Washington, April 12, 2011 — In late March, the annual “Food and Farmers Lobby Day” was held at the Dirkson Senate building in Washington D.C. This was a day where local farmers, spokespersons, and consumers met with congressmen and senators to discuss some important issues that could potentially have major impact on small farms and organics.
Small Farms and Buying Clubs under attack
The main topic discussed this year was in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) armed raids on small farms and buying clubs nationally. Farmers and consumers from around the country recently brought a clear message to lawmakers- that the food we choose to eat is as much a right as breathing.
Calling food choice a civil right, not a food safety issue, grassroots lobbyists showed Representatives, Senators and staff reports about FDA and state agents conducting SWAT type raids for the past ten years, holding farmers’ wives and children at gunpoint in early morning actions, often forcibly taking dairy products, production equipment and more.
The raids, aimed mostly at farmers who produce fresh (raw) milk for direct sale to consumers, and the buying clubs that help distribute them, are evidence, the lobbyists say, of the direction “food safety” measures will proceed under the recently passed ‘Food Safety Modernization Act’ (FSMA). The FSMA expands the jurisdiction of the FDA onto farms and gives it almost unlimited authority to decide if food is harmful, based on having a “reason to believe” a problem exists and not needing credible evidence.
Farmers and consumers are concerned about the trend towards additional government force over our small farmers.
The latest example of federal tyranny
Attendee attorney Jonathan Emord (who has defeated the FDA 7 times in federal court) stated: “The FSMA is the latest example of federal tyranny that threatens the lives, liberties, and property of the American people…”
Emord focused attention on the tremendous financial burden it places the farms under if they are targeted (just under suspicion). The FSMA permits the FDA to conduct reinspections and charge the party the inspection fees, placing a heavy burden on the targeted farms and businesses.
He also mentioned the FSMA prohibits direct access to the courts in appeal of agency actions, requiring a hearing before this biased (FDA) agency’s own administrative law judges.
This is coming from the same agency that has a long and documented history of being controlled by the pharmaceutical industry and has approved unsafe drugs even after the safety objections of FDA medical reviewers. This is why many are viewing this bill as just a way for the FDA and its ‘affiliates’ (the pharmaceutical industry) to try to stamp out its competition (small farms and organics) by using the guise of ‘food safety’ as its weapon of assault …
Lunch for Congress
A post event luncheon was held in the Kennedy Caucus room with top area sustainable/farm to table establishments and caterers graciously lending their time and cuisine to offer a feast for congress and representatives-
Participating businesses included: Poste Brasserie • Coppi’s Organic • Restaurant 3 • Nora’s • Food Matters • Stachowski Brand Charcuterie • Lavender Moon • Krishon Chocolates • Level: a Small Plates Lounge • Equinox • Ivy Inn • Maple Avenue Restaurant and Blanchard’s Coffee Company. Two Top Chef’s finalists were in attendance, representing their kitchens- Volt by Bryan Voltaggio, and Alchemy by Carla Hall. Main Event, (recently awarded Best Caterer in the Country) graciously agreed to organize the event.
Celebrity farmer Joel Salatin (Polyface Farm, Fresh, Food Inc.) was emcee at the luncheon, where more discussion was presented by an esteemed list of speakers: Kristin Canty of the upcoming documentary: Farmageddon, Chef/Owner Bryan Voltaggio of VOLT restaurant, Mark Lilly of the Farm to Family Bus, Liz Reitzig and Deborah Stockton of National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, and Jonathan Emord, Esq. Attorney and author of The Rise of Tyranny and The Global Censorship of Health Information.
To choose the food we eat is as much as a right as breathing.
Deborah Stockton concluded the event with these important statements:
“.. To choose the food we eat and direct unregulated trade from farm to consumer, is as much as a right as breathing. Air, food, water, shelter, are essential to life. No reasonable or legitimate case can be made that the state has the right to determine what an individual may eat.The state might have the power and enforcement capability to force or coerce individuals into controlling some or all of the food supply, but it does not have a legitimate right to do so.
In 1933 a state of National Emergency was declared by Congress in response to the economic exigencies of the time. Congress gave the President the authority to end the emergency. It suspended the Constitution and gave the Exec. Branch authority to regulate private enterprise, which it cannot do Constitutionally. Hundreds of statutes due to the suspension delegates to the President extraordinary powers, ordinarily exercised by the Congress. The emergency has never been ended and agriculture essentially was turned into a public commodity.
The FDA has effectively declared war on the production and distribution of fresh (raw) milk, evidenced not only by their statements (fresh milk is a “public health hazard,”) but significantly by their actions. Repeated SWAT style raids against the producers and distributors of fresh milk, holding women and children at gunpoint, stealing their family food supply, stealing their milk production equipment, milk containers, computers phones, personal belongings. They think they have a right to do this- They don’t. Something is terribly, terribly wrong here. Let us not be too afraid to say so.”
This was important work done by this small, dedicated group of individuals looking to preserve and protect our most valuable resource.
As a health professional and advocate there is the basic understanding that clean water and organic, whole food is a cornerstone to health and well-being. This should be a birthright for everyone, not something we have to fight for. Though food safety is a concern to everyone, this current bill could potentially change our food climate forever.
If you care to contact your representatives: Go to the NICFA website to view their sample letter against the FSMA. Links are provided to find your representatives information. Please feel free to let them know you want them to repeal this bill- Your voice always counts.
Adam is a Reiki Master, certified Health and Lifestyle counselor, Intrinsic Coach, Licensed Massage Therapist, 20 year practicing bramana initiated Bhakti Yogi, Spiritual advisor, visionary, jock and veteran of the “hardcore punk scene” all rolled into one. His clients have included celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and professional sport team owners. Adam is the founder of Omkara World and produced the mind/body fitness DVD “Intelligent Fitness.”
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