I was thrilled when I heard about Joel Salatin’s new book, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal. I think I was foaming at the mouth at the thought of getting my hands on it and yes, it is everything I hoped for. It is an honest look at how our freedom to participate in traditional food growing and purchasing has been taken away. Every year the government tightens the noose and forces the American farmer to industrialize and centralize his or her operation and they force the consumers to purchase food products that fall within the realm of their total and complete control. We have little freedom to make our own food choices anymore and MANY people don’t even know it.
I first learned about Joel Salatin and his farm in Virginia called Polyface farms in Michael Pollan’s book Omnivore’s Dilemma (read my review). Pollan was prompted to write about Salatin when the latter refused to ship T-Bones steaks toNew York. It went against Salatin’s approach to an efficient food system which included eating locally. This got Pollan’s attention and he decided to visit Polyface farms and write many chapters about the farm and the farmer in his runaway best seller. The book launched Polyface into the spotlight as the epitome of the nations’ ecological farms.
Although the book did brush upon Salatin’s struggles against government agencies and bureaucrats, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal provides us with a detailed look and it is frankly quite shocking. It furthered my own unpopular opinion that the great old US of A is heading towards a closed democracy. Our food is one of the foundations of our culture and our freedom and it is assaulted daily by a government who feels we cannot possibly make healthy or responsible food choices without them. The irony is that the food deemed acceptable by government is really the LAST thing we should be eating. I touched on this in my post about why I think our government wants to make us and keep us sick. If we value freedom and health we must do one very important thing…withhold our cooperation with the tyrannical and intrusive government food system. As mentioned in the Forward section of the book, Ghandi once said:
How can a few thousand Brits control millions unless we comply? We now propose to withhold compliance!
These words need to invigorate us to fight for our freedoms that are being taken away even as we speak. This issue is just too important to ignore and reading this book will help you to understand that. Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal I is quite simply one of the most important books I have ever read.
The introduction contains an essay by Salatin that he published in Acres USA. The essay had the same title as the book and he came upon the title when he was invited to London to participate in a panel discussion about the pressing needs of a heritage based food system. One by one participants at the 30 person table highlighted what they perceived to be the biggest impediment facing our food system. Some talked about the trafficking of cheap organic food, another mention labor issues, and so on. When it came time for Salatin to speak he blurted out “Everything I want to do is illegal!” It is funny how such a simple sentence sums it up.
Read part two of this book discussion.