by Jaime Jones Spring '09
As a small farm operator, I am deeply concerned that the right of common people to farm is in jeopardy.
New legislation is now underway which will have the immediate or long term effect of putting many small organic farms out of business. It will make it extra hard for non-certified farms and will limit the ability of individuals to buy food directly from a farmer.
These bills, written by agribusiness giants such as Monsanto, Cargill and ADM are presented under the guise of 'food safety'. In actuality, their real intent is to drive small, sustainable farms out of the market, then industrialize and monopolize food production.
Public opinion is a powerful thing. The green way of life is growing more popular every day and small sustainable farms are the head cornerstone of this movement. Times are changing. Progressive thinking people around the world are demanding a more natural and sustainable means of food production. The bio-technology and agricultural chemical industries can see the writing on the wall.. There is no place for chemically grown and genetically modified crops in this new era.
This legislation is an attempt to subdue and oppress small farms and those dedicated to the peaceful organic agrarian revolution.
These bills are about control of the food source, and thereby, control of the people.
In times of economic depression it is those things which are the necessities of life that retain their value or become worth more. Food is the best example of this. By eliminating the small organic farm, agribusiness hopes to gain total control of food prodution.
I sincerely believe that this new law, if allowed to exist, will have a far reaching negative affect on life as we know it.
Oddly enough, when I talk to friends and fellow farmers about this bill I often find they've heard nothing about it or have little understanding of its implications. These new laws would seriously diminish the quality of our food and threaten our fundamental freedoms. However, this issue has so far been given very little attention in the media.
This bill will not increase food safety, in fact, it will have quite the opposite affect. The real threat of food poisoning comes not from the small producers but from the big growers, who with their 'profit at all cost' philosophy can sicken many people at a time with one big contaminated lot. Genetically modified organisms also are a huge health risk. Small organic farms who sell their produce in small increments directly to the consumer are the true key to food safety.
The one size fits all approach of this bill to cover agribusiness and small farms alike would make it hard for many family farms to comply.
Massive amounts of paper work food and red tape to trace food shippments may soon be required of the farmer whose time is already at a premium.
This bill takes away property rights and gives the federal government access to a farmers land without a warrant.
Farmers will be required to make customer lists available to the government.
All food producers who sell their produce, no matter how little, will be required to register with the government.
This bill even allows federal agents to come on to the farm and dictate growing practices to the farmer.
It also allows the FDA to halt the movement of all food in a geographic location. If absused. this power alone could be absolutly devastating.
Fines for individuals of up to 100,000.00 dollars, and prison terms of up to 10 years await those in violation of these laws.
Small organic farms are an answer to many of the ecological and economical problems we face today and should be encouraged by our government, not hindered.
The independent small organic farmer is a good steward of the land and represents freedom and a wholesome, viable lifestyle. Large industrial agribusiness farms are quite different indeed.
This is very scary. In recent years we have all seen increasing government control in our lives. This is where we must draw a non-violent line in the dirt and take a stand. I hope that many of you will take up the struggle to keep small farms alive and free by researching the issue, spreading the word, contacting political leaders, and above all, if possible, by growing food. We can also boycott Monsanto and others like them by refusing to support farms which use their products. In other words, by buying organic.
Please check out the youtube video called The end of small farms?. And read up on HR 2749, The Food Safety Enhancement Act.
To make ones living on a small farm, growing crops in a natural way, as our forefathers have done for thousands of years is an undeniable human right and a great American tradition. We can't let anyone take that away.