Suggested Reading: Folks, This Ain't Normal

February 13, 2013

I was drawn to this this book by its cover, which is so not how you should pick books, but there you have it.
I liked the image of the hen next to the big egg wrapping the quote “Folks This Ain’t Normal”, followed by the claim “A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
A hen, an egg, a farmer, happier people and a better world? I was totally sold.
The author’s name - Joel Salatin - didn’t ring a bell, but It didn’t matter.
After a matter of minutes, I was already flipping to the first page during my subway ride home.
The thing that surprised me as I was reading it, is that the cover is the least awesome thing about this book. I literally devoured the pages in a couple of days.

Salatin runs Polyface, Inc., a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based and (beyond) organic farm.
His true love for farming transpires right from the first sentence. He was born, raised, lives and will live at Polyface. He created a model for sustainable farming and turned it into a successful business.
When he talks about it, you can feel that it’s a part of him. There’s no Salatin without Polyface and there’s no Polyface without Salatin.
He has put his heart and his arms in it. The arms that have labored the soil and raised livestock for decades.
Salatin is a strong advocate of natural and sustainable farming in contrast with intensive factory farming practices currently used to mass produce meat in the US.
With meticulous precision, he points all the flaws and inefficiencies of factory farming and the consequences that this can cause to our well-being.

His analysis doesn’t stop at a mere criticism of the faults of the current system. Salatin, at the end of each chapter, provides possible practical applications to elevate the issues.
He's honestly concerned about the quality of the food we eat. He clearly sees the reality of things and want to do something to redress part of the damage.
At times Salatin loses focus and starts rambling on the benefits of self responsibility and limited government. He attacks US politics, the judicial system and even President Lincoln. Dark spots of Liberal propaganda that can be distracting in what otherwise is a brilliant book.
When Salatin talks about the things he cares and loves, his prose shines and his arguments are strong and powerfully convincing.
If you care about the food you eat, and want to know more about how it is produced and where it comes from, then this book is for you.


  1. Sounds like a very interesting book

  2. This book is definitely on my list. I love Joel Salatin's perspective - imagine how different the world would be if our system followed in his footsteps? Crazy thought.

  3. This review got me very interested in the book...but, " dark spots of liberal propaganda", really? He can't express an opinion that aligns with the liberal school of political thought without his words being labeled as propaganda? Politics informs this country's laws and directly impacts our businesses and food culture. I don't see why Salatin expressing his opinions in this way is a drawback to the book.