Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin ft. Molly, a real-life FRESHFARMer

Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin ft. Molly, a real-life FRESHFARMerBacon Phat
00:00 / 1:37:42

Former FRESHFARM market managers Julia and Molly team up to make not-funny jokes and barely talk about Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, a book about how the bureaucracy and regulations make it impossible for small farmers to do their jobs.

Molly and Bev at the FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Farmers Market with the pork breakfast bowl

In this episode:


Show notes:

The episode


30:00: Joel Salatin talking to Pat Buchanan about chicken given antibiotics


31:51: “Eating the government food"


32:36: Can’t hire young people on farms


36:08: Joel used to not allow women to work on his farm


37:00: Salatin on desegregation:

At the risk of truly being branded an extremist, I’ll wade into even the civil rights movement, which was moving apace, steadily and surely, through the efforts of charismatics like Martin Luther King.


But as soon as the government became involved with the process, we ended up forcing it and causing more harm than good. Does anyone really believe we have better race relations in America today than we would have had had the steady progress achieved during the early 1960s been allowed to move no faster than society could metabolize it? Instead we have reverse discrimination, forced school busing, and as much if not more racial hatred today that in 1965.”


37:40: Salatin’s politics and divisiveness


38:50: Salatin is a Christian environmentalist libertarian capitalist

40:12: Julia’s rant about libertarians


45:00 “If prohibition didn’t happen we wouldn’t be dependent on foreign oil” is easily disproved


47:24: Doesn’t want government in his business but is anti-abortion


48:25: Joel Salatin on undocumented workers


49:49: EQUIP dollars go to CAFOs; Joel Salatin’s Salad Bar Beef


54:09: Undocumented immigration due to NAFTA 


54:49: “Intellectual schizophrenia”


55:40: Eliminate agricultural subsidies


56:22: Market politics


1:02:10: Bev and Joel and the 1-million mile chicken


1:10:50: Molly and Julia have a market politics story


1:14:37: Regulations benefit big business, and small businesses can’t compete


1:16:15 Chefs wanting pigs’ feet:

We have chefs beggin for pig’s [sic] feet. No problem, except that the inspectors have recently deemed these heritage delicacies inedible unless the hog is scalded. If the hog is skinned, the feet must go out in the offal. It must be scalded and scraped, with the skin left on, in order for the pig’s feet to be kept out of the rendering barrels. No amount of arguing can do any good. Since our producer doesn’t scald, our chefs are out of luck. Those feet could easily be scalded—even in the restaurant sink.


My point is that it’s illegal for me to even get those feet back. I cannot walk into the plant and acquire those feet—it’s illegal. I can’t give them away. I can’t cook them and scald them myself, to use for myself, to eat myself. They have to go into the waste stream.


1:23:50: Things Joel can’t do on his farm

1:26:30 Can only get raw milk through herd shares in DC or Virginia


Joel Salatin is CON-TRO-VER-SIAL. Called by some "America's most famous farmer", himself "a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer", and others "white supremacist", Salatin certainly knows how to stir the pot. But, unfortunately for his detractors, he also knows how to farm sustainably. Salatin is one of those people whose ideas you have to separate from his personal beliefs if you want to learn anything from them. And honestly, his rants about the bureaucracy and regulations hurting small farmers are too important to throw out with his xenophobic, misogynist bath water.

We like this book because the anecdotes about dealing with the bureaucracy fuel our fire and reaffirm the anger we feel towards the food industry and government-sanctioned garbage passed off as food. And it's heartening to know there are farmers in the world who want to raise animals the right way and treat the environment with respect.