Introducing Home Remedies Month and My Thoughts on Meeting Joel Salatin

natural home remedies month at KOTH

I’m so excited to announce to you the theme for October here at Keeper of the Home!

All month, the great majority of the posts from both myself and my contributing writers will focus on simple, safe and effective home remedies or preventative measures that you can take to avoid getting sick.

Every mama needs to know that avoiding the Tylenol, Vaporub or antibiotics this winter is easier than she might think. We’ll have posts on cold and flu prevention (and even cavity prevention), children’s remedies, homeopathics, cough syrup recipes, using herbs and more! The line up is absolutely amazing and I know that you will want to check back each day throughout October to see what’s new.

On November 1st, to cap off this month’s focus on natural remedies, I will be hosting a carnival for everyone who wants to share any home remedies or prevention tips that they have shared on their own blogs. More to come on that, but put the date in your calendar…

me with joel salatin

Meeting Joel Salatin

This past Saturday, I was very fortunate to meet a man I greatly admire, farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia . My darling husband bought me tickets to attend a special dinner with Joel and then I went to a local university to listen to his lecture on “lunatic farming”.

First, a glimpse into what Joel Salatin and his family do at Polyface Farms as they raise what he calls “salad bar beef” and other pastured poultry and eggs:

I was a bit surprised to find something unexpected welling up in me as he showed pictures and described his style of farming, as shown in the video : worship of our magnificent Creator. The one who made these unique and even laughable creatures, in such a perfect, obviously-ordained way that makes Joel’s common sense system work so smoothly. God’s ways are best, and He truly has made His creatures and the earth to work together in unmatchably harmonious and beautiful ways.

I was hopeful that I could write a post that could begin to capture what Joel had to say. When I arrived back home and began to tell my husband all about the evening, I saw that I had written over 6 full pages of notes, and decided that I might do better to give you a few soundbites instead. :)

(And I do apologize that these may not be exactly as he phrased them– I was writing furiously but he’s a man who has a lot to say and not enough time to say it all!)

Soundbites from Joel Salatin

“Are we overrunning our headlights? We go too far in our innovation, beyond what we can spiritually, morally, ethically support…. (Just) because we can, should we? The most precious things in life (children, family, the future, life) that we can’t quantify on a bank sheet don’t get taken into account. What we have is technology run amuck.

“We have a populous that doesn’t know how to cook. Every woman used to know how to cut up a chicken, now most don’t even know that chickens have bones. ” (Over dinner he told me that our society is full of “culinary ignorance”, which I thought was a great term!)

“Food safety is entirely subjective. It’s okay to feed kids Cocoa Puffs and Wonder Bread (according to the government) but raw milk and tomatoes grown in compost are bad. (Ultimately) it’s about which science you believe. Food safety is about faith, but faith in who?

“Who owns our bodies, our 3 trillion member community (of cells, bacteria, etc.)? Does it make sense to be able to practice our religious freedom, but not practice freedom over our own body? If I don’t have the freedom to hurt myself, I don’t have the freedom to help myself. When we give over our freedom to an outside entity/institution, we allow them to control our lives… Local food is too expensive because of capricious, malicious, police legislation that is being controlled by the government, determining what is safe for us to eat.”

The (conventional food) industry fears food freedom, because we would drive them all out of business.”

“Government is there to preserve the status quo. Innovation will never come from the government! It must come from us, from the ground up, from the individual choices we make. We can’t look at the big picture or we’ll make ourselves crazy. We can wrap our head around what I’m going to eat tomorrow. Together, with these kinds of choices, we can create inertia. We can leave the world better than we found it.”

I rarely talk government on my blog (everyone has their no-blogging subjects, and this is one of mine), but I couldn’t resist posting some of what this conservative, Christian, libertarian, lunatic farmer had to say on the topic, because, well… I agree with him a lot. You probably won’t hear me get into it again for a long time (and I only just touched the surface), but if you’ve ever wondered, well now you know a few of my views on the subject!

One last subject that I asked Joel about during dinner was the question of whether this type of farming could actually produce enough food to feed the world (a question from a reader)… his answer was absolutely yes, and that it was one of his favorite questions! He said that the issue really isn’t whether we could make enough, because in fact, we are already making so much more than enough to feed the world.

The problem, he said, is all of the other factors that stand in the way of those who need the food getting the food: issues of politics, economics, poverty, corporations, Monsanto, etc. I don’t remember the numbers he quote, but he said that the US wastes (I might be getting this wrong) but I think it was over half of the food that they produce. Literally, it wastes and rots and becomes useless.

Switching to grass-fed farming will reduce production a little (but he did say not much, because of all the land that is suitable for raising animals, and NOT for growing crops, as well as taking into account all of the grain that must be grown to feed grain-raised crops, as opposed to raising them on a completely sustainable feed like grass).

The very next day, I happened upon this post which is a longer version of the very points that Joel was making to me (there’s just a teeny bit of language in it, otherwise it’s quite good).

Phew… my best attempt to synthesize a whole lot of thoughts into one decent length post! Hopefully I succeeded and gave you some food for thought.

Which Joel Salatin quote did you like or relate to the most, and why?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. I like everything he has to say, but this is my favorite:
    “Food safety is entirely subjective. It’s okay to feed kids Cocoa Puffs and Wonder Bread (according to the government) but raw milk and tomatoes grown in compost are bad. (Ultimately) it’s about which science you believe. Food safety is about faith, but faith in who?”

    It starts and ENDS with a bang!

  2. I first was introduced to this man’s way of thinking from watching Food, Inc. My eyes are definitely being opened!!!! I totally agree with eating more healthy and I have been looking for grass fed animals to buy their meat.

  3. Tricia Smeding says:

    Yup, totally all for the culinary ignorance piece… I feel like I’m starting at the very bottom with learning how to feed a family healthy foods. Looking forward to hearing more from this guy. I found myself totally agreeing. And I never thought about the fact that we have enough food in the world, just that we misuse it. So sad.

  4. I’ve heard Mr. Salatin on some CD’s we have as well as his interview on the documentary ‘Fresh’. Wow! I like the Biblical philosophy that he shares.
    We live in Utah and just don’t have that lush, green Virginia grass, but our chickens seem to be surviving on what they can find in our neck of the woods. Hope to incorporate more of his principles…THANKS for sharing~lots to ponder!

  5. What a treat that must have been for you! I wish he would come out here to Iowa! Looking forward to the remedy share carnival as well!

  6. So happy you had the opportunity to hear and meet Mr. Salatin. I heard him last Sunday on the island–for the third time! He’s the real deal as far as real food and he has an important message to give. I hope everyone is listening! More important than any doctor or naturopath/wholistic healer, is a farmer for healing. And as Shannon stated above, it’s about us not a method or system; you and me, growing and raising as much of our food as possible because the larger systems are very broken and the government is very mistaken. The only way to change begins in our own backyards. Joel gave some alarming statstic about the millions of acres growing in lawns in the US. We’ll wait generations for agriculture to change…it’s up to us! Go forth and plant and raise.

  7. Great post! I was able to hear Joel speak several months ago, and he is incredibly inspirational. Thank you for posting some of his quotes, as I wasn’t taking notes and should have been!

    Also, thank you for linking my post on The Production Myth. You’re right, there was an eensy bit of language, which I don’t typically use (especially in my professional blog). It’s a measure of my frustration at not being able to get through to people who’ve been indoctrinated by Corporate Ag that I feel I have to use some kind of shock value to get their attention (which, as an aside, worked–I am both glad it did, and incredibly sad that I was correct in assuming that would do the trick).

    I look forward to reading more of your blog, especially your upcoming month of Home Remedies!

  8. Culinary ignorance.

    That’s when school age children on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution don’t know the difference between a tomato and a potato, and can’t put a name to eggplant. I didn’t know what fresh spinach looked like until I got to college! Not saying my mother didn’t care about nutrition, I just think people are becoming more aware what modern “food-like substances” (to borrow a term from Michael Pollan) is doing to us.

  9. Wow, this is great! I love how at the end of the video he talks about the way parents & society diminish the role of a true farmer. It’s good to see that USA today covered this, but we have such a long way to go. Where I live you can’t even get free range meats for a few hundred miles and we have thousands upon thousands of rural acres – why don’t they use them for something worthwhile!

  10. Thank you for this post. I learned about Joel when I read the Omnivores Dilemma and this book along with Animal Vegetable Miracle reconvinced me to live closer to the local land and that I was raising my kids the best way i could. Although I live in the city we have 5 chickens, pots full of food, and work for a local food CSA so that we can get local veggies June-March (we work it so that the share is free- making it a cheap way to eat as well.) It’s also important to remember that Organic can sometimes be as bad as Conventional and we need to be thoughtful about who we are buying from and how long the food traveled to get to us. I love that my kids know where their food came from and I hate when I have to say ‘from a box’ or ‘California’ when they ask. Now at every dinner my husband asks “what are we eating here?” and we go through where each ingredient came from. It’s a form of grace for us, and we remember to thank God and the cooks as well!

  11. “We have a populous that doesn’t know how to cook”

    So sad, but SO true! And the people at fault are parents who don’t take the time to teach their children HOW to cook because we’re so busy we don’t take TIME to cook. I’m so glad my mother cooked all the meals and she taught me to cook and now I’m teaching my kids to cook. I want them to know more than to reheat precooked frozen foods, I want them to know more than to but some chicken breasts in the oven.

    I cringe when I hear people say they don’t know how to cook. It’s never to late to stop the cycle of processed eating.

  12. His quote, “If I don’t have the freedom to hurt myself, I don’t have the freedom to help myself” could have come from my own mouth. I like this man, and will have to check him out more. Go Stephanie for all of your furious scribblings!

    I like how this can also apply to my view of sustainable healthcare in lieu of unquestioned conventional medicine. We do have a choice, and more people need to be informed how God has blessed us with wisdom to heal and prevent illness in more settings than strictly a doctors office or hospital! I’m feelin
    your monthly theme here for October…I’m soaring on the same wavelength over at my “place”. Blessings!

  13. Looking forward to the month on home remedies. I really like Joel Salatin as well. I think that sometimes we are asking the wrong questions, though. We are always asking if we could feed the world on grass-fed farms instead of conventional farms. It seems like that questions assumes that we should all keep our same lifestyles of relying on other farmers to grow our food for us while we specialize in whatever it is we want.

    What about a more agrarian approach where everyone, even the doctor, takes a more responsible approach to feeding their family. Giving up the suburban or city lifestyle for a very small piece of land where you can grow your own vegetables and maybe raise chickens and/or a dairy animal is a much more sustainable approach.

    When I traveled to Ireland there were big cities just like ours which we past through. But once you got out of the city nearly every home that you passed, even in a more “suburban” setting, had a garden, cow, and chickens in their very small yard. It is a priority because they still hold on to common sense.

  14. Good post! I also agree with everything he/you said. My husband and I have long been interested, research, make choices based upon all this information.
    Another good read about this topic is Radical Homemakers. You may have seen this book all over blog-land, but I found it fascinating (Statistics). The autho, imo, is an unlikely homemaker but her logical reasons for living this way are just numerous and SO TRUE. I encourage you to read it whenever you have a chance. You can read my review of it here to see if you’d like it: http://ssmast.blogspot.com/2010/09/book-review-radical-homemakers.html

    Sarah M

  15. “”Are we overrunning our headlights? We go too far in our innovation, beyond what we can spiritually, morally, ethically support…. (Just) because we can, should we? The most precious things in life (children, family, the future, life) that we can’t quantify on a bank sheet don’t get taken into account. What we have is technology run amuck.”

    Totally, completely one hundred percent with Mr. Salatin on this!!

  16. It’s so true that women of past generations knew so much more about basic cooking and baking than my generation (I’m 33) does. The ironic thing is that my mom knows…and I don’t. I’m not sure why I was never explicitly taught, other than I think it was because I grew up in the 80′s, at the height of convenience cooking. I had many servings of Hamburger Helper growing up. When I look at old cookbooks, everything published from the ’60′s on is a can of this and a box of that.

    I’m now trying to learn these basic skills (honestly, I am still not sure of the proper way to cut up a chicken!) but it would have been so much easier learning it as a young girl, when I didn’t have the responsibilities of a household to run, a husband and 14 month old to take care of.

  17. “Who owns our bodies, our 3 trillion member community (of cells, bacteria, etc.)? Does it make sense to be able to practice our religious freedom, but not practice freedom over our own body? If I don’t have the freedom to hurt myself, I don’t have the freedom to help myself. When we give over our freedom to an outside entity/institution, we allow them to control our lives… Local food is too expensive because of capricious, malicious, police legislation that is being controlled by the government, determining what is safe for us to eat.”

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for sharing all of this. My husband will jump for joy. too. If only people would want to know how things really are instead of choosing to stay ignorant (know many who do), change could happen. This is my husband’s passion (the gov’t issue)–to understand the times and to help others understand, too.

    And I’m *slightly* jealous you go to hear him speak and met him! :)

    • @Kelly, I love this quote too!
      I enjoyed watching the video about him and reading what you had to say. His style of farming reminds me a lot of my dads.

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