In this, part 3 of a multi-part series on Food Choice started in January, I paraphrase from a talk given by Joel Salatin, a self-proclaimed “lunatic” farmer who can also best be described as the voice and face of the ecological agricultural movement. We can live without a lot of things, but as we all know food is one thing we cannot live without. Like Joel, we at Pasture's Delights aim to provide quality food that nourishes people’s bodies, minds and souls. Farmer Joel Salatin will take it from here as he explains…
How Big Government enriches Big Business at the expense of our health
“We have an official government ‘Cheap Food Policy.’ If you can grow it faster, better, cheaper, ‘that’s great!’ Well, nature has something to say about that. Nothing runs most efficiently and regeneratively at full throttle. There is a reason why the average NFL football player is dead at 57. When your neck is bigger than your head, you’re natured, and when you’re natured, nature weeds you out. In this idea of ‘faster, bigger, cheaper’ and viewing plants and animals as just machines, we concocted 40 years ago a wonderful, progressive, scientific US-duh (USDA) and industrial food system that included feeding dead cows to cows. Thirty years later, we have a world-wide awareness of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as Mad-Cow Disease. ‘Oops, maybe we shouldn’t have done that!’
“When you have a cheap food policy, or a cheap anything policy really – it reduces the quality of whatever you’re producing. If we had a cheap car policy, we’d have terrible cars. A side effect of this cheap food policy is a dumb farmer policy, because we have isolated this sector of the economy and said this needs to be very cheap. Thus, it has attracted dummies. So we now have rural “brain drain” and we ask, “why do farmers do these things? Why do they sign-up to grow for Tyson and Monsanto?” Well, it is because they are not thinking anymore. It is because we have two generations telling our young people if you’re bright, sharp and a go-getter that you go to town and get a “real” job with a 401K, health care, and other benefits at a great big Fortune 500 company and you certainly do not get blisters or splinters or dirt under your fingernails. And so this cheap-food policy has dumbed down farming.
“In addition, this cheap food policy thrives on a cheap petroleum policy, which depends on military and empire building around the world to make sure we get cheap petroleum because we’ve determined we need cheap food. Then we no longer have a carbon-centric food system – 80% of what we put in landfills is compostable so that stuff that’s supposed to go on the soil gets put in the garbage instead. Now we have a landfill problem, a nutrient deficiency problem, and less water and soil. Genius!
“Sir Albert Howard, the god-father of modern scientific composting said in 1940: ‘when you have a system that builds artificial soils, that grows artificial plants, that create artificial animals, and then makes artificial humans – it requires artificials (a.k.a. drugs) to keep them alive.’ And he said that in 1940! How prescient considering where we are today. There is a real cost to all this artificialness. The United States leads the world in the five degenerative diseases that are benchmarks for cultural health—not exactly a statistic to be proud of. Do you think our cheap food policy could be to blame? It’s hard for organic naysayers to make a case against organic farming with stats like these.”
Look for more of Joel’s message in future editions of Pasture Bites.
FULL DISCLOSURE. Joel’s characterizations—while effective at making his points—are not wholly endorsed by myself or Pasture’s Delights. Since his words are being published in our newsletter, we would like to qualify our position:
Regarding football players and their relatively shorter life spans - this is likely due to a myriad of factors other than simply their size. Concussions and other things we may not even be unaware of could contribute to a shorter life span.
Also, while I acknowledge that statistically those who do better in school do tend to relocate from rural communities to larger, urban communities, I would say that to suggest that today’s farmers are “dummies” is an inaccurate and disparaging characterization. Just because some farmer may talk with a drawl and did not graduate at the top of the class does not, by any means, mean they are dumb. Are they “sheople” believing in the industrial food system and chasing success through the almighty dollar? Maybe. Are they human and, therefore, susceptible to being manipulated and programmed like most of us, especially when it’s much easier than fighting the system? Of course. Dumb – nope.
Overall, though, Joel makes some very fine points. Pasture’s Delights’ mission is providing quality food that nourishes people’s bodies, minds, and souls so they can think straight and have the energy and will-power to protect the right that is so fundamental to each and every person: Food choice and deciding how to feed our 3 trillion internal community of bacterial beings is one of the most basic rights that we each have, and it is our collective responsibility to fight for it.
Hope this discussion has given you some things to ponder. Wishing you wellness and happiness!
Farmer Mark Grieshop