got into the local food marketplace bidness.

Neither farmer nor customer really understands the other at this stage in our development, some have more clues than others, but even after 12 months of work, there is a lot of producer and customer education that needs to be done.

Enter Joel Salatin, one of America's most successful direct farm to customer producers.

He has written a book about local food that is filled with passion and love. I have met him a couple of times, he spoke at a pasture meeting here in Oklahoma City and we were both at Terra Madre 2004 in Turin. But I can't say as how I have sat down and talked with him for any particular length of time, the way you do when you really get to know someone. Well, having read this book, I feel like I know him much better. He writes with a spirit of authenticity that is almost startling to behold in an era when the 30 second sound byte is the attention span of most folks.

He covers both sides of the local food equation in his book. He speaks to farmers and customers, and by reading what he says, each side can learn about the other. If customers want to understand local food from a farmer's perspective, they can read what Joel says to the farmers. Ditto for farmers trying to grok how to sell directly to the public, they need to know about customers and so they can read what Joel says to the customers. He tells city people how they can tell if food is farm friendly, what to look for when they visit a farm, what questions to ask. He tells farmers how they should talk to customers, and calls both customers and farmers to a culture of respect for each other.

His writing is very readable, the book is not a long polemic, but rather more like an extended conversation. He tells a lot of funny anecdotes, although some of them are kind of "funny-sad", especially when he talks about some of his interactions with government regulatory agencies. "Folks, I am not making this up." You don't have to be a rocket scientist or an organic chemist to understand what he is saying.

Both farmers and customers need a timely reminder of the importance of what we do, and in that regard this little book could fairly be compared to Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, which as much as anything else laid the philosophical and political foundation for the American Revolution.. Joel lays it all out, he names names, and does not pull any punches. He calls things what they are, he is plain spoken, as perhaps only country people can be. The book is well organized. It covers GMO's, nutrition, health, food safety, cheap food, small versus large, heritage crops, heritage breeds, heritage values, east versus west, globalization, food security, decentralism, bioregionalism, government regulations, "deep food" philosophy.

The book ends with a stirring call to action, and I would like to quote extensively from it. Joel Salatin writes to us:

"Every day you get to nudge our world either toward or away from farm friendly food. Do not go into a guilt-induced depression over the magnitude of the task. Do not be discouraged over its enormity. You are not responsible for fixing it all. I think the central question each of us needs to ask ourselves at the end of the day is this: "Today, which food system advanced because of me -- farm friendly food or industrial food? , , ,

"My goal for each of us would be that we would at least think, at least break stride, before patronizing the industrial fare. When we think about the environment, the plight of plants and animals, the nutrition of our families, we have a responsibility to act in accordance with some moral and ethical discernment. None of us will ever be 100% consistent. We we can aspire to be 50%. Or 60%. Every day thousands of farmers across this land go against their peers, the academic institutions, the farm organizations that receive the media spotlight, and a legion of bureaucrats to produce and process farm friendly food. This food keeps dollars turning in local communities. This food maintains green spaces wthout government programs and expensive taxpayer-purchased development rights or easements. This food maintains clean water and fresh air for all of us to enjoy. This food protects our watersheds, viewscapes, and natural resources."

"Farm friendly food respects the wisdom of the Creator's DNA, honors the information in the mind of an earthworm, and appreciates the beauty of hogs in their rooting heaven. This food values bioregions, social structure, and wildness. It ponders the environmental and moral footprint of every decision, every activity, every marketing model. You, as a food buyer, have the distinct privilege of proactively participating in shaping the world your children will inherit. Will it be a world of soylent green, of cloned cookie-cutter sameness? Or will it be a world resplendent with variety, a veritable panoply of heritage diversity? Will it be a world of rural landscapes shaped by global positioning satellite-steered machines manipulated from a robotic computer console half a continent away? Or will it be a rural landscape blooming with diversity, brimming with dancing children, and blossoming with pasture flowers?"

"You don't need to wait until Congress is in session to impact what you eat for dinner tonight. You don't need to wait until the next Farm Bill to voice your concerns about the USDA budget. You don't need to picket the next World Trade Organization talks in order to affect who wins and loses in this great quest for the global food dollar."

"Right here, right now, you can do something. You can vote with your food dollar. You can go to a farmer's market. You can contact your state's alternative farming association. You can pick a day next week to fix an entire meal from scratch from something local. . . but just like any action, the most critical thing is that you do something. Today. At least this week. . . a whole world, a wonder world, exists outside of Wal Mart. And although it's not a sin to go there, it may be a sin to go frequently."

"If you are a person of conviction, a person of action, you will begin wtih one step, a second step, then a third. New habits are formed one tiny change at a time. A year from now you'll look back and wonder how you ever tolerated that factory fare. . . You'll be emotionally and spiritually uplifted, knowing your food buying has encouraged farm friendly food." . . .

"To all caring food buyers, I honor you. To all farm friendly food producers, I honor you. We must be committed, focused, and persistent if we are to see farm friendly food triumph. It can. It's up to us. Let's keep on keeping on."

Robert Waldrop, Oklahoma Food Cooperative

[...]
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Cow - One Consumer's Transformation, July 8, 2006
This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
This book has transformed the way I look at the food on my family's table. For pretty much my whole life, I had absolutely no problems with "industrial" food products. I trusted them as being safe, somewhat nutritious, and fairly tasty. I didn't make any effort to avoid processed foods - heck, I figured they were actually pretty nutritious with all the vitamins and minerals that were sprayed on them.

When I visited my farming grandparents in Maine (very small family farm closer to Polyface than a monocrop giant), I DID notice how amazingly delicious their simple foods were - potatoes I had dug out of the ground earlier that afternoon, freshly picked peas and corn on the cob, and perhaps some lettuce, tomatoes, other greens, and butter pickles my grandmother had pickled herself. I loved collecting the eggs from their hens, picking chives from their garden, and watching my grandmother can stewed tomatoes from her garden.

However, I took it for granted that times had changed and their way of life was, by necessity, going the way of the ox and cart. In fact, the first time I visited a farmer's market I was taken aback by the prices, which were significantly higher than our grocery store. I completely missed the point of what a farmer's market represented.

This book, however, turned me completely around as far as food is concerned. I was fascinated by Joel Salatin's descriptions of his farming practices versus industrial farming practices. After reading this book, I joined a local CSA and signed up for a local delivery of Polyface meat (lucky me!!) I frequent farmers markets and feel a genuine sense of gratitude towards the people who work their land and sell their crops, thereby giving people like me and my family an alternative to the supermarket chains, at least for part of the year.

But this book resonates beyond the idea of eating locally and supporting farmers (even if it costs more) who farm in a self-sustaining way. It is really a wake-up call for consciousness about everything we take for granted. It is a wake-up call to recognize the choices we make every single day. It is a wake-up call to shake off the sense of apathy and of "what can one person possibly do." We can't do everything, but that doesn't absolve us from the responsibility to do the small things that we can.

A+++ (and his meat and eggs really ARE delicious!)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing the World One Mind at a Time, May 11, 2007
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This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
Joel Salatin is a nut! But from my experience, all visionaries tend to be a bit nutty. I came to reading this book after reading Michael Pollan's, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which is a great book in it's own right, and which dedicates a generous portion of its pages to Joel Salatin and his farm.

Joel Salatin is among the minority of Americans who have a keen insight into just how far this country has gotten off track, and he is dedicating his life to doing whatever he can to get people back on track. I am guessing he is a deeply happy man (if not a tad disturbed), because it shows in his love for the earth and the food it creates with his generous help.

This book will change the way you eat, or if not that, it will at least change the way you think while you stroll the isles at the supermarket, browsing isle after isle of plastic food. It has had a very positive effect on me and my family, and I recommend it to anyone who pauses, even for a moment, to consider the quality of the food that they eat. If you don't waste time on such trivialities, well maybe it is time that you did, for the sake of yourself, your race and the earth. Joel Salatin will help you navigate the territory.

Joel, I could have done without the Christian rhetoric, particularly the anti-abortion sentiment that peppered your book. I understand though ... you don't seem to be able to contain your passions any more than I can mine. We differ on some things, but agree on most. The writing can be a bit tricky in places, leaving me re-reading sentences over a few times, trying to decipher the meaning. But, all in all, this is a great book, and should be required reading for every citizen, non-citizen and illegal immigrant that shares this great country in decline.

I weep for the future, but Joel Salatin provides me with a little ray of hope.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intended to empower food buyers to choose other than from the big industrialized farm system, September 7, 2005
This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
Written by a farmer, Holy Cows & Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide To Farm Friendly Food is intended to empower food buyers to choose other than from the big industrialized farm system. Menus and what's chosen for them is a conscious decision, Joel Salatin maintains: eating in sync with the season rather than choosing imported foods, understanding specialty and diversification in foods, and getting sanity back into food regulations are only a few of the topics addressed in a title designed to return eaters to neighbor-friendly terms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old way of eating Resurrected, March 8, 2007
This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
I like this book as a follow-up to Michael Pollans:"The Omnivores' Dilemma", in which Mr. Pollan visits Polyface Farm. It's good to meet the farm owner via his book, and to read his philosophy of appropriate treatment of animals grown to feed people. His animals lead peaceful, comfortable lives until their last ride. The meat industry has forgotten that these animals are living creatures who feel pain and distress. Thank you Mr. Salatin. Susan Hyson
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Integrity., June 18, 2008
By 
Barbara Holman (Charlottesville, VA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
This book is a natural follow-up to the two Michael Pollan books, "Omnivore's Dillema" and "In Defense of Food." Joel Salatin nails it home with the "how-to's" of putting into practice these new insights about incorporating locally produced clean food into our diets. It's all about accountability and integrity, as practiced by small farm friendly producers and their products, face-to-face with their customers. For those who take for granted that the grocery store is the only place to buy food, try something different. Find a local farmer's market and let your senses carry you away. Bring home a big bag of cleanly produced locally grown vegetables and have a blast. The aromas, textures, and tastes will startle you. The strawberries actually smell and taste like ripe strawberries, sweet (with no sugar added!). Cut into a fresh cucumber and your nose will be surprised! Food does not have to be trucked from 1500 miles away when it grows just down the road and is so much fresher and more nutritious! Without going on and on, you get the picture. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It will inspire you to rediscover your own kitchen and eat at home. It does address some of the politics of small farm producers; but even someone as politic-phobic as myself needs to know what's going on in the world, especially concerning the food on our tables! Happy reading!!
Barbara Holman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Care to Eat Right?, July 6, 2010
This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
This is an excellent book on the concept of farm friendly food. Without much technical information, and with a healthy dose of scientific background (I'm a chemist by training, and I postdocked for the USDA), liberterian politics, and Biblical wisdom, Joel tells why he believes what he believes, what he does (without much detail), and why we should buy and even produce farm friendly foods. One of the best books I've ever read (and I'm a bookworm), this gives me hope for my own food and for my own future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SherriL, November 5, 2007
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This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
This is an Awesome book! It is a must read for anyone who values their own life, the lives of their family and friends/community and last but not least, our future generations and this great world we live in. It affects us all! It is a book that ought to be passed out to anyone and everyone who is involved with food. Enough said...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holy Joel, July 20, 2010
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This review is from: Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (Paperback)
Joel Salatin does what we all promise ourselves that we will do about life, food, and health. Joel has researched things that nagged at his conscience, and has developed a healthful lifestyle that works. He has stepped out on the faith of his convictions, with his brave wife, and has proven some things:
1. Farming is a noble thing, not for those who can do nothing else...he enlightens us on the real intellect required by farming, although we probably suspected it.
2. Food today is a nutritional and economic rip-off. As the big entities take over the business of food production, the small farmer finds himself no longer in the cycle of the seasons. America is using up all kinds of enery to have strawberries in January, and tomatoes without taste . The tail has begun to wag the dog, in food production. The average person is hijacked at the supermarket, forced to buy food grown without accountability. Are we surprised at the empty calories, and the outbreak of foodborne diseases?
3. We need to bravely go back to basics for our food and local farmers. We will bless them, but they will give us back things that are not poisonous, and are grown in plain sight. A decent exchange.
4. We need to be more thoughtful about our land, soil, water, and animals. The focus on growing one thing, from just plums to just pigs, creates a servitude that is not healthy for anything within that cycle---excepting, of course, the big boys, who put the money in their pockets.

This book is a succint explanation of what Salatin is doing so successfully, a review of the government obstructions to it, and an exciting 'new' look at sustainable farming. He is a little arrogant, well educated, and gutsy enough to take on Goliath. I like him, and his honest approach to really knotty problems. I admire his willingness to research, and to share.

If you want a book that will surprise you, and inform you about things you thought you already knew about your neighborhood/state/country, get this one. Then, do what I plan to do. Make some presents of them to your selected family.

Blueridge
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Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food by Joel Salatin (Paperback - February 19, 2005)
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