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Goodbye Farmers Markets, CSAs, and Roadside Stands

by Linn Cohen-Cole
March 3, 2009

Goodbye farmers markets, CSAs, and Roadside Stands by Linn Cohen-Cole (Mar. 19, 2009)

The "food safety" bills in Congress were written by Monsanto, Cargill, Tysons, ADM, etc. All are associated with the opposite of food safety. What is this all about then?

In the simplest terms, organic food and a rebirth of farming were winning. Not in absolute numbers but in a deep and growing shift by the public toward understanding the connection between their food and their health, between good food and true social pleasures, between their own involvement in food and the improvement in their lives in general, between local food and a burgeoning local economy.

Slow Food was right - limit your food to what comes from your region and from real farmers, and slow down to cook it and linger over it with friends and family, and the world begins to change for the better.

And as we face an unprecedented economic crisis, and it is hard to be sure what has value, one thing that always does is food. Which is why the corporations are after absolute control over it. But what obstacles to a complete lock on food do they face? All the people in this country who are "banking" on organic farming and urban gardens and most of all, everyone's deepening pleasure in and increasing involvement with everything about food.

Farmers markets. Local farmers. Real milk. Fresh eggs. Vegetable stands.

Those are things we not only all want, but things we are actively getting involved in, and things we very much need. And where they are truly good, they are growing.

The international financial corporations which have wreaked havoc around the world with astounding nonsensical "solutions" that are destructive of everyone but them, are brothers to the international agribusiness giants (Monsanto, Cargill, Tysons, ADM, etc.) which are just as aggressively after their own form of "taking." Just seeds, animals, water, land.

And freedom.

Because human beings are by in large good and by in large incredibly resilient and clever, and left to their own devices - that is, free - they would handle this gargantuan financial stupidity the corporations brought us with NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT and all other globalized schemes (which they hope to eventually top off with CODEX). How? By being productive in real ways and locally. And farming is the solid ground under that. Farmers produce something of real value (something we used to take for granted), and from that base, businesses grow up. Local markets, local food processors, local seed companies, local tool and supply companies, local stores ... and an economy based on reality and something truly good for us, too, begins to grow.

So, look again at what has been exciting us - Farmers markets. Local farmers. Real milk. Fresh eggs. Vegetable stands. - and realize that they are not only wonderfully healthy but fun and naturally community building. And more, they are a real economy and deeply democratic - and just at a time we need something that works economically, that supports our democratic rebirth, and that protects food itself and our easy access to it.

And it is all those things that threaten the corporations ... which is why we now have these massive "fake food safety" bills in Congress. Everything is going under thanks to these fools, and they wish to be there like vultures to make sure that every drop of blood that can be sucked out of our resources and us, is theirs. To wit, they must get rid of such good and innocent things and yet truly powerful things as:

Farmers markets. Local farmers. Real milk. Fresh eggs. Vegetable stands.

And how will those who contaminate our country's food with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and more, do that? Why, by setting standards for "food safety" that are so grotesquely and inappropriately and even cruelly applied to a local, independent farmers and ranchers that there is no way they can manage. Imagine your being faced with a 100 page IRS form and facing a million dollar a day penalty for screwing up. That would be in the ball park of the impossible complexity mixed with threat facing our farmers. Imagine having the government and corporations deciding every single thing you can do and must do in your kitchen and backing that up with the threat of 10 years in prison for screwing up - though you have never made anyone sick, and those corporations have. Imagine being surveilled 24 hours a day by GPS tracking devices that feed into ... a corporate data bank, one they have now moved out of the country so no one here can have legal access to see what is in it.

Imagine the devil himself - or a whole boardrooms of them, dressed in suits - defining the only safe and healthy food in this country as dangerous and burdening hard working farmers with more work then anyone could bear, while his own, their own, food is so dangerous at this point that in the last 10 years alone, diabetes has gone up 90%.

And how did they get this far with such a scheme to apply insane industrial standards to every farm in the country? Through fear of diseases and of outbreaks of food borne illnesses, both of which they cause themselves.

How it works: Tyson helps Bill Clinton get into office. Bill Clinton immediately and significantly lowers contamination standards for poultry as a thank you. And it is such contaminated waste from transnational poultry factories which is now implicated as the source of bird flu. Then fortunes on made on that fear. And then poultry industry uses the crisis they created to push out small farmers and take greater control than ever. Their mantra? Biodiversity not only be damned but be eliminated. And get rid of those damn farmers who protect it while we're at it.

The bills would require such a burdensome complexity of rules, inspections, licensing, fees, and penalties for each farmer who wishes to sell locally - a fruit stand, at a farmers market - no one could manage it. And THAT is the point. The whole dirty tricks point. The whole "be in tight control of everything needed for survival because it'll be worth a fortune" point.

So, if you like farmers markets, local farmers, fresh milk, fresh eggs, vegetables stands, and freedom, let your friends know that it's all on the line right now with those "fake food safety" bills brought to us with well-planned evil and more of it to come, by Monsanto, Cargill, Tysons, ADM, etc.

Slow Food reminds us of just where we need to be (and notice how much would help any local economy):

# Forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems;
# Developing an "Ark of Taste" for each ecoregion, where local culinary traditions and foods are celebrated;
# Preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation;
# Organizing small-scale processing (including facilities for slaughtering and short run products);
# Organizing celebrations of local cuisine within regions (for example, the Feast of Fields held in some cities in Canada);
# Promoting "taste education;"
# Educating consumers about the risks of fast food;
# Educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms;
# Educating citizens about the risks of monoculture and reliance on too few genomes or varieties;
# Developing various political programs to preserve family farms;
# Lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming concerns within agricultural policy;
# Lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering;
# Lobbying against the use of pesticides;
# Teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners; and
# Encouraging ethical buying in local marketplaces.

But we need to stop these bills first or we are left with no money from the financial bailout and no food from the food stealout.

Send a message to Congress.

We need millions to be fighting this. Contact Eli Pariser at MoveOn to tell him MoveOn is badly needed.

And below, where Oped News offers a means of writing your local newspaper, take advantage of a chance to vent.

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Stop HR 875, HR 814, SR 425, and soon, HR 759

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

(Note from Linn Cohen-Cole:
I got lucky in meeting libertarian and conservative farmers and becoming friends, learning an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. They are nothing like what we've been taught to assume about the other side of the fence, but great people with immense decency.)


Banning Organic Farming & Regulating Home Gardening, HR 875 & S 425 (Mar. 13, 2009)

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All information posted on this web site is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.