From Clay Hill Farm Blog;
I love the Farmer's Market. One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is drop by the market and bring home fresh ingredients for the evening meal - there's nothing better, except growing the food yourself! And, while this is not a political blog, it is a blog about my life and our farm. And I just discovered a bill that has the potential to catastrophically affect both.
HR 875 (Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009) is sponsored, evidently, by a representative whose husband has ties to Monsanto. Monsanto is a large biotechnology company that is heavily vested in the factory farm model. They're the guys who tried to patent pig breeding, and the guys who created "terminator" seeds whose plants don't produce viable seeds - the farmer has to keep going back to Monsanto to get more seeds each year. Not exactly friends of the small farmer, huh?
The bill is very broadly written and includes anyone who grows or produces food for human consumption. There is no exception for small farms, or even for backyard gardens. The fines are staggering (up to a million dollars for each incident?). If this bill passes, most of the folks I know will be unable to afford to grow produce or meat for the farmer's market or even for their own family's use without running afoul of the law.
The regulatory burdens of this bill are staggering, too. Food producers (and if you grow tomatoes in the summer, YOU are a food producer, according to this bill) are required to keep extensive records, to test soil (and keep the samples) and to follow government regulations regarding the type of fertilizer used, temperature controls, etc... fines for failure to comply can be up to one million dollars per incident.
And I don't believe that the law will be used only to deal with large corporations - if the state is given a power, the state has the potential to abuse that power. And, the thing is, we already have many of these regulations in place through the USDA and the FDA. Why create another level of bureaucracy when simply fully staffing these agencies with the appropriate number of inspectors would solve many of the current problems we've seen?
In a poor economy, the ability to grow one's own food could make a huge difference in one's standard of living. We can't let that right be taken from us, and we must look out for the small farmers who provide organic meat and produce at the local level. If you eat, this bill has the potential to affect you.
You can read more about the bill here: Campaign for Liberty and here: Open Congress HR 875. And, if the content of this bill alarms you at all, please consider writing your representatives to tell them how you feel. Help us save the Farmer's Market! Thank you to Dunappaloosa at Small Farm Living for bringing this to my attention.
EXPOSING the FDA and the USDA - Broad Casting here the things that they would prefer us NOT to know about our FOOD & DRUGS & Farming.