Joel Salatin, the lunatic farmer of Polyface Farm in Virginia is absolutely the farmer for our times. I’ve read several of his other works, and find myself agreeing with, I think, everything he says. His concern and love for God’s creation is brought out best in the current book, however, ‘The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs’. This is Joel’s manifesto – his collected viewpoints on why he runs his farm the way he does, and how the Bible supports his viewpoints on agriculture, sustainability, and health.
Who else but Joel could look so happy surrounded by beautifully and wonderfully made pigs?
Joel’s arguments for a land-honoring tradition stand on their own, but in this work he bolsters his arguments with specific Scriptures that paint a picture of a God who appreciates those who treasure His creation – not as pagan groups have done over time, worshiping the creation, but as those who recognize that this Earth was God’s first creation. God’s gift to us of all natural resources is to be cared for like a family heirloom, it’s been passed to use by our forbears, and we will someday hand it down to our own children.
Many of the topics he mentions are in his other books, for instance the concept of the large scale commercial chicken houses which are filled with airborne chicken poop and bacteria, the proliferation of food allergies in this 21st century, and the evils of genetically modified organisms (putting pig genes in a tomato is definitely disrespectful of God’s natural order of things!)
If we as consumers aren’t educated on what’s going on in the food production systems, then are we truly being good stewards? Consider Daniel, who refused the king’s meat – he would not defile himself with food offered to idols. He took steps to ensure the purity (spiritually speaking) of what he ingested. As New Testament Christians, we are not bound to those same laws, but we are to be cautious of not leading others astray in their own consciences:
That said, too, the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
The God who created the Universe, and who paid the precious price of Jesus’ blood for our sins, indwells us who are saved through Jesus. We are free in Christ, but we know – and science has proven – that a diet of beer and Buffalo wings is bad for us. Therefore, we ought not to subsist on such foods – we have an obligation to care for ourselves – insomuch as we can only know what science tells us is healthy and unhealthy.
I truly recommend this book for Christians, who often need to be reminded of some of the basic facts that modern society tends to be come detached from. Equally I recommend it for those environmentalists, for whom it could be a valuable witnessing tool.
Another excellent book by Joel Salatin, “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs” is a joyous read that had me quoting it all weekend to Sarah and Jemimah. My gratitude to them for putting up with my enthusiasm!