The Food Safety Saga and Why It Matters

Four years ago, in March of 2009, the relative tranquility of the Sustainable Food Movement was interrupted by what seemed a rapid burst of urgent messages, mostly coming by email, as though from some alien civilization.  The versions of what was happening in this other world varied, but boiled down to something like this: “Help! Take action right now, to prevent our government from shutting down small farms, outlawing farmers markets and the growing of backyard tomatoes!”

The messages were disturbing, not only due to content, but for the way they were written to incite the maximum amount of panic and anticipated mass response. Many PASA members were getting them, and I began to hear from folks wanting to know what was happening.  I also heard from Russell Libby, then executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), who was in the same predicament. Together, we resolved to get to the bottom of it. Continue reading