Putting Down Roots

we’re in the redemption business
January 25, 2011, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today, the weather forecast said there was a 100% chance of rain. The main thing on our schedule was to go visit a few potential customers and walk around their spaces to see where gardens could grow. Needless to say, pouring rain makes that a whole lot less fun for everyone involved. And so, after cooking up some of the sausage from Thompson Farms (it was delicious), I settled down at the kitchen table with my knitting (gloves for my sister that should have been a Christmas gift) to listen to an hour-and-a-half long talk by Joel Salatin.

Let me tell you, it was so good that he had me purring.

Joel is something of a Jesus figure to folks in the good-food movement, who know him as a meat farmer who uses radically sustainable practices. What most of them don’t know is that he’s a strong Christian who went to Bob Jones University identifies pretty strongly with the religious right. The talk I was listening to was one he gave at Patrick Henry College, which was founded specifically for fundamentalist homeschoolers. Sound a little different from the folks who are normally at the podiums talking about why we should support small farmers, boycott factory farming, stop using genetically modified organisms, and take care of the earth? I thought so.

Here’s a quote for you: “Patronizing the industrial food system is just like going to work for an abortionist.”

His talk was about why Christians should care about where our food comes from. He started with a quote from 1 Corinthians about eating and drinking “to the glory of God.” He asked, “how can we create a food system that honors God?” He talked about integrity and credibility, and what it would look like if Christians honored the sanctity of life across all fronts by supporting food systems that take care of people, animals, and the earth.

Joel Salatin says that he’s “in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.”

I love what he says because he’s joining groups that like to pretend they have nothing in common: conservative Christians and radical environmentalists. He’s speaking the language of both sides to show them that a cohesive, holistic movement towards a healed food system is possible, and has room for everybody: “this is a nonpartisan movement. All of us eat, and it’s a big table here.”


(I also love him because he references the Rapture, saying earnestly, “I’m bucking to be Jesus Christ’s minister of agriculture during the Millenium.” If you don’t know what “the Millenium” is, don’t worry, but consider watching the “Left Behind” movie series).

(Next time you have an hour and a half to listen to wonderful speaking–it’s well worth it–you can find the talk here.)


2 Comments so far
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If Mr. Salatin is Christ’s Minister of Agriculture, then he must have been neglecting his duties when that mustard tree wilted in front of Jesus. What an embarrassing fiasco.

Also, Salatin means “man of salad” in Russian, much like Stalin means “man of steel”.

Comment by Alex L.

D’oh! Fig, not mustard, tree. Sarcastic joke ruined.

Another Russian phrase: “God is stern, but [punishes] fairly”

Comment by Alex L.

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