One of the things that Paula and I learned more about at the Mother Earth News Fair was farm to consumer legal battles.
We had heard of Joel Salatin’s book Everything I want to do is Illegal. We were familiar with a few run-ins that organic, direct market and fair trade producers have had with authorities here in the United States. But we did not realize the scope of the war (and I use that term literally) between small producers (whether organic or traditional) and the megalomaniac agri-giants. If you don’t play by the rules as established by agri-industrial kings and legislated by their stooges in government, they will hunt you down and destroy you.
“Farmaggedon”, which we reviewed in an earlier article, was one source of this enlightenment. Joel Salatin’s talks were another. A third source of information came from an organization we were not familiar with previously – The Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund. This non-profit organization provides legal counsel to members as well as updating us all, via newsletter, on the status of “food wars” and battles raging across the nation.
One example is the hogwash that is going on in Michigan – where the governor is seeking to outlaw the possession of certain types of swine. Another example is Proposition 37 in California, where a request to label foods that contain genetically modified content is being viciously opposed by the big Ag corporations. Below are some examples of the battles that are raging, as the FDA, USDA, State Agricultural Departments, and the agricultural “League of Six” (Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont, BASF) as well as large commercial brands (among them Kellogg, General Mills, Dean Foods, Smucker’s and Coca-Cola) attempt to shut down the growing, consumer driven move toward more local, direct farm to consumer food transactions.
– Minnesota Farmer taken to court …and the update here! We CAN make a difference!
– FDA Fast Tracks GMO in Food (more information here)
– Agribusiness writes its own rules – and USDA approves: The revolving door between the USDA and Big Agribusiness
– Government wants to “tag” every farm animal in the U.S. : More information on RealID and Farm Animals
Even if you are not a farmer, you should consider becoming a consumer member of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, or making a donation. This is an another opportunity to “vote with your dollars.”