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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer
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99 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
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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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2010
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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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
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
on December 2, 2010
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2014
Well, shoot. Now I want to be a farmer. A locally-based, community-imbedded, environmentally-enhancive, nutrient-dense farmer.

I'm shocked, angry, excited and passionate all at once. Reading this book is like taking the blue pill, and I'm walking around now, blinking, with port-holes all over my body and driving around in a very sketchy little spaceship thing, wondering what the heck to do and where to go from here. After offering husband the blue pill, we both swore off globalist, mega-corporate, industrialized food ("concentration-camp food").

Now we are looking for land. I can't believe I just wrote that. You see how powerful this book is? It has completely, 100% changed our lives. We, who know nothing about farming and everything about our modern society, want to live a life of integrity, meaning and purpose in healing our land, creating real food, and making thousands of beings happy.

Thank you, Joel Salatin. We are excited to travel across the country to one day meet your farm. And your Chickeny-chickens, Pigerators and Salad-Bar Beefers. In the meantime... know anybody who has spare land in Northern California?

Buy this book, if you want to change yours and your children's and their children's lives. It's a blue pill, be warned. Very much looking forward to inhaling Joel Salatin's other books as we save up for them. Worthy investment!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
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
on December 7, 2010
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
on September 29, 2014
"The Sheer Ecstacy of being a Lunatic Farmer" by Joel Salatin was a very informing and insightful book. This book brings out the true colors of the industrial food system and how rott the groups that the American government supports that fund CAFOs and pesticidal spraying. In spight of that, Joel Salatin tells how good of a sheer ecstacy feeling he experiences every time he moves a pastured poultry pen or mob the cows onto another salad bar. This sheer ecstacy feeling is revealed in this book by methods that create enviromentally and economically enhancing agriculture enterprises that all farmers should feel every day
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2014
Mr Salatin is a brilliant and inspirational farmer, and a competent writer, but he needs an editor. There were the expected malaprops, some misspellings, and way too much libertarian politics, all of which harm the basic message about farming and food production that is based on respect for the earth, the plants and animals, and the eventual customer. Read it for the real message, and smile at the infelicities of language, and you'll enjoy it. It's a little like a long conversation with your crotchety uncle who is really smart, even wise, but a little overbearing at times.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2011
This is the most enlightening and sensible book I have ever read on this topic! Mr. Salatin gives factual and reasoned and and real-life information based on his experience as a farmer as to why factory farming of animals or plants is unhealthy for the planet, for consumers, for producers, and of course, for the plant or animal being produced en masse. It makes total sense from the environmental, medical, scientific, and humane perspectives. I only wish everyone would read it and demand a return to this type of farming and raising of the food that we eat, because we could heal the planet doing it his way.
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