Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bureaucrats and Other Pesky Critters on the Road to Food Freedom

Michael McCarty, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

For a couple of years or so I have been investigating the legal issues that relate to the rights of an individual to grow and sell meat, poultry, and other homegrown farm products directly to consumers. What would be the problem, you might ask? You can grow or raise, and sell, what you want to sell, right? We live in a free country, with free and open markets, do we not?

Well, not so fast. Being the rather cautious person that I am, I began some time ago to ask questions of people working in a long list of local, state, and federal government agencies that hold jurisdiction over the land, and of us. It has been a painful, core shaking inquiry that is not for the faint of heart. I certainly have not enjoyed the experience.

I can discuss the actual laws and regulations pertaining to selling food later. What I can say now is that, with rare exception, I have confronted a nearly impenetrable wall of mind numbing and intimidating legalese, wrapped in doublespeak, and spouted gleefully by a largely incompetent army of naysayers and useful idiots. I hate to say it that way folks, but I have to call it like I see it.

Apparently, the government at all levels is an equal opportunity employer. I have been treated rudely and dismissively by condescending staff from the city level right up to the big ol’ federal government.

Typically, I’ve been told to call a certain department or agency. I’ve been told by that department to call another because they did not regulate this or that. I have called the referred department only to be instructed to call the department that just referred them. I’ve been put on hold so many times and for so long I don’t know if I can ever listen to bad music again. I’ve been disconnected while on hold, hung up on while talking with someone, given so many bad phone numbers, and forwarded to so many unrelated or defunct departments that I no longer know which agency to question.

More often than not,  I’ve been given information that is incomplete, misleading, or completely incorrect. In many instances I have discovered information at a later date that I felt was deliberately withheld at the time. I have had to constantly reassess the nature and purpose of my original question, and to doggedly return to the trail, like a bloodhound casting for scent. I can assure you that the government’s left hand does not know what its right hand is up to. They don’t even know where the other hand is, except to be sure that it just picked your pocket. They didn’t even say thanks.

I was in a good mood when I started my inquiries. I was positive and full of hope about the possibilities of new ventures, new businesses, new relationships. That’s gone now, and I feel like the cat that has caught a mouthful of tailfeathers and no bird. I am still hungry, unsatisfied and empty, left with a bad taste in my mouth that I find hard to spit out. I can barely talk to someone now without shaking my fist at them in my mind’s eye. I want to scream at them and ask if they somehow managed to forget that hey, by the way, you work for me don’t you know…for us?

I was mocked by a county official a few weeks back. During our conversation he laughed and said something like “You just didn’t know you were biting into an elephant did you? Ha, Ha, Ha!”. (I think there was an unspoken “did ya boy” in there somewhere).

No, I guess you did not know that you had bitten into an elephant. I am wounded. You have drawn first blood. Like Howard Beale’s famous speech in the movie “Network”, I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

The pen is mightier than the sword, or so I’ve heard. I shall add my voice to the cry of raw milk and cheese producers, home kitchen warriors, small organic growers, and many others similarly wronged.

This is not right. This will not stand. I hope more will join us. We shall see what part of the elephant you are, and what kind of elephant am I.

After all, I just wanted to sustainably grow and honestly market some healthy and nutritious food to other people of like mind. I wanted to feed my family from my private property and maybe generate some small income to help with a myriad of escalating expenses. I have been stopped at every turn, without recompense, nor quarter. To deny a person’s right to sell the food one produces defies all common sense.

So, I say, thank you for laughing, Mr. Bureaucrat – and calling me to action. It may not be wise to step between an elephant and its children. The laws must be changed. We will have food freedom.

Has this happened to you? I am currently collecting stories from farmers and growers about their like experiences. Unfortunately, the horror stories have become more fiendish and pervasive.. Care to share?

You can support this article by voting on Reddit:

Michael Patrick McCarty earned  a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. He has worked in both the public and private sectors in a variety of capacities relating to fisheries and wildlife biology, water and environmental quality, and outdoor recreation. Michael and his wife steward a small acreage they have named Peach Valley Heritage Farms. It’s a “work in progress” for sure, but a little piece of heaven in the Rockies, just the same. Their work can be found at The Backyard Provider. 

Independence Criminalized: The Great Wall of Bureaucracy Comes to America


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Richard said...

The pen is mighty than the sword. This is how the government takes over the US of A with out a shot and we become a part of the New World Order.

Anonymous said...

The pen may be mightier, but my hollow point exploding shotgun shells might give give whoever is holding that pen a start.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I too wanted to market the produce I grow. I went to the local Ag extension to see what it took to become Certified Organic. The amount of idiotic, bureaucratic, dunder headed rules baffled me. With degrees in engineering, comp sci, and others I was looking to change directions in my studies and went into geology. The valley I live in was created by 150 yrs of intense farming, water management, and fertilizing the sandy loam soil to get the conditions ideal for growing. The Rules state you can not use bovine excrement from any other source than Certified Organic.. Word to the wise; plants know no difference. Basic chemistry 101. Look it up. If your text book says anything different, they are lying to you. The amount of paperwork to file for a Cert Org. garden would take a lawyer to fill out and Who knows how much in money, I'm talking about a 4-1/2" stack of forms and paperwork. Needless to say I gave up. Let them starve on their bureaucracy. I'm done fighting that kind of fight. It's not worth it when you know in your own mind what their telling you is made up out of thin air.. These people write rules just so they can have a job. Fact's are fact's, they want mindless robots that only spew out what they want to hear.. Sad but true...A disheartened farmer somewhere in Ameritopia!

Anonymous said...

To hell with "growing organic" as the 'fertilizer uptake'must be converted from the 'natural' into the mineral form that the plant uptakes just as it does in the 'synthetic' form. Organics has its merits yes. However, with the 'gubberment' telling you exactly what is considered 'organic' before they let you call it 'certified organic' I would submit that one who 'home-grows' their own food and wants to sell it at the local farmers market, considers staying as 'organic' as possible and just don't call it 'organic'. Rather, sell it as "home-grown healthy food, lovingly grown as close to organic as possible".
Just don't call it "certified organic". I would akso submit that 'homegrown' is by far healthier than the commercially grown, tastless 'fodder' that you might buy at the local big box store.

Anonymous said...

The black market is the only free market left. Never, never, never petition a bureaucrat for any reason at any time. Their stock in trade is befuddling, beclouding, obfuscation. Without that they would have no reason to exist.

Nobody "represents" you in government. Representation is strictly delusional. Like Anonymous, I would avoid terms such as "certified" organic. Homegrown, without use of pesticides or herbicides tells the story adequately. Sam

Anonymous said...

naturally grown, natures way, mother earth produced, natural food, home grown, non-gmo, heirloom seed produce, etc.

Anonymous said...

To HELL with the bureaucrats and their regulations - JUST DO IT - sell to or barter with people you know.

If enough of us would just boycott the system, sooner or later it will go away.

If their concern was really food safety they would support direct sales as any food causing sickness is directly traceable to the source, not something derived from 1000 different cows 1000 miles away.

Anonymous said...

Word to the Wise .. Know they Paradigm !!!

Listen to this Young Man and Ye shall know part of the Truth ...

He has a very Clear Head about Him ...

then if You dare

play the video showing ... it is relational ...

Anonymous said...

call for a boycott on all spending call for a day that everybody who are part of the 99% to hold on to all cash or card purchases don't buy zilt.geta your gas and food and even coffee the day before and let them have a real taste of we are feed up. The only real way is to choke on the money line its better than the old pen and paper route.

Anonymous said...

Manure from animals fed GMO crops is not the same as manure from animals fed wholesome organic crops. Read 'Seeds of Deception' by Jeffrey Smith, it is a real eye opener to the BS being spewed by big chemical about the 'safety' of GMOs.
It is imperative that small time producers go out of their way use nutrient dense manures from organic farms to produce nutrient dense healthful crops from open pollinated seeds and preserve our bio-diversity.

Anonymous said...

I have encountered the same problems. I am a Special Education teacher with 2 college degrees and I have been out of work for almost 2 years now. I have a 1971 VW camper with a great little kitchen that I want to serve organic sandwiches out of as a healty alternative to the usual fair food at festivals. No one will let me in without a health permit that is pretty much impossible to get. I mean where exactly am I supposed to put a 3 trough sink in s camper? Why do I even need one? I don't want to be a burden. We live very frugally and I know that I could make enough doing this to support us. I really don't want to apply for public assistance when I have the work ethic and desire to support myself but i can't find a way around this.

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