Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do One Good Thing Today

Bowl of tomatoes, limes, and peppers

Food. It doesn't get much more basic than that.
Government. Sadly it doesn't get much more basic than that, either.

Right now there are two bills going through various stages of the U.S. legislative process, one from the Senate and one from the House. The driving force is ostensibly the government sees a need to make our food safer.

How will they do this? It's the age-old answer. The government solution is to impose difficult and ridiculous one-size-fits-all regulations, but not until they are complete with, ahem, "pork" barrel spending and crazy exemptions.

Who will find this difficult to do? The small American food supplier, like those at Farmer's Markets. These are hard-working people who feed their families not only from their farm income, but also put the very same food they grow and sell on their own tables. Ironic. The ones who will be hardest hit are the ones we can already trust most.

Who will pay? You. Taxes will fund the new administration of these programs. After that, you'll pay again to suppliers who must pass on the cost of complying to you on your grocery bill. You will pay in other ways, too. For example by having fewer choices.

Today, if you do one good thing, I hope it will be to contact your federal government legislators (enter your zip code at that link). Encourage them to nip this in the bud, so to speak. I sent several emails this morning and this is the one I wrote to my 11th district Congressman Mike Conaway who visits our area often. You are welcome to modify it to suit your needs.

Honorable Congressman Conaway,

I'm writing to you today to urge you to vote against legislation that would impede American access to locally grown food. In particular, I am concerned with S.510 and HR 2749.

This proposed legislation comes at a time when independence and sustainability are at the forefront of American conversations. This bill makes little sense with scant to no evidence supporting security or health vigilance at this level. I see these bills as having the contrary effect of making American families more dependent on centralized food sources (those entities that can afford to meet standardized regulations) resulting in larger vulnerabilities and risks for our country. In addition, more regulation will raise food prices, and give imports an undue advantage not having to meet these on-going inspections.

Next time you are in Midland, I hope you'll visit the Midland Downtown Farmers' Market. Last week they offered free ice cold water, summer produce including squash, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bush beans, and more. The market is growing in popularity and is a fine example of a West Texas unfettered can-do attitude.

Please vote no against over-extending legislation that does no service to the American public and damages our proud self-reliance.

Respectfully yours,
Debi Cates

Join me. Write your congressmen. It really couldn't be more basic.

I urge you to read more about these bills. I recommend this May 6th article from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.


Bev said...

Hi Debi!

I agree with you.

People beginning to be aware of similar issues here with many supermarkets labelling their food 'Locally produced' as a selling point, obviously to meet consumer demand.

Of course the best place to buy local food is at a Farmers' Market and we have them here too. Too much power is in the hands of the large supermarkets.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Really? This makes me so mad. Another way for governments to bully the small people and support the larger suppliers.Good on you for doing something "good" about it! said...

The government is not concerned with making our food supply safer. Factory food interests want to own the food supply. The FDA, by its own admission, is often completely inept in its ability to protect Americans from some of the nasty stuff that makes it into our food, mostly by the factory food producers.

Locally grown food is our best bet, I agree. Thanks for this, Debi. I am sorry it took me a while to get back here and find it. I'll send it forward and also repost.

By speaking up, we change the mess that exists now in our food supply.