The book examines food, farming, and life from the perspective of what has been considered historically normal in order to highlight how abnormal our current food, farming, and living arrangements are. Joel values many of the practices that were considered historically normal because they were sustainable, they taught valuable life skills, and they put us in touch with how food arrived on our plate (or should arrive on our plate). He rails against the conditions in Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFO's) where most of our meat comes from, the pesticides and NPK fertilizers used to grow our vegetables; the food police and regulations that thwart farm entrepreneurship, local food systems, and rural economies; how out of touch we are with where our food comes from or how to grow or prepare our own food; and many other bugaboos of modern living. After reading this book, you will probably agree that our industrial food and farming systems are not normal, and if you are sufficiently disturbed by this fact, you might consider joining the fight to bring some normalcy back to our food, farming, and living arrangements. The book offers some ideas on how to do so.
I read Joel's books for several reasons:
He is a successful farm entrepreneur who engages in innovative and sustainable farming practices. There is much for aspiring farmers to learn about business and farming from his books. While he devotes alot of ink to railing against industrial food and farming systems, his writing is also sprinkled with practical nuggets of information about farming. These nuggets come from his own experiences running Polyface farms or the extensive reading he does on farming and food.
I am entertained by his books. He has distinctive writing voice that is part farmer, part philospher, part business person, and part showman.
I am moved by his books. They make me rethink how I acquire the food that I eat and motivate me to want to grow more of my own.
You can watch Salatin's Google talk below if you want to find out more about the book. You can skip the first few minutes - I find he warms up and gets more eloquent and entertaining as the video progresses.
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