Michael Foley: What is Food Freedom? [Local]

Mendo Food Freedom (new local blog)

The FDA is on a campaign to ban raw milk sales. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has made it increasingly difficult for people to sell raw milk in the state and recently issued “cease and desist” orders to small, private dairy shares across the state, including one here in Mendocino County. And Mendocino County officials have been pursuing the issue as if there were some genuine threat to public health in this county. (See “Raw Facts on Raw Milk”.)

The real threat is that heavy handed government efforts to eliminate any possible risk from our food supply is stifling the growing local food movement in this country. As it is, small farmers and food producers have to jump through multiple hoops to comply with existing law, and the regulations are too often unclear, compliance outside the budgets of small producers. Meanwhile, giant corporations are implicated in large-scale food poisonings without serious consequences to themselves or their owners.

The FDA’s and CDFA’s targeting of tiny dairy producers is only the most public example of the difficulties others have encountered attempting to provide the public with tomato sauce, pickles, seaweed, sprouts, wildcrafted mushrooms, and other “potentially hazardous” foods. And the FDA is preparing rules for the sale of leafy greens that threaten to put small-scale producers out of business once and for all.

In this context, we insist on our right to feed ourselves. Starting at the county level, communities all over the country have begun to pass “food sovereignty” legislation challenging state and federal regulators to make room for traditional, small-scale production. Join the effort here in Mendocino County and help re-build our local food economy.