Joel Salatin: The Pursuit Of Food Freedom

Sustainable farming activist Joel Salatin and author of Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal returns this week to talk about the importance of a basic human right: to choose what to eat.

In past podcasts, he's described the challenges facing farmers who want to grow organically. This week, he sheds light on the additional challenges consumers face in getting access to quality produce and meats.

The bottom line is our industrial system (or, as Joel puts it, the "fraternity") seeks to protect itself and its existing revenue streams. Research is commissioned to discredit the claimed benefits of organic farming. FDA nutrition guidelines favor the mono-crops grown by factory farms, despite mounting evidence these guidelines are not in the public health's interest. Pesticides and herbicides are used in ever-greater amounts. Distribution infrastructure doesn't enable small-scale delivery trucks (which most organic farms use) to plug into it. For those not living in an area concentrated with small farms, being able to identify and purchase healthy food options is difficult.

Joel recommends we elevate "food freedom" to the same status as we demand for other core personal liberties like public safety and legal equality:

We need to celebrate and energize the public to defend the freedom to acquire the food of our choice from the source of our choice. This whole orthodoxy thing we've been talking about is militating right now against being able to choose for ourselves the kind of fuel we want for our own bodies. I look at this whole food freedom effort as rectifying something that was missed in the Bill of Rights. We've got the right to own a gun, the right to assemble, the right to worship, the right to speak, the right to be secure in our persons without a search warrant. There are all sorts of wonderful rights. But we did not get the right to choose our food. 

Those inspired by this call to action may want to consider attending this year's Food Freedom Fest, put on by Joel's Polyface Farm and the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which takes place in Shanandoah Valley, Virginia August 14-16th.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Joel Salatin (59m:58s)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This was a terrible podcast.
We need more government regulation of food written by big Ag lobbyists, not less.  It's the only way to stay safe from bacteria.

We shouldn't be allowed to consume anything dangerous,which is why I'm so glad that the FDA undertook armed raids of nefarious Amish raw milk rings.  If it weren't for the FDA, we might be exposed to dangerous diseases teeming in un-pasteurized and unprocessed dairy products.

Luckily, the foods that the FDA approves are all so unnatural and refined that few living things will eat them.  Maybe that's why ants will eat butter but not margarine.  

That's why I'm sticking with the majority by supporting our sterilized industrial food systems.  It's the safest place to be:

my mare is settled and we don't need the … we should ALL do due diligence

Sustainable and healthy - stop feeding crops, including grass, to animals.  Stop eating animals and associated products no matter how raised.
The scientific literature on the 15 leading causes of death and how to prevent them covered in one hour:

Without your health,  "prepping" will be for naught.

Hugh, you must be joking, this was a great podcast.  The picture you posted was of hundreds if not a thousand chickens being tortured.  Of course we have to have processed and pasteurized food when the conditions they are raised in are cruel, filthy, and unconscionable. Is the majority of the human species so inept that we can not decide for ourselves whether we want to drink un-pasteurized milk, be immunized or wear a helmet.  Here is a novel idea, have the cows tested and if they are disease free they could be certified as "raw milk certified" instead we make criminals out of people who do what our ancestors have done for 1000 years.  Insanity reigns supreme!
And the last time I made muffins I didn't add any FDA approved ingredients like, MSG, phosphates, nitrites, glycols', or a plethora of other ingredients I can't pronounce.  My muffins are a whole lot healthier than anything the FDA is promoting as healthy.  Just read the labels on processed foods.  

As a matter of fact I would love to hear more from Mr. Salatin and hope you have him back!

AK GrannyWGrit

AK GrannyWGrit, HughK was joking.
HughK, when I do something that outrageously sarcastic, I usually close with the html tag </sarc>. 

When written at the end of a comment, "/sarc" indicates that the writer has been in "sarcastic mode," informing the readers not to take the comment seriously. The term is a parody of HTML codes, in which one exits a text format by putting a slash in front of the style type. Thus, to stop text from being bold, one would code "/b"; so (humorously) to exit a comment that has been sarcastic, one writes "/sarc." - The Urban Dictionary

HughK was channeling the late MillionDollarBonus of ZH fame.  Got a good laugh from that one wink.  Better without the /sarc tag.

Excellent podcast. I have been reading Joel Salatin's books for years now and he is always pointing out the way forward with grace and humor. It is very hard to overcome our culture's false stereotype that farmers are just dirt poor and uneducated people who suffer terribly from all that hard digging around in wallows of animal manure. Most people consider that a life sitting in front of a computer screen is better than a life in the outdoors with all those nasty bugs and other scary things. Joel is living proof that nature based farming is a life of joy and health. And physical labor is a holistic and noble act of building the world back to it's right purpose of accepting the gifts of Mother Earth that are given to us for the taking - all we have to do is work in concert with her. Thanks, Joel and keep up the good work. A lot of us out here are quietly doing what you are recommending and you are making a huge difference. 

Especially when competition is fierce and revenues shrinking… keep your market share by all means…  
Declare breast feeding illegal to save babies. Could this be the next step?

What about this scenario:

  • Purchase a bottle of PASTEURIZED milk.
  • Pay with cash (Preferably use very old notes… the kind of globe-trotter notes… with a good dirt thickness)
  • Sneeze in my bare hands.
  • Rub them on the weekend pants to wipe them (See important note below)
  • Scratch the buttocks (Everyone understands, sometimes, it is simply untenable. it must be done)
  • Open the bottle of PASTEURIZED milk.
  • Pour a glass of PASTEURIZED milk (Stop! was the glass neat? ah too late… this is now enriched milk)
  • Catch the last drop with a finger
  • Lick the finger (Well, who wants to lose this drop?)
  • Et voila! Bye-bye pasteurization!

Nothing replaces common sense and a bit of hygiene.

Important note: Where I live, there are farmers. They spend 5 days a week in dirt and the last two days they are all clean and well dressed. Me, I spend 5 days in a sterilized office and the last two days in my weekend pants doing all sorts of things: gardening, fixing engines, cleaning, etc… I was referring to this brave pants… 

Eeeck.  For a split second I read this as "the world needs more Joe Stalin's".  Careful what you wish for.

I just got paid €6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over €9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,…

  1.  My question is: what happens when they pull the plug, Joel or charging a bit tax?

  2.  If Greece is any indication, gas stations there are only accepting cash. Nobody is going to have access to more than 60 Euros a day. Greece is at 175% of GDP - Italy is at 130% - the U.S. ???

  3.  Is mandatory rationing water in California a new consumption tax? Why does this all sound so familiar.

I'm supplied REALLY local: my own chicken coop!

I can not thank you enough for the ag centered podcasts of late.  I finally got the chance to listen to this one today, as I was out in the garden working.  It was great weeding my Kale, Onions, Corn, and Sunflowers while listening to someone who is "out there" with respect to the right way to grow veggies.
As far as connections go…I continue to stress with those who might have the right mindset about prepping and resilience that just having a garden or trying to profit/work the land one owns is such a smart thing to do.  If the worst case scenario unfolds and there is an oil disruption/the monetary system collapse/ the power is out for a while/etc…just having control over where your food comes from is…just…smart…

And doing it the RIGHT way allows for a better world in the process.

So thank you guys.  This sort of content is what keeps me coming back.


I enjoy listening to Joel.

I was particularly interested in the discussion regarding net based food shopping.

I'd enjoy some opinions on the following:

A large percentage of people are currently carrying internet connectivity in their homes.

A few major Internet providers make billions providing internet services.

We're looking at some troublesome times ahead.

Many of these people are going to lose jobs.

Between those losing jobs and the more fortunate getting rid of "nice to have" expenses, how well are internet providers going to hold up?

What level of connectivity is going to exist for X period of time?

What's is going to cost?

What does this do to net based entrepreneurs?


I too really enjoyed this podcast.  Like Spad I wondered about the future of a business model based on the internet given that the internet is likely to become less and less viable to more and more people as the effects of the three E's become stronger.  That had me thinking whether it was a wise idea to encourage a farm to consumer model based on it.  For the moment though it does seem like a very good, viable model since access to the internet is quite broad and the costs to enter the internet marketplace are comparatively low.  If this approach can be used to build small farms into successful businesses while creating these local and interpersonal networks I feel like it should be pursued.  Building the networks and relationships in the first place is likely the challenging part.  If, as Joel is talking about, these remain locally based things, connecting local growers with local consumers then it shouldn't be as great of a challenge to keep the businesses viable when the internet part of it gets phased out.  It seems imperative that we get more people farming in sustainable ways with respect to the land/environment.  If internet marketplaces can help make this happen right now I feel like it's a good thing.

In terms of being a net based entrepreneur for things other than food, where customers are beyond the local region I think one just has to be ready to change business models.  I myself do a significant amount of business via the internet.  At this point it's a no brainer to do so because the costs for me are very low while the profits are much higher due to fewer middlemen.  That said, I still keep and maintain a network of retailers with brick and mortar stores so I have diversified venues.

i agree, with 7.4 billion people, eating at the top of the food chain is something which needs to stop. we do not have the resources for this level of waste. i have been vegetarian (close to vegan) since 1981. a plant based diet is an incredibly healthy way to eat.