Happy Anniversary FTCLDF! (and what this means for farmers)

by brenda on June 26, 2012

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Let’s say you have been studying the art of making cheese for many years, and you’ve got it down. You know how to make some awesome cheese, so you build your life around that skill. You buy a shop with a big commercial kitchen. You buy a bunch of equipment. You hire some employees. You’ve got a business–it’s the real deal. You’re selling cheese! The main difference (besides the incredible FLAVOR) between your cheese and the bright orange bricks that you can find at the grocery store is that you make your cheese with raw, unadulterated milk. No big deal. It’s perfectly legal to make and sell raw-milk-cheese, as long as the cheese is aged. And of course, you follow the laws, because that is what a good and honest business owner does.

Your cheese sells for a lot more per pound than the orange bricks do. That threatens other businesses, because you’re making profit and their potential customers are choosing to purchase your great product! Since the orange brick producers are usually big companies, they’ve got dough (and I don’t mean bread dough), and they come after you. They play off of the fact that you’re making your cheese out of raw milk, because we all know that raw milk is scary, right?! (Ha!) They make a claim that there is bacteria in your cheese and that people will get sick. Not that anyone has gotten sick, but they will, of course, if there’s bacteria! (Nevermind the fact that we all have tons of bacteria in us and we are not sterile beings!). So the big company gets the USDA on board–your cheese is a threat to the big company’s pockets (I mean, to the consumer’s health–right?).

So one day, as you’re minding your own business, making fabulous cheese, a bunch of guys show up at your shop with guns. They raid your shop, confiscate all of your cheese, and shut down your business. You’re done. You didn’t do anything wrong. This was your livelihood. This is what you looked forward to every morning when you woke up. Gone. In a flash. Because some big company was jealous of your small share of the market.

Do you think this could happen? In America? Absolutely. The above story is my semi-fictional rendition of what really happened in California and Washington. Who would you turn to? What would you do?

Or, let’s say, you’re raising heritage hogs. You like the flavor. You like the way they eat pasture and they don’t require as much feed. Your customers enjoy the bacon you sell….and the pork chops, and pork roast, and ham. 😉 You hear that your heritage hogs (who roam on pasture within a fenced enclosure on your property) will be killed by the government because they look similar to feral hogs. The “Invasive Species Act,” an agenda of the big pork producers, says that if you possess one of these heritage hogs, you could be fined $20,000 and sent to jail. This is government (and big business) deciding that all pork producers have to raise pink pigs in big, stinky buildings. If you have another idea about how to raise pork, watch out! You’ll go to jail for it. You’re a farmer, you don’t have the time or the funds to fight these big companies. You’re just trying to make a living, and you’re just trying to produce good food. It’s your right, isn’t it?

This is where the the FTCLDF comes in (Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund). It’s like an insurance program for farmers–you pay to become a member, and when you need them to defend your farm and your rights to produce good food, they’re there. Not only that, but they’re out there fighting the crazy farm-limiting laws that are happening, and fighting on your behalf (if you’re a farmer or a consumer, that is!), whether you’re a member or not. Their work impacts all of us.

  • Do you want to be able to drink raw milk?
  • Do you want to eat heritage pork (it is oh-so-AMAZING!)?
  • What about raw cheese? Have you tried it? It’s so good! Do you want to be able to buy it?
  • Do you want farmers to be able to feel secure in their jobs? They’re doing the best job on earth–providing good food for God’s good people! Farmers ought to feel an incredible amount of job security (after all, as long as there are people, we will always need food! 🙂 ). But now days, farmers don’t feel secure. Any day–any moment–some big company or new law or government official could shut down their operation. Just like that. All of the hard work. All of the money invested. All of the time spent. Gone

For these reasons, everyone should be thanking Sally Fallon Morrell for creating this awesome organization 5 years ago & fighting for farmers! Before the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund existed, there were not any non-profit, pro-bono organizations out there that were standing up for the farmers. As a farmer, I appreciate the work that Sally has done to create such an amazing organization!

Join with me in wishing The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund a Happy 5 year Anniversary!


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