Joel Salatin and Why We Need More Intellectual Agrarians


I first saw Joel in the documentary Food, Inc. After watching it me and my husband looked at each other and said “Who is that guy?!”  We’ve been learning about Joel and his farm ever since.

In another YouTube video, he talks about the need in this country for “the Jeffersonian intellectual agrarian.” I couldn’t agree more.

Agrarianism has two common meanings. The first meaning refers to a social philosophy or political philosophy which values rural society as superior to urban society, the independent farmer as superior to the paid worker, and sees farming as a way of life that can shape the ideal social values. It stresses the superiority of a simpler rural life as opposed to the complexity of city life, with its banks and factories. The American Thomas Jefferson was a representative agrarian who built Jeffersonian Democracy around the notion that farmers are “the most valuable citizens” and the truest republicans. Wikipedia

Agrarianism can be defined by the following basic tenets:

  • Cultivation of the soil provides direct contact with nature; through the contact with nature, the agrarian acquires the virtues of “honor, manliness, self-reliance, courage, moral integrity, and hospitality” and follows the example of God when creating order out of chaos.
  • The farmer “has a sense of identity, a sense of historical and religious tradition, a feeling of belonging to a concrete family, place, and region, which are psychologically and culturally beneficial.” The harmony of this life checks the encroachments of a fragmented, alienated modern society that has grown to inhuman scale.
  • In contrast, farming offers more independence and self-sufficiency. It has a solid, stable position in the world order. But urban life, capitalism, and technology destroy independence and dignity while fostering vice and weakness. The agricultural community can provide checks and balances against the imbalances of modern society by its fellowship of labor and cooperation with other agrarians, while obeying the rhythms of nature. Wikipedia
Our way of life as we know it is changing. Our industrial, debt-addicted, consumer-driven culture is collapsing. Whether it is all by accident or by design is another matter but in my opinion, stock-piling food and guns as a hedge against the ‘horde’ is not enough. We, with our communities and as a society should be doing more to be prepare long-term.
We can all save a year’s worth of freeze-dried food but what are we gonna do after that food is gone? 
We need to get reacquainted with the land and provide for ourselves once again in a self-sustaining manner. We need to re-localize our economies and communities. We don’t need accountants, actors, and pharmaceutical reps – we need farmers, producers, and “care-takers of creation.” We need to raise children who aren’t afraid of getting dirty and who aren’t obsessed with boy bands and designer shoes.
Let’s become intellectual agrarians again.