For those of you who are die-hard local-food foodies some of the information presented in the documentary might be old news. For others the idea that the USDA has been over-zealous in harassing small farms might be a rather nasty surprise. As Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com states in his July 8 blog:
"Activists, farmers and foodies make the case (in the documentary) for locally grown and minimally processed food, and we hear a lot of anecdotes about governmental overreach, while the bureaucrats either damn themselves by keeping their mouths shut or damn themselves by talking and saying nothing. A Vermont family has its entire herd of imported sheep destroyed, thanks to a completely imaginary outbreak of mad-cow disease (which is not known to occur in sheep in the first place, and definitely didn't occur in theirs). Armed agents invade an upstate New York farm to seize a cooler full of raspberry yogurt. An undercover unit breaks up an interstate trafficking ring -- one devoted to bringing USDA-certified raw milk from South Carolina across the line into Georgia."
Why the sudden rush to armed intervention to prevent raw milk from being drunk by consumers? Bureaucracy gone wild?, Stupidity? Pressure on the USDA by Agribusiness? We may never know for absolutely certain.
In my opinion, at the very least, the differences between highly processed food factory farms run by corporate agribusiness and local farmers has caused a crisis in identification by the powers that be such as the USDA, and State and Local Health Departments.
Here in Virginia, where they support farmers markets, the bureaucracy has difficulty sorting through the differences between agribusiness products and small farm products. They tend to utilize the same rules for both, when in fact regulations that recognize the difference between Agribusiness Products and Small or Sustainable Farm Products has become essential.
This documentary is about the moment in time when this concept is still being articulated and lobbied for. As in all moments of change - problems are occurring. But it is possible for people to sway the laws in their favor, lobby their congresspeople, write letters, buy locally grown foods.
If you like your free-range eggs, hormone free chickens, and even raw milk - go see the documentary, and donate your money towards the work of re-describing what healthy food is, where it comes, how it is stored, and take a look at a moment in time, just before everything either facist-like stubbornly stays the same or serendipitously changes drastically.
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