Steve Shenk

For those of us who care about the quality of our food, staying away from big businesses’ “farms” and processing plants has been high on the list of ways to take back control and ensure our food supplies are of the highest quality.

Many people—who affectionately refer to themselves as “locavores”—have focused on foods grown on small local farms. They claim that the food from here is fresher, better for the environment, and supports local businesses unlike the government-certified organic foods, which can come from as far away as New Zealand.

The US government, on the other hand, is seeking to shut these farms down if they do not comply with the FDA’s strict rules, which are set up to benefit industrial producers (Which, by the way, are the same types of companies at the source of outbreaks of E.coli-infected spinach, salmonella, and similar items).

Small farmers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the government’s rules and are becoming more and more defiant. They are seeking to protect their way of life and to supply people’s increasing demand for quality food free of suspect processing practices and genetically modified ingredients.

In many cases, farmers open their doors to buyers. They invite you and me to look around and make an informed decision about our food purchases based on what we see. If you still choose to buy your food from industrial producers, you have the freedom to do so.

Actions by the government appear to be taking that freedom away.

Government agents are showing up unannounced on small farms catching farmers off guard and unprepared for surprise inspections. They try to bully and intimidate anyone from the farm asserting his or her rights and denying them entry. They claim they do this to protect you and me from unsafe foods and provide a level field for producers.

Agents confiscate or destroy a farmer’s stock and seize his records and equipment and in some instances issue felony charges.

You can read stories of this happening repeatedly. From the Amish farmer selling raw milk to those who subscribe to its health benefits to pig farmers who supply food that isn’t injected with growth hormones or slaughtered in processing plants where the bottom-line takes precedence over safety.
Some, Senator Rand Paul are trying to change the rules, but they are fighting an uphill battle.

He recently said:
“Today I’m offering an amendment to the FDA. I’m troubled by images of armed agents raiding Amish farms and preventing them selling milk directly from the cow. I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow.”

The result? Eighty-five percent of U.S. Senators voted against the amendment.

This is disturbing on two fronts. One, there are people out there who are consciously and actively working to take away the options you have for high-quality, healthy, affordable food for you and your family.

The other disturbing trend is the government’s systematic plan to continue to erode our individual liberties. While you may or may not buy from small, local farmers, the government is taking away your choice. As the government turns its attention to our food supply, we should ask ourselves; what’s next? Is our personal food supply at risk?

Be prepared.

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