Food Series: Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal – The War on Meat, Part III with Joel Salatin

"The most accountable food system occurs when neighbors contract with neighbors. Friendship commerce, or what I call relationship marketing, is certainly higher moral ground than barcoded transactions between distrusting consumers and conglomerates carrying liability insurance war chests." ~ Joel Salatin, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal

By Pete Kennedy

Joel Salatin is the longtime face of the local food movement, featured in the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and in films such as Food, Inc., Fresh, and American Meat. The Salatin family farm, Polyface, is a destination stop each year for thousands of patrons of regenerative farming and high-quality food. Joel Salatin is also a walking history of meat regulation in this country before and since the implementation of the 1967 Wholesome Meat Act (WMA), a disastrous law that led to the shutdown of small-scale abattoirs in communities around the U.S. and the formation of oligopolies in the beef and pork industries.

As a teenager, Joel sold value-added meat products at a curb market in Staunton, Virginia. He had processed the meat without inspection or regulation, a practice that, at one time, was legal in much of the country. Once the WMA went into effect, that kind of activity became illegal despite the fact that there were few illnesses attributed to this type of commerce.

As a farmer raising meat animals for nearly 40 years and a co-owner of a USDA slaughter and processing facility, Joel has seen the damage the WMA and subsequent laws have done to regenerative livestock farms and small-scale meat processing. Joel joins the Food Series to talk about the changes and the regulatory obstacles he has had to contend with in his career, as well as solutions to rebuild our slaughterhouse infrastructure, meet the growing demand for locally produced meat, and help small farms thrive.

For Let’s Go to the Movies, I recommend Polyfaces: A World of Many Choices, a film about the Salatin family farm located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Polyfaces is about reconnecting to the land and the community. Produced over four years, the film follows the Salatins, a fourth-generation farming family that does “everything different to everyone else,” as they produce food in a way that works with nature, not against it.

Polyfaces English
Polyfaces English

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Related Solari Reports

Joel Salatin was our Hero of the Week on July 4, 2019.

Joel Salatin in Santa Barbara

Pathways to Relocalization: A four-part video series on finding real solutions to the problems of our civilization. How to rebuild local communities and transform commerce? By staying connected to nature, our neighbors, and the larger world while reducing our energy needs and eating more nourishing food.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 
Part 4

Related Links

Book Review of Joel Salatin’s latest book, Polyface Designs

Joel Salatin’s blog — The Lunatic Farmer

Books by Joel Salatin
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
Polyface Designs
You Can Farm 
Folks, This Ain’t Normal 
The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven

Sources for Grassfed Meat

Polyface online store where you can buy grass-fed beef, pastured pork, poultry, and other nutrient-dense foods that can be shipped anywhere in the U.S.

Other Resources

Polyface website
The Stockman Grass Farmer
Rogue Food Conference