This is a shameless come-on for a fundraiser I'm doing for the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) Sept. 21 in Graham, North Carolina on Reverence Farms. It includes a day of farm touring, discussions and on-farm first class dinner and speech from me.
For those of you unaware of the work of FTCLDF, it's modeled after the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) which provided coaching and wiggle room for parents facing truancy violations during the early days of home schooling. That was when government agents forcibly removed children from parents for being so derelict as to not send them to government school. Those were dark days for those of us who chose this model very early.
Home schooling, as you know, eventually triumphed over the public school extremists, and that's a good thing. HSLDA was instrumental, if not essential, in carving out the educational freedoms and choice enjoyed today by all Americans, whether you elect to exercise your choice or not. That war has been largely won.
The new war is on food freedom. FTCLDF maintains a 24/7/365 hotline with real time legal counsel for farmers and food sellers facing threats and intimidation from over-zealous food police. Whether it's a local health department official, inspector, or federal agent, harassment and tyranny wreak havoc on food options and small business. Here at Polyface, we've used FTCLDF several times and it helps level the playing field in negotiations and citations.
I don't know another organization doing more to stand in the gap of an otherwise industrial-government fraternity juggernaut that seems determined to marginalize and criminalize traditional food commerce. Offering pro-bono or greatly reduced legal representation to us peasant farmers gives us some savvy in what otherwise would be an unchecked food choice assault.
The FTCLDF mantra is simple: protecting the right to obtain the food of your choice from the source of your choice. When SWAT teams enter a home and confiscate food, or when a health department bureaucrat misinterprets a code and throws your eggs out of a restaurant, FTCLDF defends. And since this is the specialty of their partner attorneys, they don't have to spend days researching. Often the legal advice can come in minutes over the phone. It truly is astounding.
Most of you know I'm extremely hesitant to endorse an organization. I never sit on a boards of directors. I like to be friends with everyone and guard my independence religiously. But FTCLDF is that rare outfit so noble in its mission that even the most virulent non-joiners among us are compelled to participate. Whether it's offering herd share templates to acquire raw milk or negotiating a legal issue with authorities, FTCLDF fights for choice and food freedom. If you think product variety in the supermarket represents choice and food freedom, you're not paying attention. And you must be new to these blogs. I won't delineate the indictments on the supermarket/industrial food system right now; just be assured that the answers to everyone's food concerns do not lie in government-sanctioned fare.
Pathogens, toxins, nutrient deficiency, artificials and labeling sleight of hand all have answers. The solutions to these consumer concerns lie around the edges of the food system, those unseen transactions occurring outside the conventional marketplace. Preserving that freedom-loving and innovating edge requires liberty in commerce, and that's what FTCLDF is all about.
I hope you'll join me in Graham, North Carolina Sept. 21 for a day of celebration, great food, and fellowship as together we affirm the noble and sacred mission of protecting food freedom. Register today at <www.farmtoconsumer.org/fallharvestdrive>. Thank you.
Did you register yet?