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

Joel Salatin, Foreword by
Joel Salatin. Hachette/Center Street, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-89296-819-0
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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Salatin, an experienced farmer notable for cameos in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and the documentary, Food Inc., contributes a convincing group of essays about the way we fail ourselves and the environment through industrial monoculture farming. Dedicated to producing real food for a local market, much of his written work (he has self-published seven books, including Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal) is concerned with nonsensical government regulations and this book is no exception. Topics range from child-rearing to the importance of herbivores in farming and food cycles; readers will learn more about excrement than they ever cared to know. Perhaps the biggest question threading the collection is one Salatin asks himself: Is this way of living "normal” or anachronistic? Most readers will reach mixed conclusions, but likely feel compelled to make a few lifestyle changes following what he preaches—his handy bullet points for action at each chapter's end make it easy to try. Liberals and conservatives alike will find things to love and hate from this self-described "Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic,” but that makes this book all the more fun and challenging. (Oct.)
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