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John Moody: Cutting Edge Sustainable Farming & The Destructive Power Of Food Marketing

John Moody

We’re coming to you from Nashville, Tennessee this week where Alyson and I are hanging out in the woods. I’m taking a quick respite from nature to record a few shows, but pretty soon it’ll be back to the woods to work on some new blog posts and videos for you guys.

This podcast is with John Moody, administrator of the Whole Life Buying Club in Louisville, Kentucky (one of the largest local food buying clubs in the nation) and the interim executive director of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

On this show, you’ll learn:

  • How he healed himself with the right type of food
  • How to make fermented ketchup
  • What you can eat delicious food right from your back yard
  • Why some of the healthiest food is actually illegal in most states

John and his family tend a unique 35-acre farmstead in Kentucky that is geared toward innovation for sustainable farming.

Before we get to the show, I want to share our podcast review of the week! This comes from Beachbum mommy4 (love the screen name), who started out “healthy” and found out that with real food she could optimize her health potential:

From Beachbum mommy4:

I absolutely can NOT say enough about The Fat Burning Man (Abel’s) podcasts! I’ve always considered myself health conscience (but more in the ways of conventional wisdom) until I turned an amazing corner about a year and a half ago when I stumbled on the other people who spoke about healthy fats, proteins, nonGMO, eating organic, etc. This sparked my interest which ultimately lead me to my current passion to know more and more towards optimizing my health. This is then how I discovered the Fat Burning Man’s podcasts. I love LOVE Abel’s genuine approach in helping others learn. His sought out wealth of information, knowledge, and amazing people he interviews on these podcasts are truly life changing! The content of these podcasts are more than just “info”, it is life changing and life sustaining knowledge towards optimal health!! Thank you so much Abel, for sharing your personal journey and for those that share theirs through your podcasts! You are truly making a difference in my own life and that of my family. Personally, the podcast with Lierre Keith blew me away! It is so far my #1 podcast! I’m listening to it again while taking notes. It was such an eye opener for me and I am so thankful I listened. I love to share these podcasts with others who are seeking to improve their health and get unanswered questions answered. Thank YOU thank you thank you Abel!!

Thank YOU Beachbum mommy4! I read all the comments and take them to heart, so please drop by and tell me what you think.


Imagine a life filled with allergies, ulcers and otherwise ill health? Then imagine finding out that all of that could be healed through real food. This was John’s life a bit over a decade ago… riddled with disease in his early twenties… healed with a shift in his diet, and sent on a journey into real food, sustainable farming, and the forces that seek to deny us both.

According to John, he grew up in a typical American family with a typical American diet. He wasn’t a particularly healthy young man, but he thought his health was like most Americans.

But when he hit his early twenties, his body really began to break down on him. His allergies became severe and he developed duodenal ulcers—which are essentially holes in the intestinal tract.

He went to a doctor, but the doctor was like, “Hey, no big deal. We’ll just put you on this medicine.” But then he asked the unthinkable… “What’s the medicine going to do to me?”

The doctor looked at him, then he pulled out the prescription’s insert and it was like a cartoon. It unfolded and rolled down and it was full of tiny print.

He said the medicine would stop the body’s ability to produce hydrochloric acid.

Then John asked another shocking question, “Do we really want to shut that off?”

The doctor was dumbstruck by the question itself, the whole idea that we should understand how the body works. It was just foreign to his approach to medicine.

“I walked away with the medicine,” says John, “But within six months of changing my diet I healed the ulcers.”

But that’s not where John’s health transformation stopped.


“I had seasonal allergies so bad that Benadryl was sending me stock options.”

I haven’t had a dental cavity in thirteen or fourteen years. My wife and I, it propelled us into an unexpected journey into food and farming and protecting peoples’ access to real food and small farmers so they can be healthy as well.

We have heard from doctors that you can’t heal yourself with diet. What did you do?

We were recommended to a set of cookbooks by Sue Gregg—they were like all grain, but they were whole grains, real vegetables, whole foods. She had a little place on her web site that said, “You need to look at all the info in my book through the lens of the works of the Westin A. Price Foundation.”

When I read the books published by the Westin A. Price Foundation, those books were eye openers.

So, we switched from eating processed white bread to making homemade sourdough at home. We stopped eating Walmart chicken and started shopping at Wild Oats and Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods), then we got involved in a CSA.

It was a process for us that took many years in total, but thankfully the things we did in the beginning resulted in substantial changes—

  • Eating bone stock
  • Switching from high temperature frying to low temperature slow roasting for meats and drinking the liquid
  • Using not just muscle meat, but also the bones, collagen, ligaments, eating the whole beast

At the time, we were incredibly poor. Within 8 weeks of marriage, my wife was pregnant and I was finishing my master’s degree. When you can’t afford to eat filet mignon, you end up getting the cuts of meat that are better for you and just as delicious.

It’s really the way my grandmother cooked before she was PR-campaigned into feeling guilty for eating the way that resulted in her, my grandfather, and her parents and grandparents living to be 70, 80, 90 years old.

Even though my grandfather smoked and ate bacon and eggs every single morning, he was incredibly healthy until his seventies or eighties, and then suddenly they were convinced they were killing themselves by this way they’ve always eaten.

Why do healthy people get pulled into the herd mentality?

The cultural effect of WWII—the food system we got was part and parcel of the transformative effect of that war.

For example, diamonds are inherently worthless (other than industrial uses). Before WWII, there was no diamond industry—when did guys think the only way you can get married was to get in debt?


Why did so many people start to smoke?


You see the development of early advertising—when they got the soldiers hooked on these things, and then they infiltrated housewives. “Sophisticated housewives don’t cook from scratch, they cook from Betty Crocker.”

The war, and other factors, just made average Americans ripe for the picking.

You might want to try reading a book called Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger. Corporations running the dietary guidelines coming out of the government. The henhouse is being guarded by foxes and is now a foxhole. Very few people had the sense to see that they were being played on a national scale.

How do you protect the rights of the consumer to eat real foods from local sources?

“Most of the milk I drink is illegal.” — Abel

What has happened to our food and what can we do about it?

“When you spend a dollar at a place like Sam’s Club, Walmart, McDonald’s, farmers (on average) get about 20 cents of your dollar,” says John.

Why do farmers sell into a system that’s not good for them?

At the time of the second world war, a book was published by Upton Sinclair called The Jungle. This was the start of a cultural revolution, which kicked off a radical expansion of government involvement in our dinner plates.

A man named Earl Butts was head of the USDA, and he traveled the country telling farmers to get big or get out of farming. Food Stupidity (Safety) regulations further punished anyone who didn’t go into that system of factory farming.

Why can’t you get eggs from my farm at the local grocery store?

  • I couldn’t produce enough to meet supermarket needs for even a couple of hours
  • I would need $2 million in product liability insurance
  • I’d need a $250,000 egg-washing machine

Everything about that model excludes the small farmers that care about their animals and their land, it’s stacking the deck against them.

What do we do about that?

We started a buying club to make it even easier than shopping at a farmer’s market. In most places you still have food choice. It may not be convenient, but even in urban areas you can shop at a farmer’s market over a supermarket.

It’s about changing that balance of power.

“Anybody can choose small farmers over pseudo-food providers.”

Just this past year, we [The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund] supported Frank Wallace in Wyoming… and Wyoming passed their Food Freedom law.

“We’re the land of the free, home of the slave.”

I can’t even choose what toilet I poop in. I am forced by law in Kentucky to put in a septic system that we know doesn’t work. “If I wanted to poop into a composting toilet, I would go to jail.”

Fecal disposal and handling is a whole other show that’s worthwhile.


Farm to Consumer’s has been working hard with their members—we helped get the Wyoming Food Freedom Law passed, and similar bills are moving forward in Maine and possibly Virginia.

Here’s something you can do in China or North Korea, but you can’t do in America—go sell your neighbor a chicken pot pie.

You can now do that for most foods in Wyoming.

Vernon Hershberger of Wisconsin is an Amish farmer with 11 kids, and he faced a trial costing the state multiple millions of dollars. He had not as much as a parking ticket and he is facing more legal action from the state of WI than a serial rapist… all over his refusal to let good milk sour.

Mark Baker is a Michigan farmer who became a criminal overnight when The Michigan Department of Natural Resources suddenly and quietly made it illegal for farmers to raise pigs on pasture in the state. Mark became a criminal facing almost a million dollars in fines from an unelected agency commiserating with the state’s pork council to get rid of the only competition.

We are pushing back at the legislative level. We sued the FDA over the interstate ban on the sale and shipment of raw milk.

You see how dangerous this is.

A judge in Wisconsin echoed the exact language in his ruling, saying you don’t even have the right to drink the milk from your own cow. It is no joke that these people think that you should be denied the right to choose what you eat and who you get it from.

This is not a doomsday scenario, but if you try to do what everyone else does, this is what you’re up against.


What’s it like to have your own farm?

There’s a scene in the first Jurassic Park movie where the chaos theory guy was like, “Don’t you have a lot of problems here?” The answer was that they had all the problems of a major theme park with all the problems of a zoo. That’s what it’s like here. Without the dinosaurs.

One reason I got into farming was because of the buying club I run. In order to evaluate farming methodologies, I needed to have my hands in the soil, to understand what goes into producing truly high quality foods.

Kentucky farmers were not going to be willing to try new methodologies unless they could see that they worked.

“Our farm is not a normal farm—I do things on my farm to try to push the limits and solve problems that sustainable systems are facing.”

The average farmer is feeding their chickens about 1/3 pound of grain a day—non genetically modified high quality grain is not cheap. When you go to a farmer’s market and pay $5.00 for a dozen eggs, you need to make sure the grain being fed those chickens is better quality than the grain being fed the hens who laid those eggs at Kroger.

“Chicken survived from thousands of years without eating grain from a bag.”

We got our chickens down to 1/8 pound of grain because we use compost piles, wild edibles, perennial plants, and more to create a self-sustaining system.

Having a farm—we love foraging for food. I did a talk at Paleo(fx) on this subject, pointing out that the best lettuce at a grocery store will have a fraction of the nutrition value of dandelion greens or lambs-quarters that pop up wild in the garden.

In a few weeks, the kids won’t be allowed to snack in the house anymore. Our theory is, if you’re hungry, go outside and find a snack. My kids probably know 40-50 wild edibles on our property.

Our diet looks pretty normal. We eat hamburgers, they’re’ just grass-fed beef ground up with 50% heart or organs.

Bones go in the crock pot, then to the compost pile. We eat potato chips, but they’re honest chips from Honest Chip Company made with real potato and real healthy oils. You can eat it and feel well.

Our meals are structured differently—the ketchup we eat is fermented ketchup, we make right here in our kitchen using other simple ingredients.

Our Fermented Ketchup is Made From:

  • Organic tomato paste
  • Garlic or fermented garlic flowers
  • Raw honey
  • Maybe a little bit of spices—cayenne or something
  • Raw apple cider vinegar

Then you let it sit out in a warm place for about three months in a glass jar, and you have delicious ketchup.

What else do you make?

  • Kombucha
  • Ginger carrots
  • Fermented oatmeal
  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut

With 4 small kids, some things are just easier to pay a local person or barter or trade than make it— so we go through seasons of making more or making less.

It didn’t used to be the house was a place of production where we produced everything, it was more of a bartering system, historically…

What’s one thing you’d like to leave us with, a course of action that could help build a better world for our kids?

Become a member of Farm-to-Consumer.

Tons of people support our organization so we can restore these basic rights so you can eat well sustainably and cost-effectively with easy accessibility.

Every meal is a chance to vote.

You get to actively shape what kind of world you have next year, two years from now, five years from now—so make good decisions with every meal.

Where can people find you?

Farmtoconsumer.org or look for John Moody on Facebook!


If you want even more great tips and tricks about how to find great deals and save money when buying organic meats and vegetables check out the Wild Diet Shopping Guide. We saved $237.00 last month on non-GMO, Paleo, and organic food and I want to show you how we did it…

Find out how we save money on high-quality food

You can also find me on Twitter @fatburnman and Facebook, as Fat-Burning Man or Abel James. I love hearing what you think of the shows, so keep in touch.


Discover how to drop fat with chocolate, bacon, and cheesecake. Plus: learn the 3 worst foods you should NEVER eat and the 7 best exercises for rapid fat loss. Click below to to claim your FREE gift ($17 value)!



  • Theresa Hickson says:

    The Jungle was NOT published in the 1930s- it was published in 1906. Poor quality food is NOT NEW in USA- it is our history. Ever since the Pilgrims landed, manufacturers have added non food items to food: sand in the sugar, chalk in the flour. Only GMO is new.
    Demanding real food that is pure IS NEW- and overdue!!

  • Denny says:

    Hey Abel,
    It’s great to have you and Alyson in Tennessee!

    Thanks for the great show with John Moody. As a member of FTCLDF, I truly appreciate you spreading the word!

  • Abel James says:

    Thanks Denny, we’re loving Tennessee so far. And so glad that you’re a member – this work is important!

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