Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last Day to Vote at

It looks like and their Victory Gardens idea is 26th in this competition, so it's good to know it will at least be presented to the President by the folks at On Day One.

In the competition there are many worthy ideas and you get ten votes. The Victory Gardens idea is under the Environmental category. There are several other food related ideas under the Agricultural category worthy of our attention: Healthy School Lunches (14th), Stop NAIS (20th), and Raw Milk (21st).

Did you know a couple of years ago the Sabinal, Texas schools adopted a program to provide healthy snacks in the form of raw fruit and veggies? This effort, led by local organic Longhorn beef rancher Gerry Shudde of Shudde Ranch, provides nutritious food to all their students and helps cut down on their consumption of junk food. There are several programs like this across the country where the organic veggies for healthy school lunches are even grown by the students in their Ag programs. Wouldn't it be nice if every child in America could have access to a healthy lunch?

Many of you may not know about NAIS. This is the USDA’s proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that was originally designed to give big factory "farms" help in export markets where disease controls are required. The USDA slipped this plan in the back door without any legislation. It's going to be very expensive, and we are going to be paying for it.

Just creating and maintaining the databases for these records will be a hugely absurd task, and it does nothing to prevent disease or make our food safe.

Under this legislation every single livestock animal in the United States will be identified and tagged. All livestock animal movements will be tracked, logged and reported to the government. Big factory farms get to do single ID’s for large groups of animals. But small farmers, pet owners and homesteaders like us will have to tag and track every single animal, without exception, even if the food we raise is for our own consumption. This is agribusiness trying to put small farms out of business! This is agribusiness trying to quash the local food movement and ensure you will buy from them!

Joel Salatin, in his book Everything I Want To Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front, tells about the time an inspector tried to shut him down supposedly for bacteria on chicken. He paid an independent lab to sample his chicken and one from the grocery store produced by a large factory farm. The bacteria count on the factory farm chicken was exponentially higher, so he won that case.

And finally the issue of Raw Milk should be on our minds. For the first time in my life I drank some raw milk a couple of years ago, and let me tell you, it is so wonderfully sweet and delicious compared to pasteurized, there's just no comparison.

Although agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say that pathogens from raw milk make it unsafe to consume, other organizations such as the Weston A. Price Foundation in its "Real Milk" campaign say that raw milk has health benefits that are destroyed in the pasteurization process, and that it can be produced hygienically. Our European counterparts have access to and drink raw milk daily.

Although many of you indicated in the Healthy Harvest survey you weren't as interested in the politics of food, the local food movement is deeply affected by legislation and government regulations. Let's vote with our fork!

1 comment:

  1. lol, I think at this time, some of us might have just been 'turned off' by the word "politics".

    The fact that these laws and regulations (and not just in agriculture) are being snuck in without a vote should be a real concern to us all.