Samantha Strayer writes and edits for Hillsdale College by day and freelances by night. She is a Claremont Institute Lincoln fellow (class of 2017), and graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. Samantha is active in local politics, serving as precinct delegate for the Republican Party in the state of Michigan.
I learned of a man, a farmer in the truest sense of the word, who had a compelling story to tell about soil, about the real meaning of environmentalism and stewardship of the land, and about the animals who are allowed and encouraged under Joel’s watchful eye to be what God intended them to be.
BY: SAMANTHA STRAYER
Joel Salatin’s words resonate with those of us who grieve for the state of the nation and struggle with how best to pursue its restoration.
Through a series of serendipitous events, America’s most famous farmer Joel Salatin spoke at Hillsdale College for a “Parallel Economies” conference that has just been posted free online.
After a 45-hour trip from South Africa to Hillsdale’s small-town Michigan, Joel didn’t miss a moment to engage with the hundreds of attendees. After Q&A and several interviews, Joel delivered a lecture to a packed auditorium on “Local Food as Parallel Agriculture.” He concluded his visit with a book signing for a long line of fans, old and new. Showing no hint of jet lag, he was ebullient and gracious throughout.
Woke ideology has so thoroughly corrupted public discourse and daily commerce that Americans are desperately seeking alternatives, or parallel systems, particularly in business, finance, media, and food. Left unchecked, wokeism will metastasize into every crevice of our lives to gaslight our minds and control our behavior. Joel’s words of wisdom are therefore particularly resonant, and only growing in interest as Americans seek to frame their lives in more resilient and self-reliant ways.
I first learned about the self-described “lunatic farmer” in spring 2020. There were precious few bright spots during what we euphemistically call “The Shutdown.” For me, one of those was Joel Salatin.
My husband and I had gotten into the habit of watching homesteading channels on YouTube, and one night a lady said a name with such tenderness, I scrubbed back to hear it again. Salatin, she said, had been on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Her tone of affection made me check him out.
I learned of a man, a farmer in the truest sense of the word, who had a compelling story to tell about soil, about the real meaning of environmentalism and stewardship of the land, and about the animals who are allowed and encouraged under Joel’s watchful eye to be what God intended them to be. In the online videos I watched, he described some of the self-sustaining, life-giving practices that make all that crazy hard work somehow worth it.
He also told the harrowing tale of his family fleeing Venezuela when he was barely 4 years old to return to the United States in 1961. They settled in the Shenandoah Valley. Its soil had eroded so much, it has taken three generations of Salatin farmers to bring that land back to life.
I was hooked.