Rob Bell, Delegate from Virginia's 58th district, introduced H.B. 135 "The Food Freedom Act" early last month. The Food Freedom Act would allow individuals to sell any food they want to whomever they want in the state of Virginia. The only restriction is they must label the food with the ingredients, who made it, and that it is not inspected. This bill is huge for the food freedom movement.
This could allow us to make a vast variety of food available to our customers. In the past there has been questions around things as simple as making chicken-pot-pies available for sale, and this law could potentially free us to do just that and more. The ability for a farmer to produce food in whatever form and offer it for sale could drastically change the dynamic of farms, farmers markets, and communities.
The creativity this would allow for farmers and their produce could be staggering. Could you imagine taking a trip to the farmers market or through the country side to Mrs. Maddie's to pick up one of her pies, to farmer Joe's for one of his peppered hams, and then to Mary's place to pick up her famous herbed cheese from her raw dairy? It could turn farms and farmers markets into smorgasbords with unending variety. Can you see the potential of this bill?
I almost fear getting excited about it, but freedom is exciting and I cannot help myself. Why be fearful? Because there are always those who fear freedom. They fear freedom because they see it as dangerous. Many argue that there is potential for food born illness, but this argument is tenuous at best as pointed out by Joel Salatin in his book "Every Thing I Want To Do Is Illegal."
"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." Thomas Jefferson __________________________________________________________________________________________
There are also those who fear people being free because they have a vested interest in keeping you in bondage. Bondage to a system that protects them from competition and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for you to have a choice in where and who you buy your food from. Bernadette Barber of Virginia Food Freedom had this to say,
"The biggest opposition is the fear if one person gets sick, that it will shut down the "industry" Well, the individuals' rights of freedom, trump industrial control of the market. The biggest opponents will be Virginia Agribusiness Council, Farm Bureau- whose vested interest is profit in processing companies- those profits mitigate the risk of the insured's exposure, and the last, to no surprise is the VA Retail Marketers Association."
The money that the corporate agribusiness world makes is dependent on you having few choices in where your dollars are spent. Let's make sure they don't win this time.
I want to urge you to get in the fight for food freedom. Show your support for the Food Freedom Act (H.B.135). Call your Delegate and tell them to support the Food Freedom Act. Share this post with your friends and ask them to help by calling their Delegate as well. Consider going to the committee meeting in Richmond to show your support. This is the most important bill for food freedom of the year in Virginia. Let's work to make sure it doesn't die in committee but goes all the way to the Governor's desk.
I for one will be calling my Delegate and letting him know where I stand on the issue. Not only that, if I can work the schedule out, I will be going to Richmond to make my voice heard. I will not sit on the sidelines and hope all goes the way I want. I'm jumping in with both feet. Will you please help? We need all we can get.
Call the Members of the Agriculture Committee - http://bit.ly/1atWjci
Southwest Virginia Delegates - These delegates represent the communities we sell in.
Will Morefield - Bland, Tazewell, Buchanan, and Russell
He is on the Agriculture Committee
Richmond - (804) 698-1003
Local office - (276) 345-4300
Email - DelJMorefield@house.virginia.gov
Jeffery Campbell - Carrol, Smyth, and Wythe
Richmond - (804) 698-1006
Local Office - (276) 783-8197
Email - DelJCampbell@house.virginia.gov
Israel O'Quinn - Grayson, Smyth, Washington
Richmond - (804) 698-1005
Local Office - (276) 525-1311
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Rush - Pulaski, Montgomery, Floyd
Richmond - (804) 698-1007
Local Office - (540) 382-7731
Email - DelNRush@house.virginia.gov
Joseph Yost - Pulaski, Giles, Montgomery, Radford
Richmond - (804) 698-1012
Local Office - (540) 922-8032
Email - DelJYost@house.virginia.gov
Other Articles on H.B. 135
Virginia Bill Would Expand Farm and Food Freedom - Reason Magazine
Cottage food debate resumes in Va. - Politico
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