Why farm? Why choose a profession and lifestyle that runs against a cultural tide of sharply dressed, well groomed talking heads, who preach the advantages offered by fancier, cleaner, and more lucrative careers? American culture may claim to romanticize agrarian life, but the romance is less than legitimate. The answer lies with the changing ideas of American food philosophy, what I would call a purpose-driven understanding of the role of food and American food suppliers in culture.
US Department of Labor announced Thursday that it was dropping proposed regulations of family farms related to children working on the farm. This story, and the retreat of the federal government, offers some important lessons about food freedom and what needs to be done to secure our liberty in the future.
This past year we have seen the government step up their war on the middle class. The headlines are at times unbelievable, but increasingly predictable. The independent farmer and craftsmen have always been the backbone of this republic and the stubborn defenders of liberty.
The Freedom Rider moms rode across the Maryland state line to Pennsylvania to buy raw milk, and they broke Federal law. From there they drove to FDA headquarters and drank raw milk and ate cookies as close to the building as the Department of Homeland Security would let them. The moms want to be heard. Was the FDA listening? Not really.
Local food is all about knowledge of food and reduction of transportation costs. Farms that primarily sell locally will often be small farms. Small-scale farmers may choose not to USDA-certify their crop, but they will usually tell the customer how they grew the plants or animals.
The FDA is emboldened by passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act. We are just starting to reap the consequences.