Food Freedom. It’s one of the big issues of today. I’ve been watching friends of mine who are otherwise completely non politically involved become intense activists over this issue. And they’re right that we deserve food freedom…but what does that look like, exactly?
Here in Washington state, the current legislative excitement over this issue, revolves around initiative 522 – regarding gmo labeling. Not long ago I wrote about I-591, the supposed protection of gun rights initiative, and how we need to be careful and read before we sign. Don’t get caught up in an excited frenzy. I learned this lesson personally over I-522.
I was visiting friends, the petitioners had just appeared, the labeling battle in California had just been lost and I thought to myself; this is for a good cause. I was caught up in something I hadn’t thought through all the pieces of. I’ve since had a change of heart.
But actually I’m not here to talk about 522. That issue was just the catalyst for my thoughts. I want to talk about this general idea of petitioning government to affect change.
Sometimes we are passionate on an issue, without really understanding the ins and outs of that issue, or the consequences of demanding change, right now, in the same old way we’ve done before. Some state sponsored programs that possibly began with the best of intentions, are now a heinous mess of bureaucracy that hurt more than they help. Worse, there is plenty of evidence that they are fearfully corrupt. Yet, we hate government for meddling in area A, while we clamor for them to be involved in area B. Is that really the answer?
Let’s look at one of the big players in the food freedom debate: Monsanto. Regardless of your personal feelings about it, I believe we can all agree that they are not hurting for money and they have big friends in D.C., illustrated of course, by the passage of the Monsanto Protection Act.
Prior to this, a huge fervor was already building around the country – and the world – in response to genetic modification of food. A few other companies even began going more natural and labeling their products as non-gmo (and outing competitors who lied about the same) in response to the demand for this in the market. Unfortunately, Washington stepped into the fray, giving special protections to the corporation many people were uniting against.
Are you as consumers, too daft to make decisions about your food without the intervention of Congress? What if D.C. stayed out of it? Would people continue to clamor? Would businesses continue to respond to their customer base? Would we see a gradual change without the help of government? I personally believe that we would.
The same thing can be said for many corporations – the nemeses of the Occupy movement. Large corporations continue to receive government subsidies, are exempted from things the general public has to deal with – like Obamacare – and are generally protected by their crooked counterparts in D.C. Is every corporation criminal? Not necessarily, but it sure makes sense how it can look that way with the government’s corrupt involvement.
I have heard the same people who loathe the FDA, argue for essentially the same services when it comes to gmo labeling. Because the FDA has done such a good job at approving things? Or maybe it’s the new era of armed raids on family farms that is so impressive?
My point is, we are taking issues that are important to us, and rather than finding individual and community responsible means of accountability, we go hollering to our government to create yet more regulations, inspections , and red tape for us to live under. Of course, we don’t think that is what we’re doing at the time, but we have to start realizing that every time we do this we are just feeding the beast. Clamoring for government regulation on food, and then rallying against the NSA, is like having a split personality. The same overreaching government is responsible for both things (and many, many more). Also, they are hiring more people to regulate, inspect, and fill out paperwork. Which means less workers in the private sector and more families to go hungry during the next shutdown.
Stop growing the Leviathan.
It’s hard, I know. We were raised to believe in this great justice system, and a government of the people that was inherently good. Sadly, that is most often not the case. If we don’t start cutting off the food supply, this beast is going to consume us.
If you care about food freedom, here are just a couple of things you can do to escape the cycle;
Grow your own food / raise your own livestock. If it came from your backyard, you know whether it’s been sprayed with insecticides, and where the seeds came from. You know what your livestock is eating. I realize that not everyone can do this, but there are great local co-ops springing up everywhere. So even if you can’t grow the food, you can know where it’s coming from. You can also investigate the companies you buy from. In this way, we give power back to local communities, and take it away from large growers that we don’t trust.
Join a local movement and then…
Learn how to make stuff. As evidenced by the aforementioned co-ops and various public markets, there is a growing demand for natural soaps, shampoos, & lotions. Knitted things. Raw honey. Jam. A plethora of things that not every person has the time or know-how to make, but provide terrific barter items for local communities, AND help move said communities away from chemicals and gmo’s.
We have the answers to many of our problems, right in our own communities, without asking government to do the work for us – and without conceding them the regulatory power to stop us.