Food Freedom

To be able to sell our pork legally, our pigs have to be killed and processed at a USDA inspected facility.  The closest one is in North Carolina, over an hour away from here. So despite the fact that there are closer meat processors, and despite the fact that it’s been done safely and humanely on farms for thousands of years, when it’s time to process our pigs we have to load them on a trailer and drive them to another state.  Because we’re trying to do it by the book.

Plenty of folks around here just ignore the book.  They process their own pork, as families have for generations, and sell it “under the table.”  I suppose that makes them criminals in the eyes of The Man.

There was a bill in the General Assembly this year that would have granted small farms some relief from this kind of one-size-fits-all over-regulation.  The Farm Freedom Act would exempt small farms and home-businesses from the laws requiring government-approved and inspected kitchens, processing facilities and the like, provided their sales were directly to the consumer, their packaging identified all ingredients and included a statement the the goods were not prepared in a state or federally inspected kitchen.  It’s illegal here to sell baked goods at the Farmers Market, for example, unless you have a government-inspected kitchen.  The bill would change that.  As proponent Joel Salatin said, “If we trust our neighbor’s lasagna, we should be able to purchase it from them without government interference.”

But alas, the bill didn’t make it out subcommittee.

If we really want to increase access to local food, then we need to get rid of the obstacles to producing it.