Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for October 27, 2010

David vs Goliath: Sustainable Farmer/Soil Scientist Against Big Ag Money in Iowa Race for Secretary of Agriculture

A one-minute video could change the face of agriculture in the U.S. It could start a chain reaction that hits critical mass very shortly. The race is in dead heat. So Little David could bring the Goliath down.

This refers to one of the most important races of the year. He is actually a national candidate but he is an Iowa candidate for Secretary of Agriculture. Not just because Iowa is a so-called bellwether state, but because the state of small and medium-sized farmers and food freedom folks have a lot riding on this all over the U.S. This is the man for people who love farm and food freedom to rally behind, and all those in the U.S. and surrounding states should make as much noise for his election. His name is Francis Thicke, a sustainable farmer. Iowa is the Corn State, and its about time that they quit growing corn and start raising Cain.

READ MORE (Journal of Living Food and Healing) ]

First They Came for the Raw Milk, And I Did Nothing…

I’ve never drank raw milk, but it’s my right to do so. Humanity has done so for tens of thousands of years. On a broader level, we have a human and constitutional right to grow and produce our own food and distribute it among ourselves as citizens. When you read the history books few things stand out as so emblematic of tyranny as feudal designations of all the produce of the land and the farmer as belonging to the king or the nobles.

Therefore it’s a metric of our recrudescence into a new feudalism that a new King, in the form of corporate agriculture and its government lackeys, is trying to proclaim itself the total lord of the food demesne, with the full force of law and the full violence of armed robbery.

READ MORE (Volatility) ]

Perceptions of Raw Milk’s Risks and Benefits

Raw milk for human consumption that has not been pasteurized is a controversial product. Wisconsin laws prohibit non-incidental sales of raw milk to consumers, although the law allows farmers, employees and their guests to consume raw milk. Unpasteurized milk may contain pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter and disease-causing strains of Escherichia coli, which can lead to serious illness. Nonetheless, a study led by researchers Özlem Altıok and Michael Bell of the UW-Madison Department of Community and Environmental Sociology found that customers cite improving their health among the top reasons for drinking raw milk. A growing number of consumers feel that pasteurization robs milk of some of its nutritional and health benefits.

From September 2005 through June 2007, the researchers used participant observation and in-depth interviews to investigate why people drink raw milk despite health warnings. The study was conducted primarily in Wisconsin; as individual states have unique laws governing in-state sales of raw milk, some fieldwork and interviews took place in other states. This work was supported by HATCH and a Community and Environmental Sociology departmental grant.

READ MORE (Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems) ]

Walmart and the End of the Local Food Movement

I had just come in from picking bell peppers when I read the news of Walmart's pledge to buy at least nine percent locally-raised foods by the year 2015. Perhaps I should have been heartened, since this represents potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in market for local farmers around the nation and world. Instead, the announcement sent me back to the pepper patch, shaking my head and wondering if this wasn't the beginning of the end of the local food movement.

The organic produce we raise -- on what used to be a tobacco farm here in Appalachian Virginia -- goes to our local farmers market, to a handful of restaurants, and to independent supermarkets in Virginia, Tennessee and neighboring states. While we're one of the biggest producers at the Abingdon farmers market, our farm's sales are but a small part of the produce and eggs reaching the shelves of several hundred supermarkets through a farmer-based network called Appalachian Harvest. Developed as a partnership with these regionally-based grocers, Appalachian Harvest has helped small growers reach large markets while securing a pretty good price for their peppers, tomatoes and other items.

READ MORE (Huffington Post) ]




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