Monday, January 7, 2013

Maine residents’ fight for unregulated food draws crackdown

Raw deal: Maine residents’ fight for unregulated food draws crackdown | Grist - David Gumpert:

June 29, 2012 - "The residents in eight small Maine towns have all voted to declare 'food sovereignty' — and they won’t be forgetting the issue any time soon. In other words, they’ve passed ordinances that explicitly allow local farmers and ranchers to sell their food — meat, eggs, unpasteurized milk, honey, veggies — directly to consumers within town borders, without state or federal licenses, permits, or regulations.

"Towns in Massachusetts, Vermont, and California have all replicated these experiments.... These votes are the result of work by activists in the food sovereignty moment, who see the ordinances as a response to an ever more intensely regulated food system....

"Just months after the first six towns passed the ordinances, the state filed a lawsuit against a farmer named Dan Brown of Blue Hill, Maine, for selling unpasteurized milk without a state permit. While there’s no mention of the food sovereignty ordinances in the suit, and state officials have denied a connection, Brown’s defense lawyers obtained email correspondence that suggest otherwise. For instance, a Maine Dept. of Agriculture program manager sent an email in June 2011 — two months after Blue Hill’s food sovereignty ordinance was enacted — about Brown.... 'Sounds like we have our first test case,' he wrote."

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