Dear Federal Government (especially you food-loving folks in the USDA and FDA),
Here’s an idea: How about you stop wasting taxpayer money on raiding small family farms and natural foods stores and instead buy some organic produce for kids who live in food deserts? I’m sure those kids Michelle Obama wants to rescue from obesity with all sorts of fun initiatives could use the food more than the “protection” of the government whose officials would rather trash a store than feed a child.
I’d like to see the FDA and USDA pledge to give as many dollars as they’ve spent over the years on raiding family farms that use sustainable, environmentally-friendly growing and herding practices to schools so they can purchase ovens to cook real food instead of trucking in prepacked glob to warm up and serve to our nation’s youth (including right here in D.C.)
Let’s review some recent news on the food freedom front, shall we?
Last week, the federal government once again raided Rawesome Foods, a food cooperative in Venice, California. Officials dumped hundreds of gallons of raw milk — which is legal to purchase in California — and a whole lot of other food that came from some of the most ecologically responsible sources out there.
As with the October 2010 (profiled here on the Colbert Report), locals are not pleased, and Real Foodists everywhere are outraged, as I’d think almost anyone would be who doesn’t want to be told what to eat. In this case, coop members actually owned the food that was tossed, some $50,000 worth. Check out this SarahBeTV YouTube video of the raid and see if all that wasted food doesn’t make you sick. (It also gives some great context, if you’re unfamiliar with this issue).
This past May, local advocates for food choice brought a cow onto the Capitol and consumed its fresh milk to protest a government raid on an Amish farmer. June saw the premiere of the documentary film Farmageddon, which tells the story of numerous government raids. The director, Kristin Clough Canty, is a mom of four whose son’s poor health and severe allergies dramatically improved on a diet that included raw milk. She made a movie because she couldn’t stand that people didn’t know what was happening to so many small farmers and places like Rawesome.
Neither can I. It’s maddening that our government officials can talk about healthful choices while sanctioning so much money to be spent going after people making the most irresponsible decisions. Big agriculture can dump chemicals all over its crops and into our water, feed cows corn that makes their intestines break down, and genetically modify foods without letting the consumer know. But sell healthy food directly to consumers? You’re goin’ down, Little Farmer.
None of us should have our choices curtailed by our government caving to big business. But even if we’re not in the habit of waving flags of personal freedom, this is one issue parents just can’t ignore. Children get sick from pesticides on produce. Gentically modified foods might be contributing to higher rates of food allergies, as Unhealthy Truth author and AllergyKids Foundation founder Robyn O’Brien has suggested. Kids are suffering increasingly higher rates of obesity, and it sure isn’t because they binged on organic watermelon or grass-fed lamb at their local food coop.
It’s ironic that this raid and all this dumping of raw milk comes on the heels of the Weston A. Price Foundation coming out with a press release with the heading: “Government data proves raw milk safe.” In the summer issue of the Foundation’s Wise Traditions publication, Dr. Ted Beals, M.D. explains how data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that you are “about thirty-five thousand times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk,” according to Foundation president Sally Fallon Morell. Beals decries the government’s opposition to raw milk, and Farm-to Consumer Legal Defense Fund president Pete Kennedy accuses the FDA of having an agenda “apart from protecting the public health.”
If you thought you were the only one deciding what your family gets to eat, consider the weight our government is throwing around — and against small farmers and buying clubs.
To follow the latest on the arrests of the owners of Rawesome, visit the Facebook page for Real Food Rights.
Jessica Claire writes about living naturally — most of the time — at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.