In brief, what happened was that a farmer created a private, not public, group of consenting adults who leased his land and animals, thereby owning the milk, eggs, and veggies produced. The farmer was paid to maintain land and animals and package the products for the owners. He had been raided before in 2005, and was shown to have had all of the required legal papers. At most, it could only be found that he was operating without a business license. Nonetheless, the farmer was charged with several felonies.
Events such as the one just described have created so much national concern that Kristin Canty has produced a film, Farmageddon, to bring attention to the issue. According to Los Angeles Times movie reviewer Kevin Thomas, "Farmageddon" is well-titled. It's an eye-popping wake-up call revealing how the USDA and FDA have increasingly waged war on America's small farmers even when they can prove they are contributing healthful products to our food supply.”
In interviewing farmers and agricultural experts on all sides of the issue, Canty suggests that corporate agriculture exerts tremendous political pressure on governmental regulation agencies to the disadvantage of small farmers, even though diseases in the food supply chain occur almost always within big industry.
Farmageddon is a must-see film for anyone interested in issues of local, community produced food. If you are interested in backyard gardening, Farmer’s Markets, or local food cooperatives, this documentary will speak to you. A free showing will be offered on Saturday, April 21st at 6:30 PM at the Sisson Museum in Mount Shasta. Plan to arrive a little early with a plate of potluck finger food, as there will be time before the film for “grazing and visiting.” There will also be a moderated panel discussion after the film to talk about positive ways in which our community can safeguard our local food interests.
One of the things that might be productive to discuss at this event is the feasibility of a Local Food and Community Self-Governing Ordinance. Such an Ordinance would state the right of local persons to access and produce food, as well as the right to own livestock in accordance with local zoning regulations.
Several areas in California have already crafted such documents and the timing might be right for our area to begin to move in a similar direction.
Find out more about the film here: http://shastacommons.org/calendarevents/details/232-farmegaddon