By Shain Saberon
Recently, some of our EverGreen Farm CSA members contacted us about upcoming food legislation. We thank you for your caution and concern. Your comments brought to mind what Andrew Jackson explained in his farewell address when he argued that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty.
Over the past few weeks I have spent much time researching the information forwarded to us by concerned farm members. I have become all to aware that the Internet is buzzing with facts, serious concerns, exaggerations, and misrepresentations relating to proposed food safety bills in congress. Yes, some of the newly proposed legislation deserves our attention and requires action! However, my experiences with politics have taught me to proceed with caution in an effort to avoid reacting to misinformation.
The following proposed items demand both our consideration and time:
- HR 875: The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
- HR 759: The Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009
- HR 1332: Safe FEAST Act of 2009
- S 425
- S 510.
I encourage all of you to research these bills and come to your own conclusions. In addition, please take action by writing and calling our elected representatives in regards to your concerns. Last of all, inform and motivate others who could be concerned about these critical food issues.
For your convenience I have provided links to some reliable organizations staffed by long-time organic/small family farm experts and activists. The good people at these institutions research food bills and other related agricultural legislation, are genuine, have honorable intentions, and prove to be correct most of the time.
1. http://www.cornucopia.org/2009/03/action-alert-critical-pending-food-safety-legislation/ (this is my most trusted source of information regarding federal food and farming policy; the site provides links to specific bills, contact information for elected officials, and a sample letter I feel emphasizes the most critical concerns I have regarding this legislation)
2. http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/action-03-16-09 (see action alert #2, this seems to be another reliable source)
3. http://www.leavemyfoodalone.org/ (this site is new and has no track record; however, it appears to be somewhat objective, and I like the online petition)
A number of our elected officials believe in the principle of democratic representation and are persuaded by citizen activism. Others tend to see our country better served by promoting corporate interests and are only democratically minded when moved by the tide of overwhelming public outcry. Either way, it is up to us to protect small farms if we value their existence, sustainability, and continued growth.
Please, be vigilant and take action!