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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A…
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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (udgave 2011)

af Joel Salatin

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3641169,536 (3.91)3
Farmer Joel Salatin is the 21st century's thinking man's farmer who believes that the answer to rebuilding America is to start with the family farm and for those farms to thrive, we all need to learn how to eat naturally again. Salatin's solutions as presented in the book are very simple and easy to implement in any American household, whether in the suburbs of Chicago, the mountains of Colorado, or urban life in New York City. On topic with today's sustainable living conversation and the entire green movement in general. Americans have embraced green living and are looking for ways to nourish their families with clean, wholesome food.… (mere)
Medlem:bberryhill
Titel:Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
Forfattere:Joel Salatin
Info:Center Street (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:agriculture

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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World af Joel Salatin

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Once again, his cover photo and title fooled me. I sure thought this was going to be all about humanely raising chickens. It's not. The purpose of this book is to "awaken a thirst and hunger for some basic food and farming knowledge before...new age techno-subjects crowds out all of this historically normal knowledge." Salatin may agree with some of the things the left environmentalist agree with, but completely abstaining from meat is not the answer. Although a bit long-winded and even rambling at times, he will open your eyes to what's not so normal about our food system and point out things you can do to get closer to sustainability and normalcy. You'll learn a lot about the food police and the power they have been given over small farming businesses since the industrial age, only to find our food supply and our earth's living soil now in grave danger. Proof that their concern is not so much for the health of the people as it is for their power and paychecks.

The case against CAFO's: (p. 211-212)

They claim we need to feed the world, and this is the way Americans can do that, and do it with efficiency.

The reality is a house of cards waiting to collapse. Since CAFO's are so large, cheap fuel and energy costs are the ONLY way they can continue. As soon as energy costs return to normal again, and they will, it's all over.
1. Cattle are hauled in from all over the states.
2. Manure becomes a hazardous waste, so they fall into slurries through slats which have to then be hauled off farther and farther away, and to California to be used as fertilizer. They still manage to become overwhelmed and spill over and create runoffs that destroy lagoons and even whole communities.
3. As toxicity increases, the transportation necessary to sustain it increases.
4. Grains must be transported from farther and farther away because the region can't grow enough grains to feed the CAFO cattles.
5. Upon slaughtering, the finished product has to be shipped throughout the country and overseas because the region can't consume thatamount of meat.

What we don't see:
The square miles and "miles of land required to produce the grain, and the square miles of land to handle the manure generated by that facility. You don't see the pumps, augers, pipes, trucks, slurry lagoons, slurry spreaders, and trains bringing material in and hauling material out." (p. 212)

He expounds on some things that are NOT normal:

1. Kids spending their summers lounging around inside the house all day, only to expend their energy in the late after hours getting into trouble....whatever that may be...and the starting the process all over again. Being a night owl is not normal for humans. Teens used to be considered an asset, productive members of society. Now, they are considered a liability. Every parent should read the first chapter. I wish I had read this before raising my kids.
2. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge. (p. 39) We are a nation more disconnected with our food and knowledge of where it comes from than ever in history. We scan a credit card, open a plastic bag, and nuke it in a microwave (p. 19).
3. Now, even rural country is eating the same canned and processed, nutrient deficient foods that inner city folks are eating, meaning they are now just as disconnected to food and its source.
4. Not to be prepared for any emergencies is not normal....weather, politics, economics, bioterrorism. Food security is not at the grocery store. It's not in the government. And it's not in the emergency services. It's not sustainable!!
5. UNPLUG! Men spending 20 hours a week on video games or Facebook is not normal. Neither are kids spending hours on end socializing on their phones through Facebook, chat, etc...
6. The amount of plastic and aluminum foil we use daily is not normal. If you have to, then use paper products. At least, that is biodegradable.
7. Long distance distribution now defines our food system...the 1500 miles from field to fork is NOT normal. Only 5% of the foods we consume is actually grown there.
8. The fear of taking risks, trying new innovative, sustainable ideas so much that the government has to make up laws to protect ourselves is NOT normal. We have become a society ruled by fear.
9. Not knowing how to cook in today's high techno-glitz kitchens...not only NOT normal but should be a crime. Historically, the kitchen has alwsys been the hub. Something was always roasting, baking, simmering, rising, etc...Today, even I don't want to be in my kitchen because then I have to do all that damn cleaning too. EXHAUSTING!!
10. Multisyllabic science-speak, unpronounceable lab concoctions on our food labels is NOT normal. (p. 101)
11. Food that does not parish in just a few days is NOT normal.
12. Feeding the soil reconfigured chemicals, such as NPK fertilizers, is NOT normal. As a gardener, or farmer, if you take care of the carbon (brown matter), hydrogen, and oxygen, the NPK (nitrogen, potassium, and ?) will take care of itself.
13. To treat water with such disdain as to make it illegal to even capture it in rain barrels, such as it is in Colorado, is NOT normal.
14. Sprawling corrals of beef lots, pig lots, chicken cages where 1000's upon 1000's are fed corn and soy to quickly fatten them up for the market. This is NOT normal.

I have read articles that have demonized cows as one great cause of greenhouse gases and how they leave behind such a large portion of earth's carbon footprint, polluting the shit out of it, and I believed it. Scientists have now developed "fake" meat that are beginning to sell in fast-food restaurants. They have also learned to grow meat in a lab from cells. But, according to Salatin, the properly grazed cattle restarts the juvenile growth phase in prairie grasses. By "pruning" it, the grasses are stimulated to greater solar activity, photosynthesis activity; otherwise, it becomes dormant and dies, creating CO2. Also, it is being fertilized naturally with their urine and poop. (p. 21) Anti-beefers refuse to differentiate the difference between that of industrial farming and eco-friendly pasture farming. Remember that agendas drive data, not the other way around. (p. 40)

Tillage crop farms, and gardens, is not a sustainable practice. Tilling burns out organic matter because it hyperoxygenates the soil and then isn't able to retain nitrogen. That's one reason the land needs to lay fallow every 7 years, like the Bible also says (Leviticus 25:4- "But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards."), but now more often because of our farming practices of using single GMO crops and the exhorbitant chemicals and synthetic fertilizers used. I wonder why the author doesn't mention this Bible verse or how he incorporates it into his farming practice?

For home gardens, to avoid having to till, mulch beds with grass clippings. That will slowly replenish the soil with nitrogen as it decomposes. This is what Salatin does in his home garden. (p. 21-22) I also have my compost pile that I can use on my gardens.

Job 12:7-8 - "But ask now the beasts, and they will teach you; ask the fowls of the air, and they will tell you: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach you: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto you."

You can learn a lot about the proper way to handle and raise animals, and how the earth restores itself, in turn how you should handle your garden, by watching. Whether a vegetable or animal, the sacrifice of its life is only sacred IF it had a life well lived. (p. 25)

By feeding chickens ALL kitchen scraps, this might eliminate the need for any grains at all, reducing the costs associated with it. If every household did this, "it would reduce the amount of land tilled, which would reduce erosion, which would free up more land to be covered in perennials, which would build soil, and ultimately stimulate springs to flow again" (p. 79) I didn't know chickens could live off of kitchen scraps alone. I could just use their poop from the coop to the compost pile to fertilize my garden beds each season. CLEAN OUT THE COOP!

At the end of every chapter are lists of ideas and things you can do to be a better steward of our earth:
1. Eat bioregionally. Learn to buy and eat in season fruits and vegetables
2. Buy local fruits and vegetables (farmers markets first, then supermarket)
3. Limit processed foods for two reasons:,They are deficient in nutrients and they are excessive in plastic waste.
4. Create and focus on an edible landscape.
5. If gardening, extend your garden season by growing brassicas, carrots, greens, etc...cold weather crops.
6. Build a solarium on south side of house to grow plants.
7. Preserve your own food in season by dehydrating, freezing, canning, pickling, etc....
8. Use recycle grocery bags.
9. Use reuseable tupperware for lunches, snacks for road trips. Instead of purchasing the Keto Snack packs, make your own.
10. Use the short thermos' for soups, hot or cold, potato salad even stays old
11. Turn off the TV or the cell phone (Facebook) and read.
12. Take a fast-food sabbatical.
13. Visit local farms instead of vacation trips.
14. Start a domestic hobby: quilting, knitting, carving, woodworking, repairing anything, etc...
15. Limit your video or Facebook time.
16. Eat more grass-fed beef
17. Learn how to dress game and prepare it.
18. Cook from scratch.
19. Make condiments from scratch: mayonnaise, ketchup, etc...
20. Make breads from non-GMO flours and other ingredients.
21. Prepare hearty soups and bisques often. Freeze some for rainy days.
22. Replace your parakeet with an indoor chicken. They're quieter, you can recycle all your kitchen scraps and get back an egg in return.
23. Get a vermicomposting kit and feed your kitchen scraps in return for nutritious worm fertilizer.
24. Purchase and consume only parishable foods. If not sure, set it out on the counter for a couple of days and if it doesn't change in appearance, taste, odor, or texture, you've just wasted your money on dead stuff. Don't buy it again. Dead stuff (irradiated or what-have-you) doesn't have anything left to give, to create new cells, new flesh, new bones.
25. Compost all things that will rot, and stop filling up landfill with biomass.
26. Reduce your energy use by growing your own food, build a solarium on the south side of the house, entrtain at your own home...no need to go travelling all the time.
27. Capture rain water in barrels for watering plants. All homes should have a cistern to capture rain from gutters coming off the roof.
28. Use grey water for flushing toilets...a great idea but not financially possible for us. Reroute pupes to flush from your large cistern that collects water from roof runoff.
29. Patronize 100% grass-based herbivores: beef, dairy, lamb, bidon, elk, etc...to support soil building practices on earth.
30. Clear unwanted brush, dying & unwanted twisted trees from forests. This allows new saplings to flourish, which produce more oxygen and takes in more carbon than old, dying trees.
31. Add deep bedding (carbonaceous diaper) to chicken coop, pig pens, or barns to sop up and break down animal poop.
32. Do NOT purchase chicken, meat, or pork from animals grown in CAFOs.
33. Look at your expenditures and see what is unnecessary. Add that amount to your organic foods budget.
34. When someone says rmthey can't afford good organic foods, look around their house for alvohol, coffee, tobacco, soda, frozen dinners, snacks, flat screen TV, iPods, tattoos, etc...
35. To help keep small business afloat, shop the under-dog, even if it means paying more.

America's food companies only care about their bottom line. They could care less about your health. It's about taste manipulation, shelf-life, and cheaper products. Period! In fact, in 2010, Obama hired Michael Taylor, a longtime Monsanto attorney who helped bring in the transgenic modigication of seeds, as his food czar...a brand new position inside the government. (p. 342)

The bottom line? Vote with your food dollar because "...with EVERY bite, we are either healing or hurting our neighbors, the soil, and ultimately the world" (p. 91) and our own health. Organic farms are not subsidized financially as the big CAFO farms or farms in the back pockets of bog brother, growing Monsanto seeds. The higher prices for organics reflect the "true" cost of growi g that food and labor costs.

Polyface farm has on their reusable bags: "Healing the Planet One Bite at a Time". I should make a small wooden kitchen sign like this as a reminder. ( )
1 stem MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
Caution: this book is a thought-provoker. If you are not intellectually qualified to discern fact from philosophy and integrate that information into your brain without barfing it out because it challenges conceptions made from incomplete knowledge or pre-existing philosophical leanings, you will likely flounder in this book.

The short of it: this is the story of a small-time, 100% locally based farmer. He gives examples and philosophies from those examples on the hows and whys of modern agriculture--an unhealthy industrial paradigm--and the hows and whys of traditional agriculture--a better capacity for a healthy industrial paradigm. This is not a stereotypical food book of a hippie broadcasting his or her ideals. Joel Salatin does make philosophical statements as he does not take an academic approach to this book (though he does include some statistics), but he grounds the book by his experiences trying to compete in an industry essentially reserved for big companies and his, frankly, ingenious yet pragmatic alternatives.

The long of it: This book has had some negative reviews. There is a reason for this, and you'll see it in personal interactions if you're the sort to ask questions and speculate: most people don't like it when you step on their toes. Most people like things simple. They like to not have to think about non-leisurely things. They don't like to be told to take a step back and ask questions. They don't like to consider something that they took for granted.

Joel Salatin likes to step on toes. He doesn't write with a "my way or the highway" attitude, but he does expect those who pick up the book to contemplate the things we prefer to let others--even strangers--think about and act upon. It's okay. It's a book. It can't kill you. We can only learn if we challenge our existing ideas. There is no requirement to agree with him, but there is a requirement to see things from a different perspective.

Joel Salatin is an old-fashioned farmer: he has poultry, swine, and bovine commercial livestock and grows his own self-sustaining crop garden. Save for the egg mobiles the chickens live in at night, these animals are free ranging. Three-quarters of his property is forest. He and another farmer run a local abattoir (meat-processing facility).

He expresses non-agriculture-related philosophies built from the life he has lived at times that will irk the average reader. (We all have perspective limitations, and his include assuming that all video games are bad and science destroys spirituality, yet simultaneously and he respects what science is capable of as long as it's not tainted by economic influence.)

At such times I wanted to rate this book a two or a three. However, rest assured this man has the inside story on the hows and whys of the small-time farmer failing in our modern culture and how we can be far more ecologically and economically more responsible. His insights are no-nonsense and his "alternative" ideas are so common sense you want to cry for the human stupidity (or laziness) that led our society to live in a non-responsible manner. This information is so valuable I wish everyone, consumers and workers in the industry, would read and openly consider. If anything, the advice in this book is built on experience, not the hippie idealism that most books in this genre follow without considering the pros and cons of their philosophy and others. ( )
  leah_markum | Oct 28, 2022 |
Oh, Joel Salatin, you fascinating curmudgeon. If the mild and joyful farmer’s memoirs leave you wanting more, jump into the thick of the agribusiness food debate with Joel. He’s challenging, interesting, and highly opinionated. I can almost guarantee that something in this book will tick you off, but some other part will almost certainly prove totally compelling. You may not agree with him, but he’ll certainly give you plenty to think about. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
I love Joel Salatin. He is a crazy libertarian organic farmer in Virginia. I have his EVERYTHING I WANT TO DO IS ILLEGAL; and I've read his YOU CAN FARM. The latter is his attempt to inspire and instruct young people considering embarking on a life of farming. I loved it, even though there is no way I am ever going to become a farmer.

Here, Salatin rants about how far we have gotten away from "normal" (hence the title) with our industrial food system. He ends each chapter with positive suggestions, some more realistic than others, for taking individual action to end the insanity and start doing something normal again - growing a tomato plant, keeping chickens as pets, etc.

This totally resonated with me. The crazy thing I've always thought about books along the lines of "My Year of Growing All My Own Food" and such, is that they treat what used to be normal as a miracle - indeed, case in point, the title of Barbara Kingsolver's ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE. What we think is fodder for an entire book used to just be LIFE. Of course your grew your own food. People of 200 years ago would be might puzzled that anyone would want to read or write a book about it.

It's NORMAL. Salatin uses the word "birthright" in this book; it was actually in reference to hunting, but I like to think of it in relation to the whole shebang of agriculture and enjoying nature. It's our BIRTHRIGHT.

The book is repetitive and ranty, not exactly a masterpiece of literature, but it has been so inspiring to me, I go with 5 stars. I'm inspired to actually double down on my local food intake. I'm researching local grain and upgrading my dairy; I'm using more butter in place of vegetable oils (big sacrifice there, not); just putting a lot more thought into it. And I wasn't exactly unconscious to begin with.

Salatin even ends the book by confiding in us an experience where he actually broke down in tears as he was about to leave his homestead for a month or two, a very long stretch of traveling for him. He had to stop the car and cry before he had even left the lane leading to his house. I'm touched, I really am.

And although I no longer identify as libertarian - and was not interested in the rants against the government which at times lurked just below surface, and at other times reared their ugly heads - I have to say simply that there's something refreshing in reading arguments for organic, back-to-the-land living coming from a place other than basic hippie liberal. It's just different and enlightening and proves that these things don't have to be "polarized." Everyone benefits from better food. It's ridiculous that this should be a politically one-sided issue - like climate change. ( )
  Tytania | Sep 6, 2019 |
Joel Salatin is a farmer, public speaker, and author of several popular books on subjects of agriculture, food, and the food industry. Like his earlier book, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, his writing is informal and entertaining, but also informative.
He is critical of many of today's trends without being overly preachy or ascetic:

“The abnormality is not so much that people want a quick to eat. The abnormality is the percentage of quick meals, the narrow variety of content, and the consistency demanded by today's fast food chains and how these protocols deny local supply.”

and,

“Reducing spoilage through fermentation, vacuum sealing, drying, or freezing is both normal and ancient. What is new is food marketed as edible that will not rot at all in its consumable state. … If in doubt about your food, set it out for a few days and see if it will grow mold.”

The book has 18 unnumbered chapters with titles such as: “A Cat Is a Cow Is a Chicken Is My Aunt”. Most chapters actually address a serious subject, for instance: recycling/waste reduction (chapter 4), composting and organic recycling (chapter 10), energy (chapter 11), housing (chapter 12) and water (chapter 13). Each chapter ends with 3 to 5 suggestions of things the reader might try in order to be personally engaged in the issue. These suggestions also reinforce the main message of the chapter.

I can't always agree with his opinions; for instance chapter 17 is a “rant” against the inheritance tax. He would like to see it abolished. His arguments against the tax as it is applied to farms make sense. But that shouldn't require eliminating the tax altogether. Salatin has frequently pointed out that government regulations, intended to ensure the safety of large-scale industrial agricultural, are unnecessary and harmful to small family farms. The same thinking ought to apply to inheritance tax: it probably serves a purpose in other situations – just not when a family farm is being transmitted generation-to-generation. Also, I question his reasons for extensively quoting Benjamin Franklin (chapter 17, “You Get What You Pay For”). It is interesting, however, Franklin wrote before the great rural-to-urban population shift, and might have said something different if living today. (I still enjoyed reading Franklin's opinions, and would like to know the specific source of the quotes.)
I recommend this book, because Salatin always makes me think, even if I don't always agree with him. ( )
  dougb56586 | Aug 27, 2019 |
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Farmer Joel Salatin is the 21st century's thinking man's farmer who believes that the answer to rebuilding America is to start with the family farm and for those farms to thrive, we all need to learn how to eat naturally again. Salatin's solutions as presented in the book are very simple and easy to implement in any American household, whether in the suburbs of Chicago, the mountains of Colorado, or urban life in New York City. On topic with today's sustainable living conversation and the entire green movement in general. Americans have embraced green living and are looking for ways to nourish their families with clean, wholesome food.

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