Nutritious, safe food. It should not be that much to ask, should it? Yet over the past year there have been stories right and left about yet another food recall. Spinach, peanut butter, eggs, ground meat, nothing seems to be safe.
In order to fight back against seemingly unsafe foods, as well as declaring food sovereignty, many people shop at farmer’s markets, buying clubs, and straight from the farm. It would seem like a way to get safer food and also support small farms in an age of agribusiness and monocultures.
Or so you would think… except for the fact that these places are getting raided by both state and federal authorities. Like Vernon Hershberger in Wisconson, who was arrested for selling raw milk on his farm.
Laws about raw milk vary from state to state. In some, any sale is absolutely illegal. Some states allow for cow shares, where people can own a “share” of a cow, and regularly pick up an allotment of raw milk. Some states, like my home state of Connecticut, allow for sales of raw milk. You can even find it in the grocery store… if you know the right one to go to.
It’s not just about raw milk, though. It’s about being able to access good, safe food. This should be a right for all people, shouldn’t it?
That is the message behind the documentary Farmageddon.
Made by Kristin Canty, a mother who was able to help her son deal with major respiratory issues by giving him raw milk, the documentary discusses the current state of farming in the US. Where once this was a country full of farms, some large enough to sell to their communities, but many more which just supplied food to the home, now the vast majority of food in the United States is grown by a small amount of people. Add in corporate and federal subsidies for growing just one crop (usually corn, soy, or wheat), genetically engineered foods, pesticide use, land losing its fertility from growing the same food each year and industrial fertilizer use, harvesting food long before it’s ripe… we’re living in strange times for food.
Farmageddon is showing in several parts of the country this summer. Screenings have already occurred in Washington, DC, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, and is coming to New York City in just over a week. I am hoping to head in to the City either on the 8th or 9th to see the film. I would like to pull together a group to attend. If you’re interested, leave a comment here or drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter.