Friday, March 13, 2009

Outlaw farmers...

When the government outlaws gardens only oulaws will have gardens.

We have been saying for a couple years that ONE DAY what we do, grow naturally produced heirloom produce on a small scale may be illegal. People laughed, rolled their eyes, or regarded us with skeptisim. I am really worried that we are moving more rapidly in that direction than I had felt possible.

Another blogger posted about HR 875:
The safest food you can eat in America is raised by small conscientious farmers. Farmers that care for their animals, the food they grow, the jams they process, the bread they bake. Why??? Because they eat the products too. The USDA for years has encouraged farmers' markets. Food gurus like Micheal Pollan, Alice Waters, Eliot Coleman have prodded Americans to eat local fresh foods.

Now..........Ms Rosa Delauro has introduced this legislation that will take farming to a whole new level. Well -- maybe not a hole new level.......... just the level that Monsanto, ADM, and Cargill wanted ..... no organic, no small farms.

Others will tell you that there is no reason we cannot farm, if we have the required "safety" plan and appropriate equipment. I would assume at a minimum that would consist of a building with NSF surfaces ($100,000+), wash lines ($10,000+), packing lines ($5,000+), and coolers ($5,000+). If these numbers seem high, I would argue they are pretty low in my experience at my day job in commercial architecture. they go the route of FDA butchering facilities add $20,000 to pave the drive way (gravel is no good) and $6,000 for an extra bathroom.

And that is before we pay a consultant $100 an hour to write our required "safety" plan and help us comply with a new maze of regulation... That is before one of us spends most of our time compiling the required paperwork, reports, and plans.

Do you think anyone would be willing to pay $5,000 a season for their CSA share? Anyone?

4 comments:

sally said...

Please point out where this bill states that backyard gardens will be outlawed.....

CSA Farmer Girl said...

I don't know that it does, and I do not believe that I said it does. Others have suggested that no where does it define "farm" as a place that SELLS food. Only as as place that produces food meant for human consumption. That might include backyard gardens.

Market gardens, however, small farms, growing food for sale, they would be included and that is what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

A suggestion ... Perhaps you (or someone else who would be directly affected by the FSIA) might consider contacting Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who is on a self-described "crusade to fix the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act." I expect he would be interested in hearing about another poorly written law that might be enacted.

Hewitt broadcasts from Los Angeles, but grew up in Warren, Ohio and still reads the sports section of the Plain Dealer. He is also an environmental lawyer, mostly defending landowners. Hewitt is right-of-center (if it matters), but he does have guests with other perspectives and, in my opinion, treats them respectfully.

This past Friday, Hewitt interviewed Nancy Nord, Chair of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which is charged with enforcing the CPSIA (transcript here). Audio for a past discussion of the CPSIA can be found here. (You can ignore the first minute or two of banter.) Contact information for Hewitt and his producer can be found here. In northeast Ohio, Hewitt can be heard on WHK, 1420 AM, 6-9 PM, or simultaneously over the Web.

clink said...

Thank you so much for your post and your concern -- I have spent the last few days studying and trying to figure out HR 875 and HR 814.

HR 814 seems to require mandatory NAIS.

I still can't find out if a farmers market is a category 5 food establishment. I was told today that no farms would be subject to regular inspections. Yet it says clearly in section 206 that all "food production facility" would be subject to inspection.

Answers are hard to come by -- I am still searching.

Thank you for all your help -- we are all going to need it.