Organic Consumers Association

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Review: Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

Environmentalism is important and also controversial. We have choices. We can look for enlightenment on the subject from someone who pontificates from their power-massage recliner in their climate-controlled McMansion in the suburbs or we can look to someone whose livelihood depends on a correct understanding of the environment.

The Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer is a book written by just such a man. Joel Salatin is the author. He also owns Polyface Farm which has operated for about 50 years under the principles explained by his book. I think that is about long enough to get an idea whether he is going in the right direction or not.

This book is loaded with ideas you don't hear everyday. Bigger is not always better. Artificial insemination may not be a good idea for keeping your herd genetically robust. Is there really a food shortage? He makes an excellent argument for why we should want smart, well-paid farmers. Do we really want something as important as our food to be produced by people who are as poor as dirt and half as smart? What does it say about our culture when we pay millions to rock stars and expect the farmer to take a vow of poverty? We might want to rethink those twisted and unhealthy values. There are too many interesting and great ideas to even list in a review. You'll just have to buy the book.

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