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Paperback Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front Book

ISBN: 0963810952

ISBN13: 9780963810953

Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front

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Book Overview

Drawing upon 40 years' experience as an ecological farmer and marketer, Joel Salatin explains with humor and passion why Americans do not have the freedom to choose the food they purchase and eat.... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Far from perfect but full of uncommon truths

This book is definitely not for everyone. But, if you are outraged by our food system and the taxes you pay to agribiz for their crappy "food" that's killing us by slow degrees, and also enjoy a good rant by someone who knows whereof he speaks, you'll love it. For the record, I have been vegetarian for two decades, and that in no way diminishes my respect for Salatin or this book. Must we agree with everyone on everything in order to recognize truth when we see it? I stopped eating meat in 1989 when I learned about our factory farming system and didn't want to be part of it...but I have no problem whatsoever with folks who raise their own animals with love and respect and then eat them, or sell them to local friends. Seems natural enough to me, even if it's not my choice. But not to the government, and that's the point of this book. Its many examples of constant gov't intrusion into every part of the food chain lay clear who runs what and why we're in the sad shape we're in, ecologically and nutritionally. It all rings true, whether I agree with each of Salatin's political views or not. The pettiness of some of the reviews here on Am only shows why those trying to fight the moronic system aren't winning: they're too busy fighting each other! Divide and conquer? Why bother? Let us beat each other down! It's working, apparently. Put it this way: if every adult in America read this book and knew about how our food (specifically meat) system is run, there'd be overnight change. Must we agree with all of Salatin's views on everything to give him due credit for fighting his version of the good fight? We will all never agree on everything, nor need we. But we do need to wake up and start helping out our brothers and sisters in logic and reason, not only by buying their food but by helping them spread their version of the truth. Especially if, as here, that truth is backed up by real world experience, written of with passion and humor. That's good enough for me. This goes on my shelf next to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, John Robbins' Diet For A New America, and a bunch of other disturbing but necessary books on where our food really comes from.

A frightening but honest view of our government

Joel Salatin provides an honest, albiet frightening, view of what it is like trying to run a small business in America in 2007. As the owner of a small business for 27 years, as well as a sustainable ag farmer for the past 3 years, I can attest to everything Joel discusses in his book. Other reviews criticize his political leanings, his simplistic libertarianism, his religious beliefs, and his so called "rants", but none of these critics challenges the truth of what he reveals. Those in the front always take the first arrows. This book should scare the hell out of anyone who believes that government is the answer to all of our ills. For those of us who want clean food, those of us who want to produce a wholesome product for us, our families, and our neighbors, and most of all, those of us who just want a choice in our lives, this book is a testament to the need for a revolution against the food industry as well as our big bully government. I borrowed this book from my son, but am so appreciative of the information within, that I will send Joel a check today for the cost of the book.

Artisinal Ag Insight

Finding a more ecological way to farm...smaller and local....closer to the rhythms of of the rules and regulations concocted for big agriculture, is not only a dream, but a worthy and noble dream. We live within an industrialized food system, where the "masses" are fed not only bland and sometimes unhealthy food, but are also fed...for corporate advantage and awful lot of propaganda and half-truth, about one of the most universal human activities...eating. I appreciate that Salatin puts his local agricultural vision of his specific operations in the context of entreprneurship. It's exactly the medicine that's needed, if the movement is to succeed. This alone, makes the book worth reading, and for me, supersedes some areas of strong disagreement. The vision for a new appreciation of the traditional wisdom of in many other areas of accumulated human wisdom, has been largely discarded by the modern world...and the unsustainable modern food juggernaut, in particular. Salatin posits that a wall now divides Americans from a healthier, more sustainable, and more enjoyable food culture. This is his message, and it is a necessary and good one.

Worth every penny

Author Joel Salatin is a "farmer." The word tends to conjure an image of the small farmer of yesteryear ... struggling, hapless, about to be made obsolete by today's industrialized, corporatized agribusiness. Forget that image. Salatin's business model is uniquely American: innovative, quality-driven, free-thinking, and customer-oriented. He has created a loyal local market for his high-quality poultry, beef, and pork, and he accepts no government monies or subsidies. As if that wasn't hard enough, Salatin has had to constantly swim against an overwhelming tide of flawed regulations that discriminate in favor of mega-operations. "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal" tells all about that struggle, and so much more. Salatin asks (and answers) the questions, why are small farmers and local food artisans leaving their heritage behind to work in town? Why do we, as a society, have a larger segment of our population in prison (2.5 %) than working on farms (1.5%)? Why is food quality at a low? And why are regulatory barriers keeping small producers out of the business of food production? And how did we - the constituency, the consumers, the all-powerful "demand" part of the supply-and-demand equation -- ever buy in to the notion that the institutionalization of our food supply is inexorable and must be suffered with stoic cynicism and resignation? And what is there to do about it? The answers to these questions matter, because the ultimate costs of these trends are huge, in terms of food quality, in terms of resource damage, and at many other levels. But the worst damage of all is the loss of whole communities and ways of life ... ways that have worked for centuries. Entrepreneurship - and the freedom to be entrepreneurial - is a huge part of what made this country great, and in the food business, it's in grave danger. A quiet robbery has been happening right under our noses, and the villains and the victims are NOT who we think they are. I have met Salatin and visited his farm, and he is the genuine item. His book is a must-read for everyone who cherishes freedom.


I blew through this book over the weekend and I've found a soul-mate in Joel Salatin. Salatin in an evangelist for the local food movement and we couldn't have a more honest or articulate one. Joel does a heartfelt and beautiful job of explaining how the best intentioned goverment programs to support farming are actually destroying it, and the health and freedom of Americans along with it. It's a manifesto for local food systems. If you are interested in local food and supporting sustainable agriculture, this book should be on your shelf and gifted to those in government and academia who could make a difference but haven't.
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