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The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer Paperback – September 8, 2010


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The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer + You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise + Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Polyface; 8.9.2010 edition (September 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963810960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963810960
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,344 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.




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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Do read it, please.
Cloud
If you have read You Can Farm or Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, you will be able to complete his thoughts without reading to the end of the paragraph.
Lily Bear the Brown Lab
Joel Salatin is a great teacher and example of Sustainable Farming.
nancy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Lily Bear the Brown Lab on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll get the negatives out of the way up front. First, this is basically a re-write of earlier works. The same themes, the same stories, the same references, appear over and over again in Salatin's work. He's sort of like your crazy uncle who tells the same stories every Christmas. If you have read You Can Farm or Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, you will be able to complete his thoughts without reading to the end of the paragraph. Second, he needs a decent proofreader. There are an annoying number of typos of the sort that spell check doesn't catch. Third, he ends every chapter with the same sentence... a silly and irritating device. Finally, there's a ton of white space, blank pages between chapters, etc. Delete those pages and all of the stories we've heard in other books and this would be a 50-page pamphlet.

Should you read this? Despite the complaints, my answer is yes. It's the kind of message that you can't hear too often. Salatin gets under your skin. You really feel like his crusade should be your crusade. You start thinking of things that you can do to defeat Monsanto, CAFOs, industrial corn, and the rest. Your list of acceptable restaurants dwindles. Your shopping habits change dramatically. You see the countryside with new eyes when you go on car trips. You sneer (moderately) when you see a weedy field with a few cows and no electric fencing. You get hungry.

Buy the book, read it, and then pass it on to a friend. You'll be glad you did.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Anderson on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a library patron. But I bought this book because I couldn't stand the thought of the 1 - 2 year wait until it would likely be available. And, I'm glad I did. I notice another reviewer had some of the same critiques I did, startling number of typos (startling in that Mr. Salatin rightly promotes professionalism and attention to detail) and repetition from earlier works. None-the-less, I delighted in all of it. I think it would be an excellent work to recommend to those you'd like to expose to this way of life and think you've likely only got one shot to make a case. But to that end, I wish this work, like his others, had the suggested reading section at the end. Such a list was, after all, how I found Joel Salatin in the first place.

Will you like this book? If you're of the Gene Logsdon, Wendell Berry, Eliot Coleman persuasion - or want to be - then you'll love it and should go ahead and get it.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kelly W on October 26, 2010
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Joel Salatin never fails to make me think deeply about the status quo. Polyface Farms books are always incredible, but in this one Salatin presents an intelligent and spiritual commentary on his life's work. Lunatic Farmer is an easy read, packed full of amazing bits of agricultural teachings and personal wisdom. His ideas about stewardship are sensible and inspiring. Each chapter contains detailed information about Polyface practices, yet the writing is clear and entertaining. Although the theme is profound, you'll be laughing every few pages for sure. If everyone who considers themselves an animal rights advocate (or environmentalist) reads this book, there just might be an agricultural revolution! At the very least, we could experience a much needed awakening about what's really happening to our landscape and our society.

"You can tell the greatness of a nation by the way it treats its animals" M. Ghandi
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By fin on December 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
So first off, I like Joel Salitin and what he does. this book however seems to be more about proving to all his neighbors that he and his dad were right all along to not be using chemical inputs and bad grazing management practices. they were right of course, but I know that already. Joel is very knowledgeable about a lot of farming and ecological matters and his skill at matching his farm practices to the cycles of nature is truly great. however, the narrative is smug and self serving with a terminal dose of "i told you so". Happy as I am that the world has come to regard Joels farming practices as sensible, a book describing them in detail with reference to why they work better than traditional methods would have been a much better read. rather than being informed about how Joel farms, the reader is informed on how right Joel is...

I would recommend reading Michael Pollan for the Polyface Farms story. he's a much better writer and there's really not that much more info in this book, unless you are really interested in how right Joel Salitin is and how often he proves it to his neighbors and the government.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frustrated on November 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is Salatin at his best! If you've never read a book by him, this is the place to start! Not just for farmers, his uncanny logic and huge heart and energy has us wishing for the day that all farms can be like this, I encumbered by stifling government regs. His food ends up being safer, cleaner, and tastier than all supermarket fare, and is an example all farmers should emulate!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kris on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was a great read. If you are interested in the difference between farming that heal the land, and farming that destroys it, this book will open your eyes. But the focus is still on the positive, not the negative. Another great book from Joel Salatin. Read them all!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Derek Stone on August 26, 2013
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Mr. Salatin does an excellent job conveying both the tremendous advantage 'properly' raised food has over conventional agribusiness, as well as thoroughly explaining what is wrong with each step of the system. Whether you are interested in gardening, livestock, or any combination of the two, Joel does a phenomenal job of engaging you.

This isn't a book that is written for a specific audience, it is penned broad enough that anyone from any walk of life will enjoy, and learn much from.
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