Book Review: Folks, This Ain’t Normal


Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

By Joel Salatin

CENTER STREET

A Virginia farmer and devout Christian whose innovative livestock operation was featured in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Joel Salatin has been reaping a literary cash crop: books of homespun food wisdom. His latest combines Wendell Berryesque agrarian ecology with barnyard preaching and cornpone comedy to accomplish what literary theorists call “queering”—highlighting just how strange our “normal” worldview has become. While his chatty informality gives the book a padded feel, even alt-foodies should be able to appreciate his lucid treatment of topics like bovine ecology. But the ideal audience is your Big Gulp-quaffing conservative cousin. This book has enormous potential to broaden the movement’s appeal.

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  • Tom Philpott

    Tom Philpott is the food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones. He can be reached at tphilpott@motherjones.com, or on Twitter at @tomphilpott.