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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World Paperback – October 9, 2012
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"In his new book, Folks, This Ain't Normal, the 54-year-old famer-philosopher emerges as a true American throwback: an agrarian libertarian who wants both Food Inc. and Big Government out of his fields...It's about better food, yes, but what Salatin is really calling for is responsibility: a declaration of independence from corporations and bureaucracy. He wants us to be full citizens of the food system, like the Jeffersonian citizen-farmers who founded the country."―Time magazine
"Joel Salatin might seem like a vision of our agrarian past, but in fact, he's distinctly modern, looking beyond the conventional toward a new "normal" based on community, ecology, and flavor, too. Salatin's book is as practical as it is reflective; as necessary as it is radical."―Dan Barber, Chef/Co-Owner, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
"Joel Salatin is a down-to-earth 21st century pioneer, one of those rare contrarian thinkers whose words and work have the power to transform the way a generation thinks. 'Folks This Ain't Normal' will help seed the new nature movement and inspire people everywhere -- especially young people in need of some practical hope. And here's the bonus: The book is great fun to read. Sacred cows beware."―Richard Louv, author of "The Nature Principle" and "Last Child in the Woods"
"In Folks, This Ain't Normal, Joel Salatin says it's high time we stopped taking our industrialized food system as a given and instead consider local, sustainable food production as the norm. Good plan. Whether or not you agree with his contention that we would be better off if the government got out of food regulation, his ideas are compellingly written, fun to read, and well worth pondering."―Marion Nestle, Dept. of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, NYU, and author, Food Politics
"Chances are slim you'll agree with everything in this wonderfully cranky book. But I'm almost certain you'll agree that Joel Salatin has earned the right to his convictions, and that they shine a powerful light on some of the paths out of the predicament we find ourselves in as a world."―Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"Joel...is one of the most creative, productive and sustainable farmers working in America today...His message is that we eaters can change the world, one meal at a time."―Michael Pollan, in the introduction to Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food
About the Author
JOEL SALATIN is a third generation family farmer working his land in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley with mother, Lucille, wife, Teresa, daughter, Rachel, son, Daniel, daughter-in-law, Sheri, grandsons, Travis and Andrew, and granddaughter, Lauryn, along with a cadre of employees, subcontractors, apprentices, and interns.
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The cover was attractive in a sense that.. it made you go "What?"
And that's what got me... I don't even know really how I ended up reading this book. But I'm glad I did.
I kind of want to get a couple of chickens if for nothing else, excellent pest control.
Joel Salatin is too much of a character..just isn't normal! (I bet he's an alien #HumorTag )
Joel's book, Folks, This Ain't Normal is a labor of love by a man who is a voice crying out in the wilderness in our perverse culture where people live longer but live worse. As a farmer he chastises the farm industry. As a Christian he chastises fellow believers for our general uncaring attitude toward the environment. No one gets a free pass but none of his criticism is unwarranted and none of it is given in a vacuum.
Folks, This Ain't Normal is chock full of common sense (an uncommon virtue today) sprinkled with pretty savvy writing. Don't let the big glasses, suspenders and "aw shucks" mannerism fool you, Joel is a very bright guy and is not only bright but someone who sees through the garbage peddled to us by those who decide what is healthy for us in the belief that we are too dumb to think for ourselves. The basic message of the book is that as a culture we have completely lost control of our food supply in a historically unthinkable way. We all know people who think that meat magically appears on shrink wrapped foam platters in the store or that milk doesn't actually come from a cow. Joel is simply calling on people to get involved in one of the most basic functions of human life, namely eating. In a country with epidemic levels of diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and all other sorts of food related maladies, shouldn't we start wondering why we are living longer but living sicker? Joel looks at the ridiculous regulations, the growing threat of the armed food police, the efforts to monopolize food production, the historical reality of food production vs the modern industrialization of this most basic need. On and on, each chapter is valuable and engaging. Not one chapter had me yawning or wishing it would just end.
Although he goes to great lengths to encourage those who are just explaining that anything you can do helps, including a series of practical tips to put into place at the end of each chapter, you can feel overwhelmed. How can the average Joe who lives in a quarter of an acre in a suburb with association rules do anything to take control of his diet? I am not sure there is a solution to this but those who feel that way might try rereading the book and focusing on the places where Joel encourages the little steps that combined make a big difference. While I can see where some people might brush this off as pie in the sky utopian thinking, I found it to be absolutely reasonable. We might not all have a family farm large enough to sustain multiple generations but we all can do something to take control of our diet.
There are few books I recommend quite as unreservedly as this one. I am sure a lot of people don't like this message, many who would agree with me on most issues but who, thanks to the unquestioning allegiance to corporatism in what passes for conservatism in America, see a guy like Joel as a rabble-rouser and dangerous. Nevertheless there is a critical need for people to think seriously about issues of liberty and if the government can tell you what you can or cannot eat, there is really no limit to its power. The place I have arrived in my thinking on issues of liberty and freedom mesh quite nicely with the message of Folks, This Ain't Normal and we are already taking some of the steps outlined in this book. Are we even 5% of the way there? Not at all but each day we get closer as we raise our own hogs for meat, chickens for eggs and a cow for milk, as we plant a sizable garden and as we try to eliminate the worst offenders in our diet. We have a long way to go but Folks, This Ain't Normal has been an important wake up call for me and one that a lot of people need to hear. Get this book, read it and prepare to be challenged!
You may not agree with everyone of Joel's points of view but you will certainly enjoy reading this to the end.
Not just informative but also very entertaining. Looking forward to reading another of his books.
Additionally, the book contains some profound spiritual philosophy, which ties stewardship of the land and livestock to connection to the divine order of things. What better to get people in touch with God, than to get closer to his creation -- and to learn how to help it along, rather than fighting it?