The Pigness of Pig

Anyone who knows me or knows the type of pasture based farming I advocate and practice would not be at all surprised to know that I am a huge fan of Joel Salitin. One of the life changing moments I had at The Meeting School was when I was handed a copy of one of his early books, You Can Farm. I've been hooked ever since. When I say hooked I mean to the ideas and the concept of farming that he has popularized. I don;t know where exactly he fits in the list of people around the country using a pasture based model, I just know that he is the LOUD one that has been talking and writing about it for years. Regardless, it is not a stretch to say that he has influenced and inspired lots and lots of farmers. 

I borrowed his most recent book from a friend this winter. After a serious detour into the world of George RR Martin, I am now plodding through Joels latest each night. He is a very thought provoking writer and one of the only authors I can find that writes about the exact stuff that I do each and every day. WHile what he writes is thought provoking, it is not revolutionary. Mostly it is simple, but I guess you could say that simple is revolutionatry in today's world. I read a chapter the other night that just really captured, for me, the essence of his whole outlook and approach. The chapter is called "The Pigness of Pig". 

The concept is simple, our highest goal in the raising of domestic livestock should be to respect the unique character of that animal. Pigs should be able to act pigs, chickens should be able to act like chickens, etc. Radical huh? Compare that simple idea to the way that we battle nature and try ot modify and accommodate "production sysytems" in industrial agriculture. Crazy world!