Today I have a brief review for you of Joel Salatin’s latest book ‘Folks, This Ain’t Normal!‘
For those of you unafamiliar with him, Joel Salatin runs Polyface Farms in Virginia. He raises grassfed beef, pastured poultry, and pastured pork, among other things.
In particular the way he ties all of his livestock systems together is fascinating. Cows graze small paddocks, pooping all over them. The chickens then come in a few days later which eat the bugs that follow the cows. The chicken poop further fertilizes the grass. Rinse and repeat…
His views on things are decidedly non mainstream but despite what you might think at first, he’s actually pretty solid. When I first read some of his stuff I thought he was going to be a hippy, but he quickly hit the top of my reading list, and I now own most of his books.
In his latest book, fully titled ‘Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World‘ he talks about how completely backwards we do things today. He covers everything from the food we eat, the water we drink, how we live, the energy that we use, and everything in between.
He has shares some ideas that aren’t new, but only long forgotten. He discusses the whys, the hows, and how things used to be done.
What I found particularly interesting is how he dismantles arguments for government subsidies, current societal habits, land use regulations, and so on with a discussion about how those things all damage what they are there to protect.
I know I’ve talked a bit about water lately, but I learned quite a bit in his chapter on water rights, including how the way we manage water actually reduces the amount we have available, despite what the so called experts tell us.
All in all, this book is a great view into what’s wrong with how we’re living today, and what we should do about it. I don’t think we should all adopt everything that every author suggests, but definitely give them thought…
And if you’re interested in raising healthy chickens, his ‘Pastured Poultry Profits’ book is fantastic and for running cattle I’d recommend ‘Salad Bar Beef’ … Skip the ‘You Can Farm’ book though … I didn’t like it much.