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Navigating Rules & Regulations [Agriculture
Posted on March 12, 2019 @ 09:46:00 PM by Paul Meagher

Yesterday I received a copy of Joel Salatin's book Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front (2007).

This was the book that made me a fan of Joel Salatin. The book is an agricultural classic and often recommended to farmers, but I would recommend it to any entrepreneur.

A few years ago I read a library copy of this book and was inspired to write a blog called Dealing with Gate Keepers. The book discussses the creative ideas, arguments and maneuvers that Joel used to navigate around some of the costly demands of different gate keepers. Joel's farm, Polyface Farm, is a very successful and innovative enterprise so he had more victories than defeats in his dealings with gate keepers. His hard won battles offer lessons that might be useful to entrepreneurs getting bogged down in costly regulations.

This is a great passage from the book that I recalled from my first reading of it:

Some might ask, "Why don't you just put in the infrastructure and comply with the requirements?"...

Here's the answer, and it deals with the whole issue of innovation. All new things start small. Mighty oak trees begin from a tiny acorn, not 20-foot baby trees. Humans are born as babies, not teenagers. Innovation demands a prototype first, and a prototype must be as small as possible.

How do I know if I have a cheese that people will want unless I can experiment with a few pounds and try to sell some to folks? How do I know I have a decent ice cream until I make some and sell it to taste testers? Innovation demands embryonic births. The problem is that complying with all these codes requires that even the prototype must be too big to be birthed. In reality, then, what we have are still-birth dreams because the mandated accoutrements are too big. p. 18

For those who would like to listen to the author discuss the book, this interview is the only extended discussion that I can find.

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