During WWII, Victory Gardens advertised that the war effort could be supported with the help of every American by planting their very own backyard garden. In the early 40’s these gardens produced up to 40 percent of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally, not to mention positive community growth. This kind of practice, one that gave each American the sense of empowerment, as well as health and well-being during a time of war is now being seen as a major threat to industrial seed producers like Monsanto, ADM, Sodexo, Dupont and Tyson. These companies aren’t just nasty corporations, but are makers of Genetically Modified foods which means they are patenting and branding seeds so that what you grow will be owned by them not you. Read more about Monsanto here . A more disheartening thought is that these companies have a stronghold within the United States government! Heads of the Department of Agriculture since the late 1970’s have worked with Monsanto including Tom Visack, Agriculture’s director for the Obama Administration. I have just read news of a devastating bill that is supposedly on its way to Congress. Its about criminalizing organic farming and could include you, the backyard farmer . A few highlights include the following from the Campaign For Liberty website where you can read the plan in more detail:
Red flags the Campaign for Liberty found ………..
- Legally binds state agriculture departments to enforce federal guidelines, effectively taking away the states’ power to do anything other than act as food police for the federal dept.
- Effectively criminalizes organic farming but doesn’t actually use the word organic.
- Affects anyone growing food even if they are not selling it but consuming it.
- Affects anyone producing meat of any kind including wild game.
- Legislation is so broad based that every aspect of growing or producing food can be made illegal. There are no specifics, which is bizarre considering how long the legislation is.
Things you can do……
- Contact your members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425. While you are at it, ask them if they personally have read the legislation and what their position is. If they have not read the legislation ask them to read it and politely let them know that just because other representatives are not reading the legislation and voting on it does not mean they can do the same.
- Get in touch with local farmers and food producers by attending a local farmers market and asking them how business is.
- Attend a local WAPF meeting, this is a good start to learning about what is going on in farming and local & state initiatives . Find your local chapter at their website .
- Check out the Farmers Legal Defense Fund which provides affordable legal counsel to farmers and consumers in need. Their mission is to make the needs of the small farmer and the concerned consumer known to our government, and to promote this shared vision: sustainable farming and direct farm-to-consumer transactions.
- Find out who sits on your state’s agriculture and farming committee and contact them with your concerns.
- Continue to contact your elected officials and let them know your position on legislation and why.
- Get active at the local and state levels; this is the quickest way to initiate change.
Also, check back with my updates about Kitchen Crops; growing food indoors and more on urban farming.
Check out these two very important films: