Growing food is one of the most dangerous occupations on this earth because you are in danger of becoming free. ” Jules Dervaes

Now more than ever are we seeing that growing our own food not only has environmental but self-empowering implications.  When take back our food we take back our lives.

Our food security is being bombarded on all fronts – from saving our seed sovereignty [Monsanto’s Many Attempts to Destroy All Seeds but Their Own], to bar coding our backyard farm animals the back to the land, urban homestead lifestyle is under attack.

To become self reliant, free is a dangerous occupation!

No longer is grandma’s “victory” garden going to get us out of this mess.

A new defining food security movement is sprouting across the country.  Talking about freedom – growing freedom.

Freedom Gardens” are taking root in forward-thinking municipalities and on the Internet.

As spring 2009 steps over the threshold, Americans are once again facing tumultuous times. Economic demands are forcing many people to cut back on budgets and set new financial priorities. And, if energy prices once more climb to historically high levels—as many experts predict—individual out-of-pocket expenditures for food will inevitably increase.

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Gardeners across the nation are arming themselves with a handful of seeds,  trowels and shovels and are digging their way to a free and secure food future.

“I can see the day coming when even your home garden  Is gonna be against the law.” – Bob Dylan, Union Sundown

Perhaps Bob Dylan’s prophetic words are coming to fruition with the latest salvo directed at local security food front.

Could the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 be the End to Farmers’ Markets and Organic Farms?

H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 could end farmers’ markets as we know it by requiring growers to register, be subject to inspections of their gardens by federal agents, and maintain safety records related to food production or face large fines.

Under H.R. 875, all participants in farmers’ markets will be forced to register, otherwise the market will be shut down as an illegal operation.  Failure to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 would result in a fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation.  Specifically, the law would apply to any food establishment, including farmers’ markets, defined as:

(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘food establishment’ means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.

Just like small family handmade toy companies can’t afford the requirements under CPSIA, the extra requirements and inspections required of small family farms under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 would be a burden.  I believe this bill is well intentioned; however, some critics have gone so far as to say the bill criminalizes organic farming.  Ironically, or not so ironically, the bill was introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto. OpEdNews explains why this is Monsanto’s dream bill:

The bill is monstrous on level after level – the power it  would give to Monsanto, the criminalization of seed banking, the prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, the 24 hours GPS tracking of their animals, the easements on their property to allow for warrantless government entry, the stripping away of their property rights, the imposition by the filthy, greedy industrial side of anti-farming international “industrial” standards to independent farms – the only part of our food system that still works, the planned elimination of farmers through all these means.

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  1. SILVERBEET IS HERE | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] FREE OUR FOOD | […]

  2. FLFarmer says:

    Before people start jumping all over this nonexistent bandwagon about HR 875, please take the time to actually read the bill and understand what it really says rather than what people want to read into it.

  3. Rachel says:

    I actually went and read the text of this bill… I definitely see how more red tape and regulations are making it harder for small farms to stay in business and how the feds won’t want me selling eggs to the neighbors, but nowhere in the bill did I see anything about criminalizing organic farming or seed banking. Did I miss something?

  4. Rachel says:

    I actually went and read the text of this bill… I definitely see how more red tape and regulations are making it harder for small farms to stay in business and how the feds won’t want me selling eggs to the neighbors, but nowhere in the bill did I see anything about criminalizing organic farming or seed banking. Did I miss something?
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  5. Mary Hysong says:

    To write your representative on this or any other issue you can go to this website: you just put in your state and zip and it will give an email form for your rep.

    I did see anything about organic farming or seed banks specific either, but if you read the bill it says ALL places that hold, store or sell ALL food for humans OR animals! That means that the little once a month farmers market here in town where gardeners bring their extra stuff to sell or trade would be shut down. It means if you have take your extra veggies to a market or any kind, you have to be registered. It means that places like PTF would not be able to sell to restaurants! without being registered! This affects all of us, because it takes away more and more of our choices!

  6. LC in MI says:

    Please take note that this bill is apparently aimed at preventing the various salmonella outbreaks that have affected peanuts, spinach, and other crops recently, as well as melamine contamination and other problems that have affected food imported from foreign countries.

    A careful reading of this bill reveals that farmer’s markets do not fall within the purview of this legislation because the bill only applies to a “food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products PRIOR to delivery for retail sale.” Since a farmer’s market, like grocery stores, restaurants, etc., are the point of retail sale, they are excluded from the provisions of this act.

    “Food” is defined as “a product intended to be used for food or drink for a human or an animal and components thereof,” so this would plainly not apply to seeds, which are sold for planting.

    Finally, and perhaps most reassuringly, “food production facilities” are not required to register under this act. “The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.”

    What is still open to question is whether, apart from registration, any of the other provisions of this act will impact small farms and organic growers. One thing seems obvious, though: without a requirement to register, the government will have no way tracking a farm or other food production operation.

    Fortunately, the Senate has yet to put in its two cents on this measure, and the bill will likely change considerably. Frankly, I don’t see it passing at all because it essentially creates a new federal bureaucracy at a time when the government is already awash in debt. The Congress should focus on fixing or eliminating our many broken agencies before creating new ones.

  7. LC in MI says:

    Slight correction: the act DOES apply to other types of food establishments, but these are types that process food (such as slaughterhouses and canneries). Of the various categories of establishments itemized in the bill, only “Category 5” establishments (which I described above), could possibly apply to farmer’s markets, organic growers, seed companies, etc.

  8. FLFarmer says:

    LC, thanks for expounding on this mess of a bill – I didn’t have time the other day to do it. People seem to be skimming right across the definitions in the bill along with the exclusion paragraph. I got a piece of spam the other day, in fact, that was all Chicken Little about how “Obama wants to make organic gardening illegal!!!11!!!” and passing along this bill as the end of any agrarian civilization that didn’t involve Monsanto when even a two second stop to think about that notion lacks any basis in common sense and a reading of the bill itself shows nothing of the sort.

    Like you, I don’t believe this bill will pass in this form, although pieces of it may be combined with pieces of a couple of other bills that may make it into law someday. Buying into the hysteria that some people are attempting to foster, however, is no way to live.

  9. Susan says:

    No, I can DEFINITELY see how the deliberately vague wording, and the fact that the main text of the bill was written by the wife of a Monsanto executive, will work against the small farmer in the future. It’s so vaguely worded that they can say it means whatever they want if they want to increase regulation in the future. If local food systems really begin to affect the bottom line I guarantee this will be used against the small farmer.

  10. What Has Happened to Our Fruit and Vegetable Seeds? « Redwood Forest says:

    […] And don’t forget to check out this post about a recent threat to local food security. […]

  11. Finance Lessons from Gardening | Momma's Blog says:

    […] Free Our Food – Little Homestead in the City […]

  12. Budahbabe says:

    Guess who is one of the largest share holders of Monsanto’s stock?????????? Nancy Nuts Pelosi’s husband!!!!

  13. FLFarmer says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how people will not only hurl around insults but also both toss out a statement without backing it up AND have that statement have nothing whatsoever to do with the item under discussion in the first place. The additional ZOMG!!!!111!!!eleventy!! punctuation makes it all the more a complete and utter fail. Here’s a tip: publicly traded companies must, by law, have investor information available to the general public. Go look up the largest holders of MON and you’ll find that the major shareholders, to a one, are institutional entities, not individuals. I’m no fan of MON myself, but neither am I a fan of baseless fearmongering and nonsense like that comment. These are times that call for more than just someone’s ranting, personal dislike of a politician (who obviously resides on the other side of the fence from where you sit) and more for rational, reasonable discussion of the very real situations we face and cohesive discourse on how to make things better – without all the hysterical, ideological nonsense.

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