Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goodbye Farmer's Markets


On occasion I post special articles to my blog that are not only of concern to near-death experiencers, but to anyone alarmed about what is happening to our food base, our farms, and a healthy way of life. The first article about Farmers Markets and Roadside Food Stands, and the second about the new animal identification bill currently before Congress, require action. So, if you are moved to act after reading these articles, please contact Senators and Representatives in your area and ask that these bills be defeated. Both call for a type of Federal regulation of foods that is draconian and anti-farm. Do not believe that either bill is designed to protect the American public. Not so. Both bills are really designed to curcumvent and defeat the organic food movement, to stop the diversity of seed groups, and to hamper the right of any farmer to make a living in a sustainable, clean, and honorable way. Please act!
Thank you, PMH

Goodbye Farmer's Markets, CSAs, and Roadside Stands

By Linn Cohen-Cole
March 3, 2009

The "food safety" bills in Congress were written by Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson's, ADM, etc. All are associated with the opposite of food safety. What is this all about then?

In the simplest terms, organic food and a rebirth of farming were winning. Not in absolute numbers but in a deep and growing shift by the public toward understanding the connection between their food and their health, between good food and true social pleasures, between their own involvement in food and the improvement in their lives in general, between local food and a burgeoning local economy.

Slow Food was right - limit your food to what comes from your region and from real farmers, and slow down to cook it and linger over it with friends and family, and the world begins to change for the better.

And as we face an unprecedented economic crisis, and it is hard to be sure what has value, one thing that always does is food. Which is why the corporations are after absolute control over it. But what obstacles to a complete lock on food do they face? All the people in this country who are "banking" on organic farming and urban gardens and most of all, everyone's deepening pleasure in and increasing involvement with everything about food.

Farmers markets. Local farmers. Real milk. Fresh eggs. Vegetable stands.

Those are things we not only all want, but things we are actively getting involved in, and things we very much need. And where they are truly good, they are growing.

The international financial corporations which have wreaked havoc around the world with astounding nonsensical "solutions" that are destructive of everyone but them, are brothers to the international agribusiness giants (Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson's, ADM, etc.) which are just as aggressively after their own form of "taking." Just seeds, animals, water, land.

And freedom.

Be cause human beings are by in large good and by in large incredibly resilient and clever, and left to their own devices - that is, free - they would handle this gargantuan financial stupidity the corporations brought us with NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT and all other globalized schemes (which they hope to eventually top off with CODEX). How? By being productive in real ways and locally. And farming is the solid ground under that. Farmers produce something of real value (something we used to take for granted), and from that base, businesses grow up. Local markets, local food processors, local seed companies, local tool and supply companies, local stores ... and an economy based on reality and something truly good for us, too, begins to grow.

So, look again at what has been exciting us - Farmers markets. Local farmers. Real milk. Fresh eggs. Vegetable stands. - and realize that they are not only wonderfully healthy but fun and naturally community building. And more, they are a real economy and deeply democratic - and just at a time we need something that works economically, that supports our democratic rebirth, and that protects food itself and our easy access to it.

And it is all those things that threaten the corporations ... which is why we now have these massive "fake food safety" bills in Congress. Everything is going under thanks to these fools, and they wish to be there like vultures to make sure that every drop of blood that can be sucked out of our resources and us, is theirs. To wit, they must get rid of such good and innocent things and yet truly powerful things as:

Farmers markets. Local farmers. Real milk. Fresh eggs. Vegetable stands.

An d how will those who contaminate our country's food with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and more, do that? Why, by setting standards for "food safety" that are so grotesquely and inappropriately and even cruelly applied to a local, independent farmers and ranchers that there is no way they can manage. Imagine your being faced with a 100 page IRS form and facing a million dollar a day penalty for screwing up. That would be in the ball park of the impossible complexity mixed with threat facing our farmers. Imagine having the government and corporations deciding every single thing you can do and must do in your kitchen and backing that up with the threat of 10 years in prison for screwing up - though you have never made anyone sick, and those corporations have. Imagine being surveilled 24 hours a day by GPS tracking devices that feed into ... a corporate data bank, one they have now moved out of the country so no one here can have legal access t o see what is in it.

Imagine the devil himself - or a whole boardrooms of them, dressed in suits - defining the only safe and healthy food in this country as dangerous and burdening hard working farmers with more work then anyone could bear, while his own, their own, food is so dangerous at this point that in the last 10 years alone, diabetes has gone up 90%.

And how did they get this far with such a scheme to apply insane industrial standards to every farm in the country? Through fear of diseases and of outbreaks of food borne illnesses, both of which they cause themselves.

How it works: Tyson helps Bill Clinton get into office. Bill Clinton immediately and significantly lowers contamination standards for poultry as a thank you. And it is such contaminated waste from transnational poultry factories which is now implicated as the source of bird flu. Then fortunes on made on that fear. And then poultry industry uses the crisis they created to push out small farmers and take greater control than ever. Their mantra? Biodiversity not only be damned but be eliminated. And get rid of those damn farmers who protect it while we're at it.

The bills would require such a burdensome complexity of rules, inspections, licensing, fees, and penalties for each farmer who wishes to sell locally - a fruit stand, at a farmers market - no one could manage it. And THAT is the point. The whole dirty tricks point. The whole "be in tight control of everything needed for survival because it'll be worth a fortune" point.

So, if you like farmers markets, local farmers, fresh milk, fresh eggs, vegetables stands, and freedom, let your friends know that it's all on the line right now with those "fake food safety" bills brought to us with well-planned evil and more of it to come, by Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson's, ADM, etc.
  • Slow Food reminds us of just where we need to be (and notice how much would help any local economy):
  • Forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems;
  • Developing an "Ark of Taste" for each ecoregion, where local culinary traditions and foods are celebrated;
  • Preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation;
  • Organizing small-scale processing (including facilities for slaughtering and short run products);
  • Organizing celebrations of local cuisine within regions (for example, the ;Feast of Fields held in some cities in Canada);
  • Promoting "taste education;"
  • Educating consumers about the risks of fast food;
  • Educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms;
  • Educating citizens about the risks of monoculture and reliance on too few genomes or varieties;
  • Developing various political programs to preserve family farms;
  • Lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming concerns within agricultural policy;
  • Lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering;
  • Lobbying against the use of pesticides;
  • Teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners;
  • Encouraging ethical buying in local marketplaces.

But we need to stop these bills first or we are left with no money from the financial bailout and no food from the food stealout.

Send a message to Congress.

We need millions to be fighting this. Contact Eli Pariser at MoveOn to tell him MoveOn is badly needed.

And below, where Oped News offers a means of writing your local newspaper, take advantage of a chance to vent.

Author's Bio: I'm a mother and grandmother. There is no way I can leave my family or anyone else's children, things as they are now.


The issue of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is heating up in both Congress and the USDA. Below are two important actions alerts explain how you can help protect your right to farm and our food supply!


The USDA has proposed a rule to require all farms and ranches where animals are raised to be registered in a federal database under the NAIS for existing disease control programs. The draft rule covers programs for cattle, goats, sheep, and swine. It also sets the stage for mandatory NAIS animal identification in the future.

It is CRITICAL that the USDA and Congress hear from the hundreds of thousands of people who will be adversely affected by the NAIS program. This includes not only animal owners, but also consumers who care about local and sustainable foods, taxpayers who object to wasteful government programs, and advocates for a safer food system.

TAKE ACTION: Submit comments to USDA online or by mail. The comments must be received by USDA by Monday, March 16, 2009.

You can submit comments online at the USDA's official site:

An easier way to comments online is through the Organic Consumers Association's system, at:

Please be sure to personalize the letter! It can be as easy as a couple of sentences at the beginning stating who you are (for example, a farmer, consumer, property rights proponent) and why you care about NAIS.

Or mail two copies of your comments to USDA at : Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Clearly state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096.

Sample comments can be downloaded from the Take Action page at


The U.S. House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry will hold a hearing on "animal identification programs" on Wednesday, March 11, 2009. This is the first time in several years that any Congressional Committee will hear testimony about NAIS! It is critical that the thousands of farmers and consumers who oppose NAIS make their voices heard in this process!

STEP 1: Before the Hearing:

At the end of the alert is a list of Subcommittee members. If one of the Subcommittee members is from your state, call that member. If your state does not have any representation on the Subcommittee, contact your own Representative and ask him or her to approach the Subcommittee to urge them to oppose NAIS. If you're not sure who represents you, go to

When you call, ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues, and talk with them about your concerns about NAIS. Use a brief personal story to explain how NAIS would impact you. Emphasize that you want them to ask hard questions of both the industry and USDA representatives, and to make sure that people representing those who oppose NAIS are also heard at the hearing.

STEP 2: At the Hearing:

If you are in the DC area, please try to come to the hearing!

WHEN: Wednesday, March 11th - 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: 1300 Longworth House Office Building (go to for maps and parking information)
WHAT: Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry -- Public hearing to review animal identification systems.

The subcommittee will hear invited testimony only, so you won't be able to speak at the hearing. But it is still good for the subcommittee to know that a lot of people care enough about this issue to show up in person!

Immediately after the hearing, we encourage you to visit the Subcommittee members' offices. Be polite and concise during your visit. Let them know that you were at the hearing because you are against NAIS. Briefly bring up one or two points that you felt weren't covered at the hearing that show the problems with NAIS. Keep your visit short and thank them for their time.

STEP 3: After the Hearing:

You can submit written testimony to the subcommittee before the hearing, at the hearing, or up to 10 days after the hearing. Send your testimony to the Hearing Clerk, Jamie Mitchell, at Be sure to put "March 11 Hearing - Animal Identification Programs" in the subject line. Keep your comments clear, polite, and concise.

We will send out some guidance after the hearing for key points to make in your testimony, based on what is said at the hearing. If you are submitting comments before the hearing, you can draw ideas from the comments submitted by FARFA on the USDA's proposed rule for NAIS, posted at:


Below are the Subcommittee members, their party and state, and phone numbers. You can also send an email by using this format: We strongly recommend that you make at least your initial contact with the ag staffer with a telephone conversation.

Mike Rogers (R-AL), (p): 202-225-3261, (f): 202-226-8485
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6131, (f): 202-225-0819
Jim Costa (D-CA), (p): 202-225-3341, (f): 202-225-9308
Joe Baca (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6161, (f): 202-225-8671
Betsy Markey (D-CO), (p): 202-225-4676, (f): 202-225-5870
David Scott (Chair), (D-GA), (p): 202-225-2939, (f): 202-225-4628
Leonard Boswell (D-IA), (p): 202-225-3806, (f): 202-225-5608
Steve King (R-IA), (p): 202-225-4426, (f): 202-225-3193
Walt Minnick (D-ID), (p): 202-225-6611, (f): 202-225-3029
Frank Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD), (p): 202-225-5311, (f): 202-225-0254
Adrian Smith (R-NE), (p): 202-225-6435, (f): 202-225-0207
Tim Holden (D-PA), (p): 202-225-5546, (f): 202-226-0996
David P. Roe (R-TN), (p): 202-225-6356, (f): 202-225-5714
K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), (p): 202-225-3605 or 866-882-3811, (f): 202-225-1783
Randy Neugebauer, Ranking Minority Member (R-TX), (p): 202-225-4005 or 888-763-1611, (f): 202-225-9615
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), (p): 202-225-5431, (f): 202-225-9681
Steve Kagen (D-WI), (p): 202-225-5665, (f): 202-225-5729

For more information about NAIS, go to

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