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.