Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Joel Salatin Goes to Washington

I have seen this kicking around on a few different blogs and thought it would be good to draw attention to it again because I think it says a lot about the current state of our political class and of course agriculture. On June, 17th Joel Salatin was invited to Washington D.C. to be a part of the Green Jobs Leadership Summit. The event didn't turn out exactly as it was advertised, but what would you expect. By the end of the meeting Mr. Salatin had not been asked to say or do anything when he happened upon a comment line. Here is what he had to say (as best as he can remember):
"I'm amazed that after half a day of talk about green jobs and energy, I have not heard the word food, the word farm, or the word agriculture. I represent the local food movement and the pastured livestock movement, and we are tried of being marginalized, criminalized, and demonized by the USDA and this government. I'm a bioterrorist for letting my chickens run in the pasture. What good is it to have the freedom to own a gun, assemble, or worship if I can't choose the fuel to feed my internal 3 trillion member community of bacteria to give me the energy to go shoot, pray, or preach? I propose that we have a Constitutional Amendment that allows every American citizen the right to choose their food. Government bureaucrats should not come between my mouth and my 3 trillion member internal community."
I guess it is not exactly what they wanted to hear at the meeting (you can read Mr. Salatin's post here), and he was eventually cut off. But, since they invited him and told him that he would have a chance to speak I think they should have listened. I do love the passion with which Mr. Salatin speaks. He does not mince words and he likes to paint a pretty impressive picture of this very important topic.

I agree with him that we want to be talking about "green jobs" (I have a feeling "green jobs" are kind of a feel good term more than anything else) we need to start with our agricultural industry because you can't get much closer to "green" things than that. At the end of his post Mr. Salatin says, "Thus endeth Mr. Salatin going to Washington." While that may be true for a time, I think he can continue to grow his voice in the agricultural world and that he will be more and more influential as time passes by.

1 comment:

Yeoman said...

While I'm not as unreserved about Salatin in some ways, this is really a pretty significant window into a variety of things which are quite important. To sum them up, what I'd note, and what this helps demonstrate is this, I think:

1. Most of our problems are quite easily fixable. The solutions to most of what we're constantly worried about anymore, if we're paying attention, are right in front of our faces. Solving almost every single environmental problem, including the really big ones, is really easy. . .but. . . .;

2. People are so enamored with a certain technical and technological world outlook that they can't admit that a lot of the fix isn't really "green", techy, or anything of that sort. Greenies, including government greenies, what a bug huge super modern technological fix to most things that is at best years off, or at worst completely impossible. But the good news is that by looking not only forward, but just a tiny bit back, we can fix most of what we are worried about. Part of that solution is a more localized everything, including a more localized and family oriented farming structure, and;

3. That's pretty easy to achieve with some moderate fixes to the existing structure, but

4. It doesn't involve a whole lot of techy,government, involvement, and

5. It isn't so much of a green solution to the problem, as a blue jeans solution to it, and;

6. It's pretty clear that, for the most part, and with some exceptions, those involved in green movements and government tend to be clueless about real world agriculture.

One final comment. The whole term "local food movement" and the suggestion that the government is supporting it shows, in part, how confused we've become. Local food movement? Perhaps it would be better just to consider it the "real" food movement.

Frustrating experience for all of us, I'm afraid.

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