Energy. The total economy depends on cheap energy, not to mention peace and no threat from terrorism, in order to move goods from point of cheapest production to point of highest purchase. We will not reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy or confront the issue of climate change without dealing with the industrial food system, which consumes 17 percent of our fossil fuel.
"Sovereignty. Do we really want to go down the path we have gone down with our energy with food? Do we want to find ourselves in a position where all our grain is coming from South America, our produce from Mexico? The projections right now are that in California at the end of this century there will be no more food production in the Central Valley. It will be houses and highways wall-to-wall, mountain to mountain. Do we want to give away our food independence?These bills are being put in place to rig the "voting with your fork by going to farmers markets" because that "candidate" is being taken off the ballot entirely - by killing it. So will CSAs and vegetable stands be "eliminated."
National security. Our government knows the risk of a highly centralized food system. When Tommy Thompson left the Department of Homeland Security, he said something very interesting in his last press conference: "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do." When all your hamburgers are being ground in the same factory and all your salad is being washed in the same sink, it is a very precarious way to eat.
Public Health. Our highly centralized food system is very vulnerable to contamination-both deliberate and accidental. We just had a horrifying illustration of the dangers of centralized food when two hundred Americans were seriously sickened and three Americans were killed by eating spinach contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. That bug was the result of our industrial system for two reasons. First, E. coli 0157:H7 is a mutation of industrial feedlot agriculture; you do not have it in grass-fed cattle. Second, it was able to be spread far and wide because spinach from many farms was washed in a single sink in San Juan Bautista, California, and then sent all over the country. This is not to say you couldn't get sick from eating spinach at your farmer's market. But if you did, it would be contained in the food chain. You'd know who was responsible.
Instead of seizing on these threats as a reason to decentralize our food supply, the government is bringing in more regulation and technology.
Progressive senators are proposing that we begin to regulate farms the way we regulate meat plants. That will put small farms out of business. So you see what happens as industrial agriculture fails and sickens us. The solutions promote more industrialization of agriculture. And that's what we need to resist. I say we put our faith not in technology or regulation but in relationships, relationships with small farms. We have to act as consumer-citizens who are co-creators, builders of food chains. We are building a local food economy simply by getting out of the supermarket, by growing our own food, by joining the CSA and by shopping at farmers markets."
The mystery has been why the left has not stepped seen this happening and stepped in to join with farmers to stop this loss of a local, sustainable world they believe is important and are so enthusiastically seeking.