The Older Brother Gets Grass-Fed

While I’m on the Low-Carb Cruise, my brother Jerry (a.k.a. Older Brother in comments) agreed to write a guest post or two. He’s a relatively new convert to low-carb eating and is 30 pounds lighter as a result. Nearly 20 years ago, he was the one converting me: I became a libertarian after debating politics and economics with Jerry and realizing I was getting my butt kicked. After licking my psychic wounds, I asked him to suggest some books I should read. He did. I’ve been fascinated by economics ever since.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illiniois has been publishing Jerry’s witty observations on politics and economics for years now. I’ve been bugging him lately to start his own blog and expand his readership beyond Springfield, which he finally did. I know some of you don’t care for my libertarian take on current issues, but for those of you who do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Jerry’s blog as well: And now here’s his guest post …

Ever see something where you don’t expect it, or have the same thing show up in different areas of your life that you hadn’t considered related? Like when you were in third grade and you bumped into your teacher who was out on a date? You almost didn’t recognize her because she wasn’t “where she was supposed to be.” I had a couple of those instances cascade into each other in the last month or so.

It started with Lierre Keith and her book The Vegetarian Myth. For those of you who’ve been following Tom’s blog for awhile, you’ll recognize it from his recommended reading selections and a couple of posts. Ms. Keith is not a big fan of men (as in feudal/patriarchal) or capitalism and was a devout vegan for much of her life. As a libertarian guy and carnivore, she trends toward my “Not My People” category.

But since I’ve been working my way through the Fat Head reading list, I started “Myth” with my Nook eReader while I was online in Barnes and Noble one day (for free!). Then I went back the next day so I could read some more — for free. The third time I just went ahead and paid for the same electronic version. Libertarian guilt pains, I guess. Then I bought the “paper” version so I could make notes and share it.

So anyway, a number of times when discussing the ideas of healthy, pastured animals, Keith mentioned a Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farms, describing him as “one of the High Priests of the local/sustainable movement.” My back-of-the-mind thought process went along the lines of “it’s probably some hippie selling to fellow true believers at ungodly prices without a workable business model.” The name seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t think of why.

Okay, now to the other, “didn’t really think it was related” part of my life. I don’t normally admit this in public, but I’ve read Mother Earth News for years. I usually hide it inside a copy of Reason magazine or some porn so people don’t get the wrong idea about me. Despite their global-warming, anti-business, whole-grain, granola-loving little hearts and their itty-bitty carbon footprints, I even have a subscription and read it online. Again, not generally my people, but I love the self-sufficiency and back-to-the earth angles, along with the gardening tips and do-it-yourself alternative energy stories.

They’ve been touting their annual “Mother Earth News Fair,” and there was an online blurb about a Joel Salatin at one of the events. I had a momentary brain lock trying to think of why I’d heard that name before, then remembered seeing it in Keith’s book. Then I remembered Salatin had an interview on the Mother Earth News website a year or so earlier, which triggered the “déjà vu” feeling when I saw his name in Keith’s book. As these references seemed to keep circling back on each other, I decided to check Salatin’s story out. What I found was awesome, especially a three-part series on YouTube from a “Meet the Farmer TV” show:



It’s a very educational, fun, and enlightening hour and a half (if you watch all three parts). Kind of reminds me of another documentary I’ve seen, now that I think about it(!).

A final “déjà vu all over again” note. On the first video, the interviewer asks Joel about agricultural outreach in the third world. He gives a very well thought out and powerful analysis, including how badly our government mismanages its efforts, noting that we’re running programs in these countries to grow corn – which requires equipment and expertise they don’t have, fossil fuels they don’t have, fossil fertilizers they don’t have, and will destroy their topsoil. This past week in our local paper was an article about a group of our local National Guard soldiers being deployed to help get Afghanistan’s agricultural economy going.

They’re going to grow corn. Sigh.


The Older Brother

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51 thoughts on “The Older Brother Gets Grass-Fed

  1. Max

    I never thought in my life I would sit through a 90 minute show about farming. I certainly never thought I would enjoy it.

    It sure wouldn’t have made my “must see tv” list if I hadn’t tripped over the name enough times to figure out someone was trying to tell me something! Glad you liked it.

    — Older Brother

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