I've been a little distracted from my books lately, and particularly slow with the book reviews. My mind has been busy thinking -- and my fingers typing -- about Food Freedom. (For where my fellow book bloggers come in, see the end of this post.)
In particular, I have been developing a Food Freedom campaign for my law firm, because many of us in my office are interested in these issues, as are our clients. We represent a lot of farmers, food producers, restaurateurs, trade associations, and other agricultural or food-related entities.
We also want to reach other potential clients to let them know we share some of their concerns and understand the issues.
So in the last week or so, I have set up a Facebook page for Food Freedom Oregon, got us going on twitter @FoodFreedomOR, and arranged to sponsor the Portland showing of Farmageddon on July 22 and 23.
WHAT IS FOOD FREEDOM?
Food Freedom is the rallying cry for those committed to free choice in the foods we eat and feed our families.
The general idea is to keep all food choices legal – whether healthy, unhealthy, local, global, fresh, frozen, or french fried. The goal is to limit government regulation that comes between your fork and your mouth.
Although the general idea is broad, supporters of Food Freedom tend to be particularly interested in certain issues, and these issues tend to focus on smaller producers and local markets. These issues include:
- RAW MILK: Each state regulates the sale and consumption of raw milk and raw milk products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- In Oregon, it is only legal to purchase raw milk directly from a farm (a farm with three or fewer cows and/or seven or fewer goats). It is illegal to purchase raw milk from a grocery store, restaurant, farmers’ market, or other retail outlet.
- Other states, such as California, allow the retail sale of raw milk and raw milk products.
- It is the FDA’s position that all consumption of raw milk should be prohibited – no person should consume any raw milk or raw milk product, period.
- FARM-DIRECT MEAT: Many people want to purchase meat directly from the farmers who raised the animals. Many of these are concerned about the treatment of animals raised at “industrial” facilities and the ethics of certain slaughtering methods. Many believe “farm-to-table” or “farm-to-fork” meat has superior flavor and quality.
- In Oregon, it is illegal to buy meat slaughtered by the farmer and not at a USDA slaughter house. But it is the treatment and feeding of animals at the USDA slaughter house that farm-direct fans want to avoid.
- But, in Oregon, it is legal to slaughter your own animal for your own consumption. So consumers and farmers can get around these rules by colluding in the fiction that a consumer buys a percentage of a cow or a pig when it is alive and then, when the farmer slaughters it, the consumer is, in fact, eating his own animal.
- PASTURED POULTRY: The idea of “pastured poultry” appeals to people who do not like the chicken factories that produce – in pretty disgusting conditions – most of our poultry. Current regulations make raising pastured poultry difficult and expensive. One-size-fits-all regulations are geared towards mega-producers to the disadvantage of smaller ag entrepreneurs trying different approaches.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH A BOOK BLOG?
Well, for starters, it is a bit of a distraction, like I said. But I hope to do a few tie-ins. For instance, I am thinking about the following:
- I am very interested to know what other book bloggers share some of these interests. Which is why I am posting this on Weekend Cooking -- I figure this is a target-rich crowd. If anyone is interested, please leave comments with blog links, twitter handles, Facebook pages, or book recommendations. Thanks!
- I'd like to come up with a list of books about some of these Food Freedom issues. I just read American Terroir by Rowan Jacobson that touches on some of these topics. And Joel Salatin's Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front is on my TBR shelf now. Since I can't resist a list, this project appeals to me.
- Other ideas?