Everything I Want to Do is Illegal

A book reccomendation

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So several months ago I came across this video which talks a bit about the book Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin. Salatin is a traditionalist farmer, so he knows how to grow healthy food in a socially and environmentally sustainable way, but government regulations prevent him from doing that. The book is, as I understand it, a collection of his personal stories of trying to jump through hoops designed to cripple and prevent him from farming in the way it has been done for essentially the whole of human history. In his words, "I want folks to leave these pages angry that they've been denied something righteous, something healthful. I want folks incensed that their government has sold our collective freedom birthright for a bowl of global corporate outsourced pottage." [1]

While I have no first hand experience with the sort of nonsense Salatin talks about I have seen it. Almost two years ago I wrote an essay on whether or not backyard beekeeping should be permitted. In researching for that essay I found a story where a county somewhere in the United States decided that the best way to protect a man's neighbors from his bees was to remove that man's ability to protect his neighbors from his bees. (Maybe one day I'll get ahold of that essay and put it, or a version edited to be more enertaining, on this site) I also once had the idea to gather a bunch of people who all raised chickens as a hobby and sell all the surplus eggs. (it is much easier to raise two-dozen chickens than it is to eat two-dozen eggs every day) I figured that since there is a growing population of people who value buying local food and the fair treatment of animals that there would surely be a market for such an idea. Fresh eggs from healthy chickens are of course tastier and healthier than their supermarket counterparts. But of course I could never start such a buisness because it would be illegal without spending thousands to comply to all the various regulations that exist and force the majority of Americans to eat inferior eggs. If everything was as heavily regulated as the food industry than I certainly would have to spend a lot more than the $5 a month I do to keep the server for this site up and to provide this content.

I started reading the book yesterday, I'm only a few chapters in but I've found it enjoyable so far (remember it's written by a farmer insead of some guy with a PhD, so it's not as dry as your typical non-fiction book). Because current events have pushed many people to be more skeptical of government regulations than usual I figgured it might be a good time to recomend it to others. The first chapter of the book is an essay Salatin wrote with the same name as the book, it is only a few pages an would probably also be a worthwile read for those of you who feel that you might have an allergic reaction to picking up a book. I found a copy of it here. I'd of course love to take a copy of that and edit it into a more readable format to host here, but that of course, while good intentioned, would be illegal.

[1] J. Salatin, Everything I want to do is illegal. Swoope, VA: Polyface Inc., 2007.