Book Review: Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal

Helen Cameron, co-owner of the 2013 awarded “Greenest” Restaurant in America, Uncommon Ground, recommends Everything I Want To do Is Illegal: War Stories From The Local Food Front by Joel Salatin.

In his book, Joel Salatin writes about the struggle of small farmers, or any cook at home, to sell or give away food without the question being asked, “But is it legal?”  This is the fear that the USDA has spread through its lengthy and merciless sanitation laws which severely restrict small, local producers from selling or trading their goods. Indeed, this is not only an issue in America, but in New Zealand as well, whose farm bill has not only created severe requirements for anyone who wants to trade or sell produce from their home garden, but has also made it criminal to do so without proper authorization. Salatin makes a strongly worded argument that zoning laws and health codes were created to address the threat of disease commonly found in industrial factory farms and do not take into consideration smaller scale farms who use alternative farming practices.  Derived from an original essay released in the 2003 issue of ACRES magazine, Salatin lists his desires for what he wants to do with his farm but due to such strict regulation and inapplicable requirements, is prohibited from doing. This book provides a very tangible insight through Salatin’s own experiences into how the law undermines the growth of small farmers.

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front