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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Folks, this ain't normal" - Book Review

I first saw Joel Salatin in the latter half of the eye opening documentary called Food Inc.  He was taking chickens in for processing - killing them one at a time and then plucking and packaging them outdoors in the fresh air of his small farm.  Big Agra / Food sees his method, one that's been used for millennia, as 'unclean', and their method in a secretive, filthy industrialized feedlot as 'safe'.  Folks, this ain't normal.

Situation #1) Monsanto grows a GMO (genetically modified organisms) crop, and the GMO crop blows its seeds onto your property.  Monsanto sues YOU for patent infringement - and wins.  This is normal (and true).

Situation #2) A food sickness outbreak is traced to a factory egg farm.  The Food Industrial Complex, combined with its enforcement arm (USDA / FDA) decide that chlorine will sterilize the eggs and kill the bacteria, therefore USDA approved eggs must be bathed in chlorine.  The American Public now sees USDA chlorine soaked eggs as 'safe' and non USDA approved eggs as 'unsafe'.  This is normal.

Situation #3)  Joel Salatin makes quiche, and it is very popular and people want to buy it from him - by choice, uncoerced.  Government regulations state that if he wishes to sell quiche, he has to build a commercial kitchen ($50,000) on his property and have it inspected regularly.  However, if he wishes to give it away to people, church groups, schools - neither the kitchen nor regulations are necessary.  This, too, is considered normal.

Folks, this ain't normal is a look at our warped society through the lens of a man who runs a small family farm.  He speaks about our country in general, but focuses on the food system and explains, in great detail, how the Big Industrialized Food Giants, aided and abetted by the Federal Government have destroyed the legitimacy and value of our national diet, and to some degree, culture.

Salatin's book is a treatise on how government regulations hurt small and midsize organic farms.  Through personal examples and painstaking explanations, Salatin shows how the regulations imposed on farmers are really about limiting market access for small and midsize farms, and increasing market share for the large food corporations.  Under the aegis of 'protecting the consumer', the enforcement arms of the large food companies, the USDA and the FDA work hand in glove with lobbyists and create rules and regulations that small players cannot afford.

Salatin's book will educate you about how the farm system works, how things used to be done, and how much of our modern system has become horribly abnormal.  The USDA approval process has become a boon to the large corporate players - at the expense of the small organic farmers and the health of the American public.  Salatin craves for a more educated, connected population with regard to their farms and their food.  Here Salatin sounds naive - even though he is a worldly and versatile man.  He doesn't seem to understand that the average American (HL Mencken called them the booboisie) believes what he is told.  If something is USDA approved - it is safe.  If something is not approved - it is unsafe.  Our government regulators are looking out for our best interests and are fighting the good fight - I know people who actually think this.  Salatin requests that people research who runs these government regulators - a ridiculous task for most indoctrinated Americans who have spent at least 12 years in the Church of the Religion of Government.  Basically, Big Food and Government Regulations are not helping you.

Folks, this ain't normal, combined with Food Inc. and Food Matters have changed the way my family and I eat.  It is imminently readable, filled with interesting history and independent ideas for solving the problems we have in the United States today.  His solutions are clear, common sensical and place the power over your life and health in your hands.  If I believed in required reading, this book would be on the list.

Helpful links:  The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

The Cornucopia Institute.








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