Saturday, August 13, 2011

Opening Sentence of the Day: Everything I Want to do is Illegal

"But is it legal?" . . . . is by far and away the most common question I am asked after doing a workshop on local food systems and profitable farming principles.
-- Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin. 

Joel Salatin is the owner of Polyface Farms, "the farm of many faces," in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.  He was featured in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and stole the show as the big-hatted farmer in Farmageddon.

Salatin is quite a character.  He describes himself as a "Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist" and pulls no punches when explaining his views on how farming should be done and people fed.

He's also a good writer with a sense of humor and a big heart.  The book is a pleasure to read even while it gets your blood boiling over the petty tyrannies of government agencies doing their best to thwart small farmers and other agricultural entrepreneurs.


Food Freedom is on Facebook and twitter. Click on the chicken for more information.

This counts as one of my books for the Foodie's Reading Challenge, hosted by Margot at Joyfully Retired.


  1. legal? what sorts of things are these people looking to do on their farms?

  2. Cure bacon, hire teen-agers, sell raw milk, sell a neighbor's pumpkins, transport their chickens across state lines, build a house smaller than 900 feet -- you know, all the really dangerous stuff. ;-)

  3. Ha! I love the title...and I hadn't heard of this one before. I'm adding it to the ever-growing list!! ;)

  4. I'm not familiar with Joel Salatin (or "Farmaggedon"). I'm sharing this title with my sister who I think would really enjoy the book -- well, she'd get worked up about how ridiculous (and counter-productive) so many of the laws and guidelines are!

  5. Reminds me of the French and their anger that the EU doesn't allow a lot of the old ways of making cheese. From one book I read, they are doing it anyway. We've been drinking raw milk for almost forty years. It is the best. My kids never drank anything else in their childhoods and were rarely sick. None of the common ear infections, etc.

  6. That opening sentence caught my attention. I bet there some unpasteurized dairy products -- a hugely controversial issue.

  7. This seems like a perfect read for me-I love to learn all about the horrible things our gov't does to thwart small farms, farmers and in turn small farming communities all across the my Midwest!

    Thanks for highlighting this interesting author/activist.

  8. girlichef: I know what you mean -- my list of food books grows and grows!

    Dawn: Sounds like your sister would really like this book!

    Nan: I'd love to know the name of the French cheese book. I read Au Revoir to All That about the demise of food traditions in France, but he painted a pretty bleak outlook for real cheese.

    Beth: Raw milk is definitely a hot issue. I thought there would be more about that in this book, but there isn't. He sells beef, pork, chicken and eggs, but not milk.

    Peaceful Reader: He has some very interesting ideas. And some very good arguments for why small farms should not have to live by the same rules as huge, industrial agriculture. It's fascinating stuff.

  9. Oh, I want to check this book out. We own a small herb business and I can relate to the insane "illegal" things. When we first started our business we were shocked to see all the "can't do's".

  10. Ontario,Canada has some odd rules as well that only favour the huge industrial food producers. Thanks for sharing this title.


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