Wednesday, September 15, 2010

But they will never enforce the laws against small farmers!

Small farmers and local food advocates are against S.510 the supposed "Food Safety Act" because it contains provisions that could be used against small farmers and even against people growing vegetables in their own backyard. We argue that small farmers and backyard enthusiasts don't need to follow all the regulations, create a paper trail, submit reports, and (most importantly) follow the "growing guidelines" that the FDA (underwritten by Monsanto) will establish to tell us how to grow our food.

Advocates of the bill call us "alarmist". Tell us that the FDA will never enforce the provisions of the bill against small farmers and backyard gardeners. That just because a law is in place does not mean it will be enforced everywhere (they sorta forget that little "equal protection" clause of our legal system but hey, let's ignore that for now).

Well guess what - if there is a law you can bet at some point the government is going to enforce it no matter how stupid that enforcement may seem. Case in point - a landscaper in DeKalb County, Georgia is being fined $5,200 by the DeKalb County Code Enforcement office for growing too many vegetables in his 2 acre backyard. It seems that it is illegal to grow more than a certain number of veggies in land zoned for residential use. You can read about it here: County Sues For Growing Veggies

Why do we need a law to stop people from growing too many vegetables? And why would it ever be enforced?

Ask the same questions about S.510 - why do we need a law telling small farmers exactly how to grow food and to report the names of people they sold it to? And why would it ever be enforced - that could put them out of business. Something to think about.

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