Food security is a topic many are taking more seriously these days. As Americans were urged to stay home over the spring, many turned to gardening either as a pastime or to take greater control of their food supply. Meanwhile, agripreneurs in some areas were in a unique position to address increased public concern about the quality and availability of their food.
For those who are contemplating the future of food, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food by Joel Salatin provides interesting perspectives that are particularly relevant right now.
One of the most refreshing aspects of Holy Cows and Hog Heaven is that Salatin recognizes that both the farmer and the consumer have a responsibility. The farmer has a responsibility to produce clean, healthful food that contributes to human vitality. The consumer has a responsibility to learn to prepare food and to recognize the difference between products that offer nourishment and those that actually cater to our desire for entertainment.
With these things in mind, Salatin addresses the four things that must intersect to ensure an effective food system:
- Farm-friendly producers.
- Farm-friendly products.
- Farm-friendly patrons.
- Farm-friendly policy.
This particular book is primarily written for the consumer. It offers guidance on how to find a trustworthy farmer and how to know if you are getting good food. It educates on seasonal eating and rolling with the punches when relying on a local grower rather than a supermarket.
However, the producer will find plenty of food for thought here, too. Holy Cows and Hog Heaven challenges those who grow food to view it as a biological organism, not a chemical and mechanical one. It invites an exploration of alternative philosophies, creating an effective blend of technology and nature. It also urges producers to focus on serving rather than empire-building.
And for those who are interested in the knotty problems of food regulation, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven offers an insider’s perspective on the challenges of direct marketing.
Although the specifics of food production and direct marketing have evolved considerably in the 15 years since this book was published, most of the material covers principles that are timeless no matter where you live. So for those who are rethinking food systems, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven contains some excellent mind fodder.