Joel Salatin Part Two: Our Disassociation With Food.

“It’s time to reactivate the resources we have.”   – Joel Salatin

Here is part two to my two-part series on the speech by world-famous sustainable farmer, Joel Salatin. He was featured in Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, Academy Award Nominated “Food, Inc.” and “FRESH The Movie,” and came to speak in Chico recently.

What was so profound about this farmer was the clarity of the words he used. He spoke to us in a way that seemed so simple and sensical. There was no flashy show, no gimmicks, no push to adapt to his way of life. He just put it all out there for us to decide whether we wanted to believe his philosophies or not.

It’s unbelievable that he’s been doing this for so long, and the practices have been around for centuries. He even referenced a few times to the Native Americans and their ways of working with nature. And yet, while it is by no means new, we have discovered how far off the path we are and our need to go back to this simple way of life. And when I say ‘simple way of life,’ I don’t mean black and white TVs, or kickin’ it on the front porch swing with grandpa. I mean having a connection with our farmer. Or better yet, being our own farmer.

It’s great that this has finally come back into the forefront of America’s dinner tables; especially  through people like Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan and even Jamie Oliver. We simply need to know about these farmers’ practices. Everybody needs to know about them. These leaders embody everything that can lead us back to our food sources, and every hope we have for our future relationship with food.

It drives me crazy that a majority of Americans are so disassociated with what they eat.

I just want to yell out sometimes, “People, IT’S OUR FOOD!” It’s the essence that allows us to live! One of the few important things on this planet! How is it possible that we’ve become so disconnected from nature and that which comes from it? We drive in our car through a pavement lot, purchase our so-called “food” from a window, out of a bag that was wrapped in plastic?! And we think this is normal. And we do it every day.

Think about your experiences in searching for food, versus the way Native Americans searched for food.

You get in your box of a vehicle, drive to a store that’s a cement box, and purchase food that comes out of another box. Tell me, does anything sound natural about that? And we do it out of excuses that are borderline pathetic, that’s the sad part. It’s sickening to me, when I think of a McDonald’s daily diet. No more hunting and gathering for food. There is just driving, and a lot of boxes.

Joel’s speech pounded this into my head even harder than it had been before. And if you were not fortunate to be there, here is an interview he did with The Portland Mercury in August of 2009, that will give you a sense of what he stands for. The interview came out right before one of his speeches in Portland. Even though it was done two years ago, his practices and philosophies were just as relevant and important.

What stood out to me in this interview is something that I want to talk about here on MyAlexandriar. I am simply writing about my own experiences in transitioning to this different way of life, and in no way will push you to do the same. I want to share  what I’m going through to help you go through it too. And I want to share that it cannot be done in a day. I cannot, and I do not expect anyone else to change the beliefs and values they have with food in one day. What Joel said about this transition was put perfectly into words and supports what I encourage here. Change what you can.

In the interview, when asked what kind of advice could he offer for people who want to live without industrial food, he responded:

“I take a very pragmatic view. 1) You don’t have to change it all in a day. Change a little bit at a time. 2) The change has to occur in your heart. As you change, you will begin to adapt. One of those adaptations will be simply to become hypersensitive and aware of things that you never were before. 3) You’ve heard the phrase ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.I’ll free you from that by giving you the real statement: ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.’ No-one does it right the first time. Who ever tells their kid learning to walk, ‘Look, kid, if you can’t stand up and walk then don’t even try?'”

So get out there and try. Open your mouth and become aware of your own beliefs about food. And if you find you don’t like your current beliefs, then change them. Like I did.

As Joel Salatin said, “may your carrots always grow long and straight!”




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