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Farmer And Philosopher Joel Salatin

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook

Farmer/philosopher Joel Salatin says get off your laptop, get in the dirt and live with it.

Farmer and author Joel Salatin (Teresa Salatin)

Farmer and author Joel Salatin (Teresa Salatin)

Joel Salatin is heralded as the high priest of the pasture. And for good reason. The Virginia farmer speaks the gospel of local, clean, and healthy eating. No pesticides. Uber-organic. Just a man and his earth—with as little government interference as possible. Devotees are eating it up.

Now, he’s out with a new clarion call for a nation of unhealthy eaters: Get off your laptop and get your hands dirty. Get close to the earth. Understand where your food and fuel comes from. Before it’s too late.

This hour On Point: Food philosopher, Joel Salatin.

-Jane Clayson

 

Guests

Joel Salatin, third-generation alternative farmer and owner of Polyface Farms in Viginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He raises livestock using holistic and chemical-free meathods of animal husbandry. His new book is, “Folks, this ain’t normal”.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest general farm organization.

From The Reading List

The New York Times “For 44 years on the western edge of the Shenandoah Valley, three generations of Salatins (of which he’s the middle) have raised grass-fed livestock on rough and hilly land without recourse to an ounce of chemical fertilizer or a fistful of seed, in close touch with the soil, the seasons and themselves, using methods meant to mimic nature.”

Bloomberg Businessweek “We have seen new business models emerge over the last decade for dozens of industries including travel, advertising, and publishing—all relying heavily on technology-based improvements in productivity and changes in distribution associated with the Internet.”

National Geographic “Today an enthusiastic band of scientists has gone back to that fork in the road: They’re trying to breed perennial wheat, rice, and other grains. Wes Jackson, co-founder and president of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, has promoted the idea for decades. It has never had much money behind it. But plant breeders in Salina and elsewhere are now crossing modern grains with wild perennial relatives; they’re also trying to domesticate the wild plants directly.”

Excerpt

Children, Chores, Humility, and Health

“We need something for our young people to do” is a common refrain in adult circles today. Daily news reports about roving teenagers getting into mischief during the wee hours of the morning don’t make any sense to me. Every time I see that a group of young people has caused some fracas at 2 a.m. I wonder, “Who has time and energy to be out cavorting at 2 a.m.?”

Our children went to bed at 9 or 10 p.m. and were grateful for the opportunity. Our apprentices and interns normally dismiss themselves from our company and head off to bed as soon after dark as they can get there.

That young people today, at least when they are not in school, spend the day lounging around, hanging out, and then go into the wee hours burning off excess energy is aberrant in the first degree. Add to that the pastime of playing video games, exercising only thumb muscles and fingertips, and folks, we have a situation that just ain’t normal.

When the biggest thrill in life is becoming competent enough on the video game to achieve level five performance, what kind of environ¬ment are we creating for our future leaders? When I sit in airports and watch these testosterone exuding boys with their shriveled shoulders and E.T. looking fingers passing the time on their laptops, I realize that this is normal for them. This isn’t happening because they are sitting in an airport trying to while away the time. This is actually how many, if not most, of their hours are spent —recreation, entertainment, and playing around.

Contrast that with historical normalcy. Here is a list of chores for young people since time immemorial:

1. Chopping, cutting, and gathering firewood. In the days before petroleum and electricity, every able bodied person contributed to keeping the household warm during the winter months. This wood accumulation required a knowledge of the forest and of what kind of wood burns well. Not all wood is created equal. Resinous woods like evergreens coat the inside of the chimney and unless mixed half and half with nonresinous will accumulate too much soot on the inside of the chimney or flue. This highly combustible residue can become a fire hazard. Whenever we cut down a pine tree, therefore, we want to look around for at least equal parts hardwoods to balance out the fuel for the fireplace or woodstove. Green wood cut from standing, living trees con¬tains 30 percent or more water, and this moisture retards the fire because before the wood can burn it must evaporate the water.

A skilled wood gatherer knows to seek dead and dry wood for imme¬diate burning but to stockpile the green wood for future burning. But all dead and downed wood is not equally dry. If the dead wood is up off the ground a little, it will be perfect. A standing snag is ideal most of the time. Sometimes it has already rotted and turned to powder —common in soft deciduous trees like poplar or red maple.

If the dead or downed wood is on the ground, it may be too rotten to burn. Burning wood is essentially an extremely fast rotting process: What soil microbes do over an extended period, a fire does in a short period. If the combustible carbon is already decomposed through the rotting process, nothing is left to burn.

All wood gives off about the same BTUs per pound, but different woods weigh different amounts per cubic foot. Heavy woods like white oak and hickory give off twice as much heat per cubic foot than light woods like poplar or white pine.

Gathering wood, then, requires a fair amount of knowledge to be done well. Beyond the knowledge is the skill to gather it efficiently. Obviously if we’re going to the forest to bring in firewood, we will take our tools like a chainsaw (modern), crosscut or bucksaw (premodern), or ax (old). Or imagine the Native Americans who either used stone axes or built fires around big trees to fell them. That required yet another whole skill set — one that I don’t possess.

But I do know how to run a chainsaw — a wonderful modern inven¬tion. I also know how to swing an ax, sharpen an ax, and replace the handle on an ax —all skills I developed as a youth. Once the wood is cut, it must be loaded into a vessel: trailer, pickup truck bed, hay wagon, whatever. It never ceases to amaze me when I go to the woods with our apprentices and interns how much I have to teach about efficiently gathering wood. First, we stack the branches with all the butts facing one way and uphill because the fluffy branch ends tend to build verti¬cal height faster than the butts. If you stack the branches haphazardly, the pile gets too high too fast. By carefully placing the branches, we can get far more on the pile.
When we begin picking up the cut pieces of wood, we want to get the vessel as close to the wood as possible. No walking — pitch it into the vessel. If the piece is too big to throw, of course, then you may have to walk, but we want to keep backing the vessel into the cut wood to minimize walking. Obviously, if we pitch the wood to the vessel, we want to position our bodies between the vessel and the wood we’re pick¬ing up. This way we can reduce the throw by the length of our bodies and our arms —usually a distance of nearly five feet.

By swiveling back and forth this way, we can load the wood twice as fast as if we’re behind the pieces throwing them into the vessel. And three times faster than if we’re picking them up in our arms and carry¬ing them over to the trailer. I know some people are reading this think¬ing, “Wow, that sounds like a lot of work. I’m glad I just turn on the thermostat and the heat starts.”

This is an excerpt from FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL by Joel Salatin. Copyright © 2011 by Joel Salatin. Reprinted by permission of Center Street. All rights reserved.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Yar

    This hour ought to be fun, two farmers solving the world’s problems.
    What occupation better prepares a citizen for leadership in our democracy than farming? The first lesson that farmer learns is that he is not in control, second is understanding environmental limits, third is reading the natural signs. Fourth is managing risk, fifth is having a sense of humor.  Jack Frost will kill more weeds in one night than I can kill all year.  I know of no other profession that requires more knowledge on such a wide range of technical skills than farming.  Talk about a under appreciated profession, farming is the backbone that built America, I hope this hour gives farming the respect it’s due. Who has more skills, a CEO with 10,000 employees, or the farmer who feeds the 10,000 with fewer than 10 employees? 
    The farmer should be paid more, and the CEO should make less.  

    • JustSayin

      I was discussing my childhood on our family farm with a father trying to get his daughter involved in the work around his suburban home.

       I stated that the kind of dangers and chores I was doing when I was seven would likely be called child abuse in America today. One of my jobs as the youngest, was plucking fresh killed chickens. Then as I got older there were all the other chores, tending the dairy cows, mowing and bailing hay, repairing and maintaining equipment, etc..

      Farming, and farm work puts the REAL in the reality of life and death. I feel fortunate to have had farming as a basis for viewing the world around me. IMO suburban and city life seems to damage people psychologically…perhaps because they are so very insulated from the natural world in a hands in the dirt, and blood on the stump kinda of reality, or maybe its just all that TV, and video game stuff…

    • nj

      Like the bumper sticker says, “No farms, no food”

  • LinP

    Joel Salatin and Michael Pollan changed my son’s life. At age 25 is he taking the risk of starting his own grass-fed beef operation in Vermont. He has found his passion that he is pursuing with everything he’s got–trying to make a difference by supplying clean, good food.  Just wanted Mr. Salatin to know his good works do make a difference, and people are listening–and taking action.

  • JustSayin

    The story above reminds me of my speech class in community college. I like everyone else was taking electrical engineering. Having never traveled… and being a dumb farm boy the only things I knew anything about was farming. 

    So… I gave a speech on felling and cutting up a trees with a chainsaw. I was surprised that everyone was really entertained and asked questions, and in my estimate, about two percent of the female population admire a male who knows how to do these kinds of tasks.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    GOOD PHILOSOPHY!! Mr. Salatin left off one IMPORTANT aspect;  the feeling of actual accomplishment!!  Promoting the honest feeling of doing something that makes your own life and comfort better, is something that children will eat up (pun intended!) !!  This has to be done by someone that actually likes or LOVES to do the work, and can infect the children, or adults, with enthusiam!  LEAD, not push, is the way.

  • nj

    What is it with On Point!? I’m glad to see Joel Salatin being featured, but why do they need to give the American Farm Bureau a presence on this particular program?

    The AFB has become primarily an insurance and finance tool for corporate, industrial agriculture. Why not just let Mr. Salatin have the hour to discuss his innovative approaches to small, local, ecologically responsible agriculture, perhaps augmented with others who are working in the same spirit? 

    Is NPR so afraid that their corporate sponsors will object to a lack of “balance” because the corporate party line is not represented? 

    As we’ve seen over and over, most On Point guest panels are structured so that right/conservative/corporate interests skew the discussion in that general direction. They could have just let Mr. Salatin have the hour today, but no, the On Pointers seem to feel compelled to represent corporate interests at every opportunity! The producers of the program should be called on to defend this bias.

    Read a brief description of AFB’s doings beginning on page 20 here (brief excepts below):

    http://s242798577.onlinehome.us/media/TadFinal.pdf

    [[ The American Farm Bureau Federation touts itself and its many organizational publication as the "Voice of Agriculture." Yet even this traditional farmer organization now speaks for corporate agriculture. Although its current president states, "The Farm Bureau will continue to work toward its two main goals—to enhance net farm income and to improve the quality of life for farm families"—according to its members and a number of conservation organizations, the Farm Bureau is strictly a mouthpiece for corporate agriculture and its own financial and insurance interests.

    …Far from being the spokesman for a romanticized yeoman farmer, the Farm Bureau is a big financial and insurance company wolf in tax-exempt, nonprofit sheep's clothing. It claims 4.9 million family members, who provide over $200 million annually for its advocacy efforts. But the 4.9 million figure is hard to defend. According to the USDA, there are only 2 million family farmers left in the United States, and the Internal Revenue Service has found that only a tiny fraction of those 2 million family farmers are members of the Farm Bureau.…]]

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Normal, according to Salatin, is the kind of society in which there was no surplus, famine was a continual threat, and most people did nothing but labor at a low level of productivity.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Boy, did you miss the messages!!!

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Listen to what he said:  Turn off the television; unplug the electronics, and go wandering around looking for “normal” food.  I use my computer for my profession.  I don’t have time to spend hours looking for something to eat.  I have my own job.

        In addition, what he’s advocating would end up with women or slaves back in the kitchen.  How else would their be time?

        • Morgen from VT

          real food is not slavery, real food is freedom

        • Brett

          “In addition, what he’s advocating would end up with women or slaves back in the kitchen.  How else would their be time?”
          Should be “How else would THERE be time?” Also, I, and many of my friends, buy locally grown food/shop at farmers’ markets, compost, have small vegetable/herb gardens, all without little infringement on our time. I can’t think of a single person I know who has women/slaves chained to their kitchens, either! …This extreme picture you attempt to create is an attempt to…I can’t say, really. Play devil’s advocate for the sake of it? Create a kind of straw man so your position seems more valuable/the opposing position seems ridiculous?

          Mr. Salatin sounded as if he uses technology quite extensively on his farm…so, to cut to the chase, I don’t think you have to throw away your laptop to buy some vegetables at the farmer’s market.     

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Thanks for the spelling correction–typing while recovering from a broken wrist is proving to be a challenge.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            To your quick recovery.

          • Brett

            I knew there had to be a good reason for your using the wrong word (albeit a little bit more than a mere typo, you’d have to admit)–although, typing t-h-e-r-e is no more difficult and challenging physically than typing t-h-e-i-r…Anyway, if you’re going to respond…hmm, why not actually defend why you are making so much of an attempt to sound like an alarmist and to make other viewpoints seem silly regarding this topic? Most of the time, I find your comments to be reasonable, even if I may not necessarily agree with many of them; every now and then, you seem to go out of your way to dismiss another way of looking at something, even if in the process it makes your opinions seem reactive and one dimensional…maybe I’m just over analyzing and you’re just irritable from the pain in your wrist?

            A speedy recovery! 

            This site needs participation from differing voices who make some attempt to be reasonable in their expression/interaction.  

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Many men cook and can food!

  • Dani Scott

    What about folks living in apartments? Small apartments, at that.. with no yard space. I would love to start growing some things on my own, but am afraid I can’t do that in pots on my fire escape. Does Mr. Salatin have some suggestions/advice? Thanks! Dani

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Start with Topsy-Turvey tomato and Strawberry planters.  Suspended growing systems, with growth medium.  Some companies offer small window herb gardens, for fresh herbs and seasonings.

      Mr. Salatin may offer more.

    • Brett

      With just a few pots on your fire escape you could grow herbs, tomatoes, certain lettuces…the choices are many. And, if you don’t want to get that much into it, shop at farmer’s markets/participate in your local CSA, request more locally grown produce at your supermarket, etc….there are many little things that can be done to develop a better relationship with the food we consume. 

  • Dustin

    You sound like a true comodity farmer there Greg.  Joel does not support the “old shcool” methods.  He urge’s us to use advances in organic farming to produce higher yields per acre than any comodity farm.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Nope, I’m an English instructor at a college.  I don’t want to be a farmer.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        You could, if you wanted to, grow a single tomato plant in a container. Then you’d experience what a “real” tomato tastes like.

        If you like what you taste you can expand a bit into a few herbs, etc.

        Even college professors can grow gardens on their decks.

        • Brett

          Maybe they’re too busy telling students to expand their horizons!  ;-)

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            Right Brett, Greg Camp needs a bit of horizon expansion in the food department, no doubt about it.

  • Guest

    Can you ask your guest if he has seen a surge in ew farmers age 21-29? The youth movement leader from the “Lost Generation” episode mentions how his peers are turning to farming because they can’t get jobs in the cities. I want to know if this is bunk.

  • Julia

    Agree with Dani below, for the urban listeners=

    How can we support the right food systems in an urban setting? Besides growing a plant or two on the fire escape? Composting organic material is next to impossible in city living!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      But why bother?  Farming can work in the country, while city dwellers live a different life.  That’s choice.

      • Anonymous

        I live in the city and I have a small garden which I lived off this summer. I cut my food bill down by hundred’s of dollars a month.
        I’m still eating tomatoes from the garden. And when I’m done I wont eat another one until next summer.

        Try using some common sense. 

        • Julia

          Where is this garden? Not every city dweller is lucky enough to have even a patch or space for a container for gardening.

          • Julia

            I actually subscribe to a local farm CSA, and would love to employ this “common sense” to eating furing the rest of the year, when the CSA growing season ends. I’d love to see community gardens more aggressively implemented in urban areas too. Sounds simple, but this problem is extremely complex in densely populated urban areas.

          • Anonymous

            In my yard. I’ve always lived in places in Boston that had some kind of yard or a porch that has 6 hours of sun light a day. If you don’t have any space a lot of cites have plots that you can sign up for to grow vegetables. If you have window that gets 6 hours or more of sunlight you can grow a lot of herbs and even lettuce.

      • nj

        Among the many things of which Mr Camp is apparently unaware: the urban farming movement.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Grow a few plants in pots on your porch, deck, or front stoop. Where there’s a will there’s a way. You lack the will but eating a home grown tomato will give it to you. Next year… try it, I think you might like it.

      • Melissa

        He definitely doesn’t want everyone to farm, just to be engaged with their food. If everyone farmed, he’d be out of business. I’m an urban IT worker and I grow a few things on my porch, but I also  buy good meat from local farms that I’ve visited. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MANY examples of urban architecture, and creative living, make it possible.  You have to get informed, and vote with your cash! 

      • Julia

        It sounds nice but many locations do not have any outdoor space (think condo or complex). How would someone compost from an 8th story apartment in a city? yes it’s a choice to live in a city, but I feel that if there’s a will there’s a way! Petition for local compost pick up? Think about the sheer volume of organic matter sitting in black bags in landfills from the cities!

        • L-sigmund

          Julia,
          I’m in a similar situation (urban dweller) and have become a huge fan of local farmers’ markets.  You can pretty much find one every day of the week from May to October.  The winter presents a larger challenge.  Also, here in Boston The Food Project has created a number of terrific urban gardens.  Maybe they take compost?  Maybe your city has a similar organization?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I wish I had time to explain it all to you!   Obviously you can read.  Some of the best sources for you are Popular Science back issues, and Mother Earth News.  Many more exist, but are not as mainstream. 

  • http://brickhousestudios.com John Churchman

    Thanks for this show. Here in Vermont I have a small farm practicing many of Joel Salatin’s practices. Our heritage chickens are free ranging over our lower fields and the best winter squash grew out of our mounds of composted sheep manure. We do not use any pesticides and  had the best chiogga beets, potatoes,and butternut squash with one of our chickens for dinner last night.  

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    So we’re supposed to live at the level of hunter-gatherers?  Some of us prefer to have other jobs.

    • Anonymous

      You are listening to what Joel Salatin is saying.
      Interesting how you skew your response to the extreme.

    • Dustin

      Are you actually listening to what the man is saying Greg?

      • Anonymous

        Nope, it seems to me this guy does not want to listen.
        He’s only interested in mouthing off.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I am listening.  What I object to is his idea that we must all adopt his way of life.  If he would stick to arguing that we need to improve our farming techniques to make healthier food that isn’t threatened with destruction due to lack of genetic variability, I’d have no disagreement with him.

          • Anonymous

            He’s not saying you have to do anything. He’s making suggestions.
            You know for an English teacher you have some issues with comprehension.  

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I may not agree, but I understand what he is saying.

          • C L

            Hi Greg, I notice your profile picture. Is that a revolver/pistol you are pulling out of your pocket? Interesting.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Look, a Luddite argument does appeal to me, but I do live in the real world most of the time.

          • Morgen from VT

            Joel is not a luddite

  • Dustin

    Julia and Dani-
    The best way you can get involved and “do your part” is to buy food that is grown locally and in a sustainable and ethical way.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I buy what I want, when I can afford it.  Go live your life, and let me live mine.

    • Dustin

      Ditto Greg, Ditto.  You sound angree at the idea of a more balanced food system.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        No, I just don’t want to adopt the farmer life that he advocates.  I have different skills and different interests.  Ever since civilization came into being, humans have had increasing choice in what kind of life that they will live.

        • Anonymous

          Again, he’s not telling you that you should become a farmer.
          If you have land maybe a small vegetable garden is something that would be a good thing. Instead of having a front lawn grow tomatoes and cucumbers. If you live in an apartment you could grow herbs and tomatoes on a balcony. Or do nothing. it’s your choice. Go out and eat some Burger King.

        • Guest

          Well you can’t live that life without eating. So I think that warrants learning more about your food and participating in its creation. Like the guest said, visit a farm, call your extension office, talk to a farmer, etc. You often seem negative on here. Maybe if you participated in the positive and accomplished-feeling of participating in the food cycle (which is the most basic thing we can do) maybe you’d have a better outlook. Pay the farmer or pay the doctor. No matter your skills set, I think it reasonable to be excited about expanding it to include knowing how to feed yourself.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Farming is a full-time job.  I don’t have time to raise crops and do other things.  Searching for the kind of food that he advocates would be a busy part-time job, and I also don’t have time for that.  Civilization equals specialization, at least to some degree.

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            Grow a single tomato plant in a pot. Even you, a “college professor” should be able to figure it out.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          I’m amazed you teach at a college and are listening to this show and replying like this. I now have a better perspective on how to read your political opinions.

          You have, what we might call, hardening of the categories.

          Grow a single tomato plant in a pot, or don’t. Sheesh.

    • nj

      Yet, genetically modified crops—which Mr Camp blindly supports—have the potential to ruin the livelihoods of organic farmers by contaminating their crops.

      Does Mr Camp live in his own little bubble?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    WOW!!  An ARTICULATE and WELL-EDUCATED farmer being interviewed, instead of the stereotype!! 

    Most that disparage farmers as ignorant, cannot pronounce the words rolling from this man’s mouth!!  Much less, comprehend the concepts he has mastery of!   They will be hard-pressed to achieve a small percentage of his challenge!

  • Guest

    Can you ask your guest for his thoughts on petridish meat? Scientist are trying to develop artificial meat to adresss the growing world demand for meat and the copious amount of land and water use needed to grow cattle, and also the waste and green house gas that cattle produce. Thanks.

  • C L

    I live in the same valley as Joel. I’ve had his produce and meat…it is wonderful. The majority of American’s have reduced eating to the same level as other brainless activities like watching TV. He’s right. Get involved with your food, think about it. What you ‘save’ now buying over-processed, non-organic foods you will pay for in future health care. Consider the rates of cancer that have increased since the mass mechanization of farming…the average American doesn’t get cancer from walking down the street…it comes from what you put in your body. 

  • Chayasgirl

    I live in the Shenandoah Valley with a family of six.  With only one person employed, we have an extremely limited budget.  However, I feed my family a diet of about 85% local foods.  I shop at the farmer’s market and have gotten to know my local producers.  I purchase my dairy, vegetables, and meat locally from people I know and whom I know treat the animals well.  The health of my family has improved drastically since doing this and there will be no going back.  Both dentists and pediatricians have remarked about the health of my kids.  If the label has things I can’t pronounce we don’t eat it.  I have begun growing things in my small backyard and preserving what I grow.  I too use coupons at my local coop and have discovered it is possible to feed a family of 6  on organic and local food for less than $800 per month.

    • Julia

      That’s very inspiring! It’s great you have access to those choices and have worked hard to make it happen. so cool to see the health improvements correlate.

    • Sixuk

      Great post! You can pay the farmer or pay the doctor! It is possible to eat on a budget and eat good, local, organic products. We’ve even turned our fire escape into a little garden for fresh herbs and tomotoes. Even a few small houseplants can pay for themselves in yields. And through canning and freezing, we’ll be eating good all winter!

  • Tom O’Brien

    Joel is right about our willingness to spend trillions on weapons and national security but not on food security or on health security.  Just as corporations distort health policy leading us to a grossly inhumane system, corporate farming leads to a cruel and unhealty farming system.  Both systems’ logic is driven exclusively by the corporate profit motive unmitigated by the human values that used to imbue mid-20th century Capitalism.

  • Mshood

    Farmers are having a hard time b/c so many receive subsidies and those that DON’T can’t compete.  Level playing field and letting us all pay the REAL price of food will result in successful farms.

  • Guest

    I wish more people thought like you. Even if they didn’t want to be farmers, you should care where you food comes from and any product you “consume” for that matter!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1022412606 Diane Echlin

    Thanks for this program!  I can’t wait to read Joel’s book!

  • Waxwings

    How can the self-proclaimed ignorant consumers simultaneously be the drivers and designers of the food system?  The Farm Bureau said it is the American consumer who decides what should be grown but then went on to say that the consumer does not know much at all about the American food system.

  • Designerofgreens

    I think that if the Federal government mandated REAL Truth in Labeling, with complete disclosure as to ALL the ingredients – the marketplace would sort out the factory farms, genetically modified, chemical usage folks from the beyond organic naormal heridatary agriculture methods of farming and eating!  Cathy

  • John Hepler

    One huge problem that Joel needs to mention and we must all take into account for the building of a new agro-ecology is the ridiculous price of land, still hung over from the housing bubble. The price will not soon go down and really shuts down the possibilties for the many would be young farmers that i see around here, northern Tennessee

    • http://www.pandcworganicfarm.blogspot.com Cynthia

      John, even apartment dwellers can have container gardens. I’m in Middle Tennessee and I have land; but it’s mostly rocks so I started with livestock to build up the soil. I’m now looking into/approaching aquaculture. Check out my blog from time to time (I post infrequently these days) to learn what can be done with little land.)

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Two fellow Tennesseans in a row!  Great!!  And on such an important subject. 
        Lady, are you checking into crops, that build your soil, too?  Your Ag Extension Office can be one source of information.  So can ‘Mother Earth News’, Organic Gardening, the ‘Foxfire’ books, and other literature.
        Good Life and Good Luck. 

  • Ike1492

    OK Joel – I’m sold!  How does a person get started?  

    • Morgen from VT

      Start right in your own backyard!!!

  • Patty VanLuven

    I am a sustainable farmer & also a mom who has helped raise 4 kids on very limited income. It is not sufficient to tell people with limited incomes that the key to affording real food is to give up unnecessary purchases because there are plenty of folks who have taken those steps and still can’t afford good food. 

    So what do you farmers need to do? You have to educate income-limited buyers about the food savings of buying real food. Grass fed meat “goes farther” on the skillet because it has less fat and no “added water”.  You’re actually buying protein, not flavored water. Grass fed meat goes farther on the plate because it has more taste and texture. So moms can stretch it (oh, this is SO true). It “goes farther” in the body because it contains more proteins & good fats and less waste. In the long run, it is an investment in health for families who live with the very real risk of having no health or dental insurance. Families can be educated about the genuine savings that can arise from buying in bulk and in season, buying “seconds” for canning and how satisfying it can be to put up food for winter storage. Food stashed in the freezer, pantry, and coldest room is the new winter time convenience food. And encourage people to garden, to have backyard livestock, to swap and barter. Whatever it takes to help people feel like the change will work for their family.The message: work with people’s economic realities so that what is necessary feels possible. Be endlessly creative. Cheers to all sustainable farmers and the blessed people who support them.Patty VanLuven of Terra Cantata in Michigan

  • Catherine

    I find it interesting that the fellow who spoke representing “the establishment” agriculture industry said “consumers want their choices and the system has evolved to give consumers their choices”.  But we don’t need to subsidize farmers to give consumers their choices.  If we have to pay what the stuff really costs, we can still make choices. But they will probably be different choices.

    • nj

      As invoked by entrenched corporate interests, the “choice” issue is almost always a red herring.

      Because the costs of many of their products are externalized, and because they can game the political system because of the amount of money they can funnel into lobbying, (and for other reasons), these companies profit (in the case of food) off of selling processed, inexpensive products. 

      They know that as long as they can keep the cost to the end-of-the-line consumer low, they can make a healthy profit and dominate the market. Health, ecological impacts, worker safety and security, etc., are all secondary concerns.

      The defend their dominance of the market in this way by the bogus claim that they are providing a “choice.” As if people would choose to eat fatty, salt-laden, nutrient-deficient, environment-damaging, farm-worker-exploiting food if they really had a choice.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    When it comes to Monsanto, Salatin and I have no disagreement.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Except you probably buy your food from markets that buys Monsanto-designed crops.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    I LOVE the reference to Monsanto’s corrupt methods of coersion!

    The POOR examples by his detractors show the organized crime aspect.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Please ask Salatin how we can have equality of men and women in they system that he proposes?

    • Morgen from VT

      Why on earth would men and women not be equal on a farm?

    • Soli

      Having different jobs doesn’t mean people aren’t equal. One person doesn’t cook? The other cannot physically go out to work the land so there is something to cook. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Right–working in the kitchen is the same as those bothersome pursuits of running a company, being a polician, or developing new ideas.

        • Soli

          Maybe the problem is putting so little value on the home. Aren’t our current crop of politicians supposed to be “pro-family?”
          Kinda hard to do when, as Joel put it, home is a pit stop between everywhere else you’re supposed to be.

          • Soli

            incidentally, I say that as someone who is single and works full time.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      BOTH my grandparents worked our farm!  My grandmother helped hoe the weeds, take care of livestock, plant, harvest, and preserve the crops, when she wasn’t caring for children, tending the store, doing laundry, or any of many other chores of the farm, home, and store.  Grandpa barbered, cut timber, plowed the fields, delivered groceries, helped out on other farms, and did the other chores above.  Most of their children, and some grandchildren, learned and performed these tasks that put food in their bellies, and clothes on their backs.
      Women have performed ALL aspects of farm work!!  I can still introduce you to many here!

    • Melissa

      I know plenty of farms run entirely by women who do everything. 

  • Morgen from VT

    Joel has hit it right on the nose! We need to change the whole structure of our food system. He is right that there are thousands of young people who want to be farmers, I’m one of them! 
    The idea that industrial food is cheaper is a lie. We just allow big agriculture to not pay for the damage that they do to the environment, to their neighbors, the farmers themselves and to the consumers who get sick from eating this toxic industrial food.
    And as to the comment that GMO foods have never been proven to harm anyone, it’s a myth. The big chemical companies have done their best to squash any research that proves the harm that these food cause. But we will never be able to really see the true scope of the harm that these “foods” cause until we LABEL EVERY GMO INGREDIENT!!!!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      We’ve been modifying the genes of food organisms for millennia.  Are you aware that the grain plants that we eat produce more grains than their wild counterparts?  That’s genetic modification.  It’s called artifical selection.  GMO isn’t by itself a bad thing.

      • Soli

        There’s a BIG difference between things like hybridization and selective breeding and injecting things cross-species. There’s also evidence that GMOs do not break down in the body and lead to allergy issues.

        • Brett

          And, even before they hit our gullet (the Gmo’s produced by companies like Monsanto), the seeds are altered so the plant can resist certain pests/diseases, but in a different way than natural selecting/hybridizing. 

          For one, farmers can NOT save seed stocks (the GMO seed is the intellectual property of the chemical company), a practice counter to what has been going on since humans became farmers, and it is the best way to ensure health in the plants. 

          Another big downside to modified seed stocks is that, say, a particular seed is modified to produce a plant formerly attractive to a certain pesky fauna, but now, because of the modification, not so much, and that plant’s pests’ natural predators (that may also eat other pests/provide sustenance for another type of fauna farther up the food chain) are gone because they have nothing to dine on, and so on. This starts a ripple effect in the food chain and upsets the ecological balance. 

          The big chemical companies all have contracts with companies like McDonald’s (the world’s largest single purchaser of potatoes) to ensure that the growers they purchase their potatoes from use the prescribed pesticide and application schedule (e.g., what Monsanto might prescribe to stop the spread of a fungus, or aphid infestation, etc.). Chemical companies often resort to “Pinkerton methods” (to borrow a phrase from the moment in time in the industrial age when robber barons employed thugs to spy on workers and break up any attempts to organize/unionize). So, if a farmer does not completely follow the prescribed pesticide methods put forth by the chemical company supplying the pesticides/the farmer is saving seeds, he/she will not be able to sell to their usual customers (e.g., McDonald’s), and I’m putting it as pleasantly as I can…It’s a racket that any Mafia don would be proud of!      

      • Morgen from VT

        We have been breeding plants for thousands of years, there is a difference! Taking a gene from an animal and putting it into a plant is completely new. And there are studies that prove that GMO foods change the way that we absorb and digest our foods. These foods are being altered to produce pesticide (like Bt), and you think that eating corn that is full of Bt doesn’t effect your health?!?!?
        There was a study done at Harvard that showed that if you let bees eat pollen from GMO plants 40% of them died! Bees are a crucial part of our food system that cannot be replaced by man and his technology.
        Regardless of what you personally think of GMO’s safety, don’t you think we all have the RIGHT to choose to eat it, or not? If you want to eat it that should be your choice. But we should all have the choice to not eat it or feed it to our children!

      • nj

        Apparently ignorant of basic science, Mr Camp should stick to his recently demonstrated strength—baselessly criticizing people who are exercising their constitutional rights trying to improve our democracy.

        The simple-minded comparison (equation, actually) of modern genetic engineering—which can places genes from one species immediately into another species in a way that is simply impossible by any natural mechanism—to traditional plant breeding is a bit like saying that completely remodeling a house is about the same as giving it a new coat of paint.

        Traditional breeding cannot introduce genes that are foreign to the species. Traditional breeding does not artificially manipulate genetic material. Traditional breeding does not disrupt the natural genetic sequencing. 

        The wider effects of modern genetic engineering and mostly unknown. This is a vast and dangerous experiment, without proper constraints or regulation.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          Amen brother.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dayle.stratton Dayle Ann Stratton

    You don’t have to have a lot of money to eat well on locally produced, ecologically produced food.  I eat well on a low-budget by shopping at local coop, farmer’s markets and farmstands.  I am healthier as a result.  City dwellers either have or can develop the same kind of food system by building consumer links to local farmers, through coops, urban conversion, direct buying from local farmers.  The excuse that consumers are driving the current system is hogwash.  The current system was the result of Earl Butz’s corporate farm vision that is still influencing how government approaches ag. research and support.  It is a fallacy that farming has to depend on the corporate model to survive.  Small farms do better financially with a positive impact both on the environment and communities.  Soybeans are an example of a system gone wrong, GMO or not. I feel sorry for farmers who have become so dependant on big corporations that they have lost contact with the long-term health and sustainability of their own land. I am retired now, but as a professional, I have personally seen farmers change their view of farming, and watched their land change and become healthy and productive.  I have seen farmers’ lives change along with their land.  Listening to these people talk at ag conferences was moving.  All of them said they wish they had made the change a long time ago.   

  • Designerofgreens

    Round-Up chelates chemicals (ties them up) so that is how the plants are poisoned. If you eat Round-Up ready plants, they too have a lack of minerals, as the ground around them is sprayed with Round-up so that weeds do not grow. Basic weed science tells us that weeds are taking advantage of soils/conditions that are deprived of certain minerals/amendments. 

    We just need to return to commonsense agriculture and life-styles – just as Mr. Salatin is demonstrating! Thanks Joel!

  • Se21

    My partner just decided to go back to school (after a previous degree in political science) to study sustainable agriculture. He works in the organic research farm at our university and they are doing some really exciting research so that farmers can diversify their crops and better their soil while still producing the same or more yield. Further, they hold many events, provide a CSA, and encourage people to visit the farm to learn about the research and how to better understand their food.  And they’ve been working to disseminate the research to farmers throughout the state. It’s such positive work to help farmers (like one of the callers) better their practices. We’ve now been canning, freezing, turning our small apartment’s fire escape into mini garden for fresh herbs, etc. People all across the city are raising chickens and bees in their backyard (tiny backyards). Best of all, everyone we’ve met involved in learning about and growing their own food is happy and really have great standards for what a quality life is.Call your local extension office, yay!

  • Brianc_richardson

    Joel,  I am trying to make the leap albeit slowly in small town Vermont but how do we ever get around or work through the USDA/FDA government requirements for small farmers? Brian R

    • Morgen from VT

      We are blessed to live in VT where there is support for a local food system. Take the time to talk to your local legislators. For example, my state rep supports the bill to label GMO fish, does yours?

  • Lby80

    I live in the Northern Adirondacks, NY  We have less than 70 frost free growing days per year and I see more and more people growing their own food here.  Less than two weeks ago was the premiere  of “Small Farm Rising” a PBS documentary of three first generation farmers in the Adirondacks who are making it!  I highly recommend it, it is inspiring especially in a region where it is very, very difficult to grow.  “Adirondack” means “Bark-eater” for the Native Americans who got snowed in here and were forced to eat bark to survive!  Here is the link to the documentary.  http://www.smallfarmrising.com/?p=5

  • Debgolding

    I’m in public health, we know this generation of children will have a shorter life expectency then their parents. I believe this is a direct reflection of what we feed our children and the near total lack of their connection to nature. deb

  • http://www.pandcworganicfarm.blogspot.com Cynthia

    Thank you so much for this show. Unfortunately, I only caught the beginning, then a piece toward the end; however, I have Salatin’s book on my couch and am dipping into it as time allows. I came to farming three years ago, leaving behind suburbia. I’ve tried to stay organic (although I do vaccinate and use wormers when indicated) and thoroughly enjoy the products. More recently I have been learning about nutrition and am thoroughly sold on locally grown, naturally raised food from farmers I know. The shift from buying for cost and convenience to eating food for my body has been huge for me. I have learned so much that I am looking into schools to become certified in naturopathic nutrition counseling or coaching, to enable me to share with others. (My journey has been sporadically documented at pandcwfarm .blogspot .com. Please join me there to continue the conversation if you so desire.)

    I realize that most people do not have the luxury of growing their own food; however, most communities do have farmers markets. Support your local farmer. (Do ask questions about how the food was grown or raised and from where it comes.) The food tastes better, is better for you, and brings you a step closer to the land.

    Thank you.

  • Canis_major

    Thank you, Joel, for increasing awareness in a culture oblivious to commercial toxins. The KY farmer who said that salt is more toxic than Roundup has apparently inhaled too much Roundup.

  • nj

    I haven’t read all the comments, yet, so i’m not sure if someone has already refuted caller Kentucky farmer’s assertion that there is absolutely (i believe he used that word) there is no evidence that genetically engineered food causes any health problems. This is clearly and demonstrably false.

    http://healthfreedoms.org/2009/07/01/doctors-warn-avoid-genetically-modified-food-2/

    http://www.responsibletechnology.org/

    http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?id=11808:study-proves-three-monsanto-corn-varieties-noxiousness-to-the-organism&option=com_content&view=article

    Are supporters of genetic engineering this ignorant of the science, or are they deliberately lying?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Your sources are questionable, making all manner of fringe claims.

      I’m not saying that GMOs are entirely safe, but they aren’t inherently a bad idea.  So long as the proper safety considerations are in place, GMOs can create improvements in food and other agricultural products.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Please show where these ENTIRELY safe and secluded GMO crops are!  If they contaminate an Organic crop, the Organic crop loses it’s Organic Certification for years.  Do the GMOs pay ALL expenses of their victims?  Monsanto and others sue their victims!

      • NHDem

        Joel asked if it’s right that Monsanto can sue an organic farmer, when the farmer was happily growing organic soybeans, but his crops were infiltrated by Monsanto GM soybeans. Now the farmer has GM soybeans and is under threat of a lawsuit.   There are no barriers to protect the organic farmer from GM crops.  I agree with Joel. Monsanto has essentially taken over the soybean crop.  Do we want a huge corporation to ‘own’ seeds?  Kind of scary.

      • nj

        For someone who claims or pretends to be an educated person, it’s hard to know what to make of Mr Camp’s dismissive claim that the sources cited are “questionable,” when it’s clear that he didn’t read any of them.

        I could fill a page with studies that indicate issues with GE food. Many are listed at the end of this article:

        http://www.responsibletechnology.org/docs/145.pdf

        Despite industry claims, the fact is that there are few to no “improvements” in food from genetic hacking. In most cases, the downsides and potential problems have the potential to overwhelm the benefits. In some cases, these problems (herbicide and insecticide resistance) are already evident.

        It’s curious that on the one hand Mr Camp grumbles about the horror of having to wade through too many healthy food options to find the fat- and salt-laden processed crap he presumably prefers, yet he cursorily dismisses studies which call into question the safety of  genetically engineered foods that risk creating ecological havoc and contaminating our wider food source.

        Such stunning greed and short-sightedness.

         

      • Morgen from VT

        Since when was Harvard “fringe”? There aren’t proper safety considerations in place. GMO’s never received the kind of rigorous study that you would see for a new drug or vaccine. The company’s that own them, mainly monsanto, lobbied successful to the FDA to have GMO’s ruled as substantially equivalent to conventional crops so that they would not be regulated or even labeled. FDA scientists resigned in protest. All current “safety” procedures are voluntary. GMO’s do not have to be labeled. Farmers don’t have to tell their neighbors if they grow GMO crops in most cases.
        The idea of improving on nature is an admirable one. But the facts are that these companies have not chosen to use this technology to improve anything but their profit margins. The have not made plants that are drought resistant, or that have a better nutritional profile. They haven’t improved yields. What they have done is altered these plants to tolerate tons of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. That they just happen to sell. Their GMO plants quite often require to be sprayed more than conventional crops. On top of that, it encourages farmer to grow the same crop in the same field each year. This makes the soil massively deficient. The plants become susceptible to all kinds of diseases. What do the farmers do? Tons and tons of chemical fertilizer every year. Which the rain washes into our ground water and streams and rivers. It pollutes our water and has created a dead zone in the gulf of mexico where nothing can survive.To me that sounds like a pretty bad idea.

    • Morgen from VT

      Am I the only one who thinks the answer to the question where are all the bees going is GMO foods?

  • bre

    There are plenty of young people eager to start farming – this is a very exciting time to be in the organic movement! At a conference in Saratoga Springs last year, I was amazed to find my demographic (50 years old) strongly outnumbered by 20-30 year-olds. The future is looking good!

  • NHDem

    After gardening all summer, we can and freeze our bounty.  Having  quarts of tomatoes and pickles, corn relish, frozen berries and applesauce is very reassuring.   And come January, they are a real treat, and I don’t have to drive to the supermarket.   

  • JustSayin

    Two comments.

    First, farm subsidies destroyed farming south of the border, and that was its intent. The bonus was illegals migrating north to work US subsidized mega farms, and a continuous stream of cash from the tax base.

    Second. The author claims that cattle eating chickens is abnormal, and I agree. But he is feeding his chickens Menhaden. I know that the Bush family had Congress pass a law back in the 70′s to make it illegal to feed soybeans to chickens, and hence the Bush family’s Menhaden fleet had a windfall profit at the expense of collapsing all of the Atlantic fisheries.But it is not natural for chickens to be eating Atlantic Menhaden…Unless they are chickens of the sea.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

    Nature may bat last, but it hits really hard.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

    Perhaps we need to end TV commercials along with ending farm subsidies so that the American consumers will actually have to come up with their own ideas of what they want to consume, rather than just being programmed by endless suggestions put out by whoever made the money yesterday to pay for those ads today.

  • CRose

    Thank you! I am ready! I’d like to be a farmer someday! Maybe not commercially…… but I agree – this is the time!

    • bre

      I had always wanted to be a farmer, and I finally became one. Do it – you won’t regret your choice!

  • Quadraticus

    Knowing where all your food comes from, understanding every ingredient and its purpose, and producing as much of it locally and ethically and pesticide-free as possible are all good things. But division of labor exists for a reason: because it makes the most efficient use of resources. I don’t want to spend 8 hours a day producing my own food because that leaves me with less free time and no free income for pursuing what makes me happy. I do what I’m good at and with the income from that I pay other people who are better at farming.

    • Shag9y

      Yes, it’s good to know that fast food joints put antibiotics in meat to avoid front page articles about bacterial deaths and then it diminshes the human immune system by killing intestinal flora of whoever eats that meat.  Then you too need antibiotics because those good bacteria keep you well and now you are stuck in using your time visiting doctors.  That’s the cycle to break from!

  • your listener

    I agree with all his philosophy, and like to find out how to pursue his practice from tiny scale of backyard/suburban farming.  What could be a bummer is the restriction of some home owner’s assoc., some home owners’s assoc. has become such anal to deal with.  I’m not looking at raising live stocks, just some self sufficient veg. and fruits.  It’s not as easy and sound as real practice, some of houses are not suited because of insufficient sunlight in their backyard/sideyard, and to make changes, it requires lots of money to make renovation to suit.
    But he’s right, any adaptation & change of infrastructure and lifestyle will cause disturbance, it takes individual determination and money, often times, people are not equipped with both.  For me, I love my laptop, can’t give up that yet, but like to grow my own veggies and fruit, and still hope to contribute to this new movement.

    ps.  Again the cliche of “consumer choices” and “market driven base” rhetorics always bring us back to square one and stall the movement.

  • Dave

    I agree with Joe, however not enough of us have the means to raise enough…need land and equipment. Not to mention local regulation. Genetically altered seeds will adapt and spread(fact) infecting organic seeds. Will the nation seed bank have enough of our originals to stay the vanishing natural seeds. I believe we commercially grow 4-20 types of maze. Mexico has more than 260 types and had to stay off our last disease spread. Joe’s philosophy is “point on”, still takes dedication not to take the transgenic modification. Affordability of Joe’s method is initially pricey. However, like solar panel and large screen tv’s… supply and demand will lower it over time. Dedication, dedication, dedication. Stop the subsidies… make them grow whats need.

  • Alex

    I am 24 and my boyfriend is 26. We try to buy local food and make a lot of things from scratch and hope to eventually have a garden. I support Joel’s message and I try to be an evangelist for local food (health, energy, environment, animal reasons etc.) My question is how do I convince my parents and my boyfriend’s parents (age 58-60) that this is what they should be doing too? We hear “we just don’t want to know the bad reason” from our parents even though my mother had a garden and bought local food in the 80′s.

    • http://www.facebook.com/trhuggins Trevor Huggins

      I think convincing you and your boyfriend’s parents is a waste of your good time and energy. If doing what you do is worthwhile then they will see it simply as a part of your actions and the role you take. You don’t need to evangelize something as good as this.

  • Anonymous

    We have a herd of 18 cattle, 4 pigs, 40 chickens, sheep and goats. We own 3 acres in Southborough, MA. We make it work by licensing a 30+ acre pasture from the town. We rotate the cows on 6 paddocks, the pigs  on a small pasture, the chickens are allowed to range or in a tractor on fresh grass everyday. This is all possible. My wife and I had no farm background. You just have to start.

    • Shag9y

      we have 6 chickens and one lizard.  no experience here either.  Butchered one of the chickens last month and now I know what they mean by the expression, tough bird.  haven’t cooked the lizard yet.  looks a little tough too.

      • your listener

        So… tell me, do you like the taste of a tough bird?  Do you plan on butcher another one?

  • markie

    What a joke. Nothing is normal nor sustainable with 7 billion humans crawling all over the planet with well over two biliion going to bed hungry for want of a bowl of rice. Oh that’s right, we are not in the midst of the Sixth Great Known Extinction.

    • Shag9y

      calm down markie.  I mean seriously!

      • I1pp4u

        lol. can you comprehend delusional. If not look in the mirror and contemplate.

  • your listener

    I don’t think everyone should take Joel’s practice religiously, this is more for farmers interested in farming business.  As for average Joe like me, his practice is good for raising awareness, such as other likewise movies and books.  Simply knowing how/where our foods grow and come from, is a good start to “not waste” our foods, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life.  That way we can join not to support bad feeding, inhumane treatment of live stocks.

    • Shag9y

      Not your average Joel, you mean.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

    You don’t need a gym membership if you have compost piles to turn and wheel barrows to wheel. 

    • Shag9y

      I removed the wheel from my wheelbarrow.  Great for the biceps!

  • http://www.facebook.com/trhuggins Trevor Huggins

    I heard Joel on the radio today and have been reading his books for three years now. I think he is right in line with a way of life that is humbly rewarding. Calling for sacrifice in the face of health, giving of video games to spend time in the kitchen canning applesauce. for example. Of course we all want to have fun and games are one way to find joy in life, but if we must play games that don’t allow for other benefits than that joy is short lived. Listening to the radio, however, while canning applesauce is one way to find joy in learning, while working to extend the harvest.

  • Joelken

    Pardon me for being slow, but why do we let the FDA get away without requiring GMO (Genetic Modified Organism) food to be labeled? Where is our freedom of Choices?

    • your listener

      I heard the reasons for not doing that, but forgot exactly.  My guess is the lobbying against by some food corporations like Monsanto?

      If people want to debate not enough scientific proof for GMO’s negative effect on human and animals, how about a simple fact that the practice of GMO and patenting seeds are the results of the lack of bio-diversity, this is undoubtedly a solid fact proves GMO and patenting seeds are BAD practices.

      • Shag9y

        don’t forget the national rise in cancer rates from a cancer mortality rate of one in 20 in 1900 to one in 3 today.  Other nations on our planet today have a cancer rate of 1 in 20.  What kills us is the scientific notions of clinical testing.  The planet is a clinical test and comparing illness rates among nations (The China Study) (and Inside Poop) is meaningful and predictive.  It’s not just about bio-diversity, but about not getting a bad news phone call from your doctor.

    • JustSayin

      Congress represents corporate America. The people have no representation at all.

      • Joelken

        Why do we allow that? Lets vote all these so Call “Law makers” out off office.
        They were put in there to writing proposals on the issues we raised, choose what’s important…BUT NOT TO DECIDED IT! We, the PEOPLE SUPPOSE TO DECIDE IT. Law writers are what they should, not Makers!!

    • nj

      Obummer’s corporate pals run the show now. Choice is fine as long as it doesn’t impinge on profits.

      • Anonymous

        http://www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_food_safety/006531.html

        It was the Bush administration (not that Obama has reversed it):

        January 15, 2009 — Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, today said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blatantly ignored consumers’ right to choose what they eat after the FDA announced that it will not require labeling on meat or fish from genetically engineered animals.
        The Bush administration, which is in charge of the FDA for just two more working days, today announced Final Guidance on Regulation of Genetically Engineered Animals.

        • Joelken

          Bush contributed soo much onto our “State Failures”, its un-countable.
          Wall Street Protesting should include all these “STATE FAILURES”
          1. Big debts
          2. Environmental destruction
          3. SEC not regulating the  financial industries, leading to the these meltdowns we are in.
          4. FDA in bed with the Genetic people, denied our freedom of Choices.
          5. Congress and House of Representatives both are total dysfunctional.
          6. Who let Banks got away with all those non qualifying mortgages Loan.

          Remove all these people to start our recovery.

    • your listener

      Exactly, good question for Bob Stallman to answer, wonder what he’s going to say when he beats the drums on “consumer’s choices”.

  • Fellowworkersfarm

    ***LOVE!!!***

  • Roy Mac

    Joel says he’s picking 8 interns.  Are those paid internships?

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

    In general, I would just like to know more about something I’m expected to eat when it’s been chemically manipulated in any way. I feel like there is a problem with how information is disseminated in general in this country. We should be hearing more stories about issues like this one (and should have more programs like On Point), because when something effects everyone’s health, we should be taking more time to discuss it. 

    The documentary Fresh explores both livestock and grain growing in America. I highly suggest it for anyone who enjoyed todays show. It also addresses the issue of how economical mid-sized organic farming can be when you start to factor in the cost of all of the antibiotics, steroids, and veterinary bills. 

  • Miguel Checa

    Hello, Jane & Tom. The Farm Bureau fellow who –very predictably– opposed Joel Salatin’s big picture for a healthy and truly environmentally sustainable food sector said something to the effect that nobody knows what sustainability means. How misinformed!!! Please educate him with two sound, systematic, operational definitions of environmental sustainability:
    (1) American Planning Association’s Policy Guide on Planning for Sustainability (http://www.planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/sustainability.htm)   and
    (2) http://www.thenaturalstep.org
    The Farm Bureau’s addiction to subsidies, petrochemical inputs, and artificially low oil prices is a big part of the problem. Our biosphere, ecosystems’ and human health, and socioeconomic well-being beg for prompt solutions.

  • http://www.longlifesecurity.org Prince Pieray Awele Odor

    I missed the interview of the farmer and philosopher on Organic/SAFE foods, Joel. What I must share is my response to the claim by someone  that it has not been shown that GM foods are harmful or that no one has been harmed by GM food. I ask him to  give us ONE–only one–GM food that has been certified safe anywhere in the world including, especially, in the USA, after independent safety study; and give us the name of the safety study group, peer reviewer and the journal that published it. That is the beginning and NOT the end. It is consistent with the Precautionary Principle. If he gives us the evidence, I WILL–not shall–give evidences that say that he is a liar or is ignorant and evidences that  GM foods are toxic or allergenic and have reduced levels of nutrients. The evidences caused me to generalise by creating the descriptive expression Generally Toxic, Allergenic and Less Nutrient Foods in the place of GM foods.  
    Prince Pieray Awele odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

    • David Kays

      I’m part way through a fantastic history/who dunit book covering your concerns. ‘Seeds of Deception’ by Jeffrey Smith, exposing industry & government lies about the safety of genetically engineered foods you are eating. Estimates over 60% of food consumed in the US contains some form of GE material. http://www.seedsofdeception.com
      The ‘information challenge’ experienced in the US is the near gagging of their media & large $ funding of universities has skewd the direction of research & modification of results prior to publication.
       
      ‘Follow the money’ is the key to checking out where funding is comming from to determine just how ballanced any study is.
      David Kay
      New Zealand

      • http://www.longlifesecurity.org Prince Pieray Awele Odor

        The reply by Mr. David Kay is not clear to me: Does he mean by “covering your concerns” that he will provide evidence that GM foods are safe? or that he will corroborate my CATEGORICAL ASSERTION (which he calls “concern”) that NO GM food has been certified safe anywhere in the world, not even in the USA, according to the rules for GM food safety study, by an independent (non-politically and no-commercially motivated) group of expert toxicologists and nutritionists who are moral or loyal to the public?

        Prince  Pieray Awele Odor

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  • Jane in MA

    The idea that consumers do the demanding – “this is just what they want” – and the businesses “just listen” or dialogue with them about it is flawed. Yes, people vote with their money and with reponses to polls, but you cannot underestimate the effects of ADVERTISING. If you are told that organic local food is an extravagent, for-rich-preppy-foodies thing, and that the economies of scale is good for everyone, then you might not “vote” for local and organic. As Joel said, there are hidden, externalized costs to quick-and-cheap food, and the more we know about those hidden costs (pollution, etc) the better.

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Jul 24, 2014
Youths seen playing basketball through bars on a window at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Ethan Allen School in Wales, Wis. (AP file)

The cold hard facts about juvenile prisons. And the case for shutting them all down. Plus: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is with us.

Jul 24, 2014
Nickel Creek

After a 7-year hiatus, progressive folk trio Nickel Creek is back together. We’ll hear from them and their latest album, “A Dotted Line.”

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Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

 
Jul 23, 2014
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Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

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Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
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As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

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Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe joined us today with a few fixes for American political inaction.

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Future Radio Interns Of America: On Point Wants YOU!
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

On Point needs interns for the fall. Could YOU be one of them?

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