Saturday, November 29, 2014

Proposed FDA Food Safety Rules Would Inhibit Small Local Farmers To Such a Degree That They Would Either Be Forced to Drastically Change Sustainable Practices or Get Out of the Business (New Rules for All Designed for Big Ag Enterprises that Pollute Air/Water/Land and Produce Chemical-Ridden Food and Unsanitary/Inhumane Conditions for Animals/Vegetables/Employees)

Attention, friends (both Americans and every friend of the natural world)!

My latest note from one of my favorite local farmers calls for concerted action from us all before it's too late.

Can citizen awareness stop the corporations from ruining our health? Or will we once again let a lobbyist-ridden government organization (our government organization) - the FDA - get away with not protecting the citizens? (Further enriching corporations who pay (proudly) minimal taxes already.)

Dear friends,

I pray that you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving this week, time with friends and family and good healthy food raised on local farms.

Please take some time this holiday weekend to read the forwarded email from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and comment on the FDA's new proposed Food Safety Rules. Many of the proposed rules would inhibit farmers like myself to such a degree that we would either be forced to drastically change our practices or get out of the business altogether. These rules were designed for "big ag" enterprises that pollute our air, water and land, produce chemical-ridden food and unsanitary, inhumane conditions for both animals, vegetables and the employees that work for them. We must tell the FDA to take into consideration those of us who are practicing truly sustainable techniques and producing healthy food to allow our family farms to remain the dynamic, flexible and vibrant businesses that they are.

Thanks and enjoy the rest of your weekend,


Dear Ben,

Fresh, local carrots on a middle school salad bar. Perfectly ripe strawberries at your farmers market. Salad mix from the farm down the road in the grocery aisle. Is this the kind of food you like to be able to buy in your community, have in your kitchen, and see on your kids’ lunch trays at school?

Farmers across the country have been innovating with new, creative approaches to get these kinds of fresh, healthy foods to people affordably wherever they shop and eat, and – even better – to do it while using sustainable and organic growing practices.

The last thing farmers and communities need is for these innovations to be unintentionally stifled by new food safety rules intended for corporate agribusiness, not family farms.  

Remember last year when we sounded the alarm about new food safety regulations by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and how they could make sustainable and organic agriculture, local food, and farm conservation efforts collateral damage?

Well, we’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that FDA received tens of thousands of comments from farmers and eaters alike – and they took those comments seriously, even agreeing to re-draft several key sections of the proposed FSMA rules. The bad news is that we’ve seen the new draft, and while they did make some critical improvements, the improvements don’t go far enough. FDA still doesn’t quite get what it’s going to take to grow a sustainable, local food system.

We need your help to tell FDA:  Let a farm be a farm!

  • Farms innovate. Don’t let the rules squash farmers’ innovative efforts in growing and selling local food.  The rules need to ensure that local food and farms can grow and thrive.
  • Farms work with nature.  Don’t let the rules undermine farmers’ sustainability. The rules need to allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices.
  • Farms deserve fair treatment.  Don’t let the rules raise costs for farmers, food businesses, and consumers by imposing unclear, inconsistent, and unfair rules. The rules need to provide options that treat our local farms fairly without unnecessary, excessive costs.
If we don’t act now, these new rules will have a devastating impact on the farmers and businesses responsible for putting fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods on America’s dinner plates – which, in turn, affects our health and well being.

The time is NOW to speak out. Comments from CFSA members helped convinced the FDA to make some changes last year; make sure they hear us again!

Commenting takes a little bit more time than signing a petition.  But this is worth a few more minutes of your time – and we’ve developed materials to help you figure out what you should say when you comment.

We have just a few weeks to be heard:  COMMENT TODAY and help SPREAD THE WORD!

To a better food future,

Roland McReynolds
Executive Director

CFSA helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic food by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems that organic family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic farming.

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