October 21, 2014

“Food Sovereignty” law passed in small Maine town to allow sale of locally produced food without interference of regulators

pin it button Food Sovereignty law passed in small Maine town to allow sale of locally produced food without interference of regulators

sedwicktownhall 225x300 Food Sovereignty law passed in small Maine town to allow sale of locally produced food without interference of regulators

Town Hall in Sedgwick Maine

Update March, 2013: Brooksville Becomes Ninth Maine Town to Pass Food Sovereignty Law

Here’s a Way to Eliminate the Regulators and Lawyers, and Build Community At the Same Time: Organize and Declare “Food Sovereignty,” Like Sedgwick, Maine

by David E. Gumpert
The Complete Patient

Maybe the citizens of tiny Sedgwick on the Maine coast were listening to the calls of Dave Milano, Ken Conrad, and others for more trust and community, and less rigid one-size-fits-all food regulation.

On Friday evening, they became perhaps the first locale in the country to pass a “Food Sovereignty” law. It’s the proposed ordinance I first described last fall, when I introduced the “Five Musketeers”, a group of farmers and consumers intent on pushing back against overly aggressive agriculture regulators. The regulators were interfering with farmers who, for example, took chickens to a neighbor for slaughtering, or who sold raw milk directly to consumers.

The proposed ordinance was one of 78 being considered at the Sedgwick town meeting, that New England institution that has stood the test of time, allowing all of a town’s citizens to vote yea or nay on proposals to spend their tax money and, in this case, enact potentially far-reaching laws with national implications. They’ve been holding these meetings in the Sedgwick town hall (pictured above) since 1794. At Friday’s meeting, about 120 citizens raised their hands in unanimous approval of the ordinance.

Citing America’s Declaration of Independence and the Maine Constitution, the ordinance proposed that “Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.” These would include raw milk and other dairy products and locally slaughtered meats, among other items.

This isn’t just a declaration of preference. The proposed warrant added, “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.” In other words, no state licensing requirements prohibiting certain farms from selling dairy products or producing their own chickens for sale to other citizens in the town.

What about potential legal liability and state or federal inspections? It’s all up to the seller and buyer to negotiate. “Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.” Imagine that–buyer and seller can agree to cut out the lawyers. That’s almost un-American, isn’t it?

This from a press release put out after the vote by supporters:

“Local farmer Bob St.Peter noted the importance of this ordinance for beginning farmers and cottage producers. ‘This ordinance creates favorable conditions for beginning farmers and cottage-scale food processors to try out new products, and to make the most of each season’s bounty,’ said St.Peter. ‘My family is already working on some ideas we can do from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going.’

“Mia Strong, Sedgwick resident and local farm patron, was overwhelmed by the support of her town. ‘Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance,’ said Strong. ‘I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.’”

The ordinance comes up for a vote in three other Maine towns upcoming–Penobscott, Brooksville, and Blue Hill.

(Thanks to Deborah Evans, a Sedgwick area farmer, for providing information for this post, and the photo above.)

Read the full article here: http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2011/3/7/heres-a-way-to-eliminate-the-regulators-and-lawyers-and-buil.html

UPDATE: Two more Main towns attempt same action with different results: http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/two-more-maine-towns-vote-on-food-sovereignty/

UPDATE 4/8/2011: Third Maine town passes food freedom ordinance

UPDATE 11/17/2011: Local Food Sovereignty Being Challenged in Maine

UPDATE4/19/2012: Local Food Sovereignty Laws in Maine Come to a Test with Farmer Brown

See also:

Ron Paul stands up for raw milk in New Hampshire

Welcome to Maine – the way farming should be

Maine Legislature to Consider Home Kitchen Bill

The Raw Milk Revolution
Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights
by David E. Gumpert

Raw Milk Revolution book cover Food Sovereignty law passed in small Maine town to allow sale of locally produced food without interference of regulators

FREE Shipping Available!

More Info

 

0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Scientists Prove Goats Are Better Than Chemical Weedkillers

Scientists Prove Goats Are Better Than Chemical Weedkillers

Pin It

Science proves what farmers already know: Goats make excellent weedkillers. Herbivores—not herbicides—is the way to go, according to research published in the journal PeerJ.

Organics Board to Review Rules for BPA, GMOs, and GMO Vaccines for Animals

Organics Board to Review Rules for BPA, GMOs, and GMO Vaccines for Animals

Pin It

The National Organic Standards Board will be meeting later this month to discuss and vote on fundamental issues that will determine the future of organic foods. They plan to research whether BPA in the packaging of organic food should be banned. They also will tackle cross-contamination of organic crops from GMO crops, and other thorny GMO issues.

The deadline for comments is this week.

CSA Farm Offers “Health Care Shares” to Patients Selected by Their Doctors

CSA Farm Offers “Health Care Shares” to Patients Selected by Their Doctors

Pin It

A visitor who swings by the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) on a Wednesday afternoon will see rows opened boxes lined up across the barn floor. Farm crew members between the ages of 15 and 18 are distributing the week’s harvest evenly between the boxes.

But what might sounds like an ordinary community-supported agriculture or CSA farm, is nothing of the sort. In fact, all this fresh produce will be delivered—free of charge—to low income Vermonters through a unique partnership with area hospitals. Building on the CSA model, the farm at VYCC offers weekly “health care shares” during the growing season to patients who have been selected by their doctors.

USDA Approves Toxic Herbicide Amidst Great Public Outcry

USDA Approves Toxic Herbicide Amidst Great Public Outcry

Pin It

Dr. Oz caused a lot of controversy last week when he aired a show titled: New GMO Pesticide Doctors Are Warning Against. The show was highlighting the recent USDA approval of Dow Chemical’s herbicide “Enlist,” which is expected to gain the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This EPA approval would clear the path for the herbicide to begin being used on America’s farmlands and crops.

Dr. Oz apparently feels so strongly about this topic, and how toxic and dangerous this new herbicide is, that he reportedly did something he has never done before on his show: he encouraged his viewers and followers to take political action to try to stop the approval of this product from being used on food. He started a petition to President Obama on Whitehouse.gov, and by the end of the week it was well on its way to the required 100,000 signatures.

The controversial herbicide by Dow contains 2,4-D, a highly powerful and toxic component that supporters of GMO crops now say is necessary due to the fact that super weeds have become resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup containing glyphosate. If approved, it will enter the food supply and bring in potentially billions of dollars to Dow Chemical.

So I asked Health Impact News investigative reporter John P. Thomas to research 2,4-D and write a report, as well as to educate us a bit about the approval process with the EPA to get new chemicals approved for use in the marketplace. What you will learn about 2,4-D, which is about to be approved to be sprayed on crops all throughout the U.S., will indeed shock you.

Changing to non-GMO Soy Transformed the Health of my Pigs

Changing to non-GMO Soy Transformed the Health of my Pigs

Pin It

From the day that Danish pig farmer Ib Borup Pederson switched away from GM soy, his animals became healthier and more productive. Birth deformities reduced, sows became more fertile, medicine costs fell, and profits went up. The changes were linked to the reduction in the levels of the herbicide glyphosate in their feed.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!