This week, the food freedom movement migrated westward, with a 3-2 vote by the Highland, Utah City Council. Up for consideration was a modified version of the food freedom ordinance that has been successfully been passed in cities in Maine and Vermont.
The ordinance was not met without opposition. The two dissenting votes were from councilmen who persistently and stubbornly affirmed their disagreement with the potential law. The arguments were those that are commonly heard in objection to similar efforts: defending it in court would be costly and our tight budget can’t handle the potential expense; it’s a message bill since nothing bad has happened here yet; it’s not our place to oppose the federal government; and by leading out on the issue, we’ll be painting a target on our backs.
Earlier in the meeting, one of the opposing council members took a moment of privilege to share some parting wisdom, as this was to be his last city council meeting. After imparting such nuggets of wisdom as “personal agendas taint the will of the legislative process” and “public clamor should never dictate public policy,” Councilman Larry Mendenhall declared that a council members’ position “should never be used as a bully pulpit to espouse or promote a larger political agenda. This is Highland, Utah — not Washington, D. C.”
Despite the obstacles, the sponsor, councilman Tom Butler, found allies in two other council members who agreed enough on principle with the ordinance to cast their votes in its favor. Its narrow passage put Utah on the map for food freedom, as one of only a handful of municipalities which has taken a stand against the federal government in favor of the individual liberty of its citizens.
The preamble of the ordinance declares: