Please Help!

The issues covered in this blog are, for the most part, critical to the public discussion of sustainability in agriculture and food systems.  I hope and expect that you, the reader, will take an active role in the discussion and join me in the quest to make the dreams of a better life for our kids and our communities a reality within some kind of reasonable time frame (i.e. not some distant, theoretical future).  To that end, you can help by doing any/all of the following:

  • Read the posts on this blog and comment on them.
  • Follow the blog by signing up in the appropriate place in the margin on the right.  
  • Share this blog or individual posts with your friends, family and colleagues through discussion, email or any of the social media outlets available today.
  • Get in touch with me directly to let me know your thoughts.
  • Join PASA today, and get involved in our many other efforts to transform agriculture.
  • Make a donation to support our important work.
  • Find local and regional food sources and support the farmers who are there to support you!
  • Identify and support other sustainable agriculture groups and organizations in your community and region.

What we’re trying to do obviously cannot be done by a small group of well-intended people alone, nor can we accomplish anything by working in isolation from those who do not yet understand the importance of sustainability.  Please do all you can to spread the word and to manifest your agricultural values in your daily lives!

9 thoughts on “Please Help!

    Preventive Controls Rule: FDA-2011-N-0920
    Produce Standards Rule: FDA-2011-N-0921

    I am not a farmer, but I am certainly an eater. Every Spring I look forward to the return of our local market, at 18th St & Columbia Rd NW in Washington, DC. I especially look out for the Abe Lincoln tomatoes in August and the Stayman Winesap apples in Fall. But in the FDA’s blind rush to “ensure food safety” for Americans, I fear the government will fatally undermine our ability to get fresh local food at decent prices–or at all.

    As proposed, the FDA’s new FSMA rules–purportedly to combat the spread of airborne disease through food–will ruin small family farms. And in addition to harming my own family’s health, they also threaten the quality of our country’s soil, water, and wildlife conservation.

    In short, these new FSMA regulations will effectively destroy most family farms. Their ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach lumps small farmers together with agribusiness (the actual source of most food-transmitted diseases) and specifies no obligation for the FDA to hear appeals or to reinstate farms in a timely manner. Compliance will also impose new costs and paperwork most family farms cannot afford.

    If the FDA does not wish to DOOM small farmers and local produce, it must insert new provisions to regulate them differently from agribusiness (whose methods of food production are entirely different). Toward that end, I urge the FDA to:

    1. Continue current standards for organic food production. The federal govt currently approves several farming practices as ‘sustainable’ or ‘organic’ that are largely used by small producers only (such as the strict standards for manure and compost use, regulated by the National Organic Program, which the FDA currently requires farms to use to be certified as organic producers).

    2. Categorize small farmers as ‘very small businesses’ producing ‘regulated product.
    – clarify that farmers markets, CSAs, roadside stands, and other direct-to-consumer vendors are ‘retail food establishments’ and therefore not subject to additional regulation;
    – categorize farmers earning under $1 million (valued as ‘regulated product’ rather than ‘all food’) as ‘very small businesses’ exempt from regulations designed for industrial-scale food producers.

    3. Specify provisions for due process and timely reinstatement following infractions:
    – define which measurable ‘material conditions’ could lead to withdrawal of a farm’s protected status;
    – establish a clear, fair, and timely process justifying withdrawal of a farmer’s protected status following an infraction;
    – establish a clear, fair, and timely process for appeal and for regaining protected status.

    Elizabeth Sherman, Concerned Citizen

  2. Our government needs to regulate where the problems lie and its not with family farms. These regulations will drive family farms out of business. This is NOT the way to solve the food safety problems. Put more inspectors at the ports and on factory farms. And, consumers have a responsibility to wash their produce before use. Common sense should prevail not unnecessary regulations on the small farms.

  3. I wish to convey to you and the organization my passion for organic/heirloom gardening and sustainable food through organic farming practices.
    I have devoted my life to educating, communicating and promoting the need for immediate actions to be enacted to protect human and animal health through protecting our food supply and continuing to have small farms using pure unadulterated seeds and local organic farmers to provide delicious and nutritious fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats.
    My belief is that it is through education and action that we can defend the food supply and connect consumers to the hard work of the farmers that want to continue to provide pure wholesome foods. Ultimately, farming is the life line to healthy living through agricultural integrity and ecological principles that promotes good healthy food consumption. By protecting the environment and the organic food supply, we can promote better living through the sustainable food sources. Although I have not seen any reports on the subject, I can guess that the Senators, Congressmen, Representatives are feeding on the ORGANIC and locally grown foods instead of the poisonous and adulterated GMO and Hybrid food and by products that the BIG Agriculturists have seeped into the FOOD SUPPLY. The FSMA rules are very unfair to Farmers and most certainly BAD even deadly for the Public Health.
    I am very interested to be actively involved with like thinkers when it comes to the FDA policy and approach to controlling the food supply.

    I have been involved with home gardening, teaching and educating local residents on the importance of sustaining the organic & heirloom gardening. During my classes all of the students were excited to be in control of the foods they consume and passing down seeds from generations past and future.

    During my childhood, my parents (dad was raised on a farm in Marshfield, WI) always established and maintained a very bountiful garden and all 9 of my siblings and I learned at an early age the benefits of growing and canning our own foods. My mother made sure to prepare for each meal fruits, vegetables and grains to ensure a nutritionally balanced diet. She prepared all of the meals including packed lunch boxes that will even today rival any purchased lunches from the so called “Healthy menus” available today.

    It is my belief and practice to ensure that my children, future grandchildren and for generations to come will have the food choices that I have. I have taught my daughter the importance of bee keeping. Last week she and her fiance’ participated fully in the decapping of the honeycombs, use of the honey extracting machine, straining and bottling of 150 pounds of Honey. Earlier in the spring time they again both helped to plant over 400 seedlings of heirloom varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, lettuces, cabbage, spinach, cucumbers, kale and corn. We planted our 1st ever crop of Quinoa.
    We have now begun the lessons in canning tomatoes, corn and cucumbers. Very soon in the fall we will make our 1st batch of applesauce and I will involve them in the art of Home wine making using only organically grown grapes to produce a chemical free, sulfite free wine that far exceeds anything that a commercial winery could ever produce.

    • My Grandfather owned the large Apple Orchard in Dalton PA; My Father Entomologist Farmer; Farm and Urban Land Design from Farmington University; My book, “Honey For All,” from my book “Farmers are key to the Americas viable sound Food System,they alone continue the legacy of comfort security and reassurance that we will have farm fresh produce on the dinner table!” My opinion, Large corporate industry cheats the American Farmer by instituting ridiculous laws such as “only use this “GMO seed”, patenting seeds that were gifted by nature and/or increase the costs of farming by buying the very necessity of monopolize farm equipment,, goods and services; prohibiting grants or community farm funds for America. Without properly representing the Farming community the government policy makers are making policies that are baseless;government decisions should be made by the public Agricultural people and not by manufacturers companies, period……Gretchen Schmitt RD LDN Climate Reality Leadership Corps Leader

  4. I’m so tired of people thinking that they don’t need to fight for a nontoxic life. American’s go to buy everything at the store and don’t know how toxic the products and food are they are using everyday. Then they go home to a toxic house and cook there toxic food on toxic cookware. Every minute they are exposed while awake and sleeping. Why are there no politicians who care enough for there own families to fight for our right to live long toxic free lives! We have to start with our food and expand to everything because future generations deserve it!

  5. I sincerly hope enough Americans will stand up for something for once, I agree the GOVERNMENT should stay out of Farmer’s lives FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES has always been a staple in my life and family. My grandfather had a farm and we loved the fresh green beans, corn, okra etc. We picked our own apples and plums and wild cherries and healthier than most children and adults are growing up today because of CHEMICALS used in our produce. I sincerly agree with all the farmers who feel the government over stepping it’s bounds and need to stip interfering in business and start FOCUSING on government.

  6. Pingback: Drafting the New Farm Bill in Our Own Words « The Word Magician's Kitchen

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