Joel Salatin is a self-proclaimed “Christian-conservative-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic” and the proprietor of Polyface Farms in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he practices the kind of small-scale agriculture that baffles (and sometimes infuriates) regulators. He rose to national prominence with a cameo in Michael Pollan’s popular 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. In the spirit of his own recent book, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, we asked Salatin to list three things he would like to do on his land but can’t because of state and federal regulations.
1. Make and sell ready-to-eat foods on the farm: “Virginia just legalized homemade jams and jellies to sell. As ridiculous as that sounds, that’s a pretty important shot across the bow.”
2. Sell raw milk and other dairy products: “Officialdom believes that only pasteurized milk is safe. The fact that people have been drinking raw milk throughout human history, and still drink it all over the world and in 20-some states, means nothing to them.”
3. Sell custom-slaughtered meat by the piece: “My position is that if meat [slaughtered outside the normal factory processes] is OK for people to eat, give away, or feed their children—which indicates that it is not an inherently hazardous product—we should have freedom to also sell it. The restrictions are on the commerce of it. The attitude is: The only thing that is safe to eat is something with a government stamp on it, unless you get it free. Exchange money, and it’s somehow not safe.”