I just called my Senator today to help protect family farmers, farmers markets and the local food movement. I’m writing to ask if you will please join me.
The U.S. Senate is posed to vote tomorrow on the controversial Food Safety Modernization Bill (S.510) and small-scale and organic farmers urgently need two important amendments attached that will protect them from inappropriate regulations meant to curtail the largest and most likely culprits of food safety outbreaks in the U.S. – giant, consolidated agribusinesses and their massive processing partners.
The first and most important provision is the Tester-Hagan amendment, which provides an exemption for family farmers who gross less than $500,000 and sell direct to farmers markets, restaurants, customers and local stores within 400 miles of their farm/processing facility. As the only organic farmer in the U.S. Senate, John Tester has made sure that this amendment protects the growing local food movement and allows small and beginning farmers the opportunity to grow the most economically vibrant part of agriculture.
In addition, the Manager’s Amendment, which includes 5 vital amendments, would protect small-scale farmers from burdensome paperwork, offer farmers competitive grants for food safety training, allow them to engage in co-mingling of products from multiple farms in processing, reduce paperwork and excessive traceability requirements, and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat
As this new food safety bill goes to a vote in the Senate, it’s vital that we send a strong message to your Senators that they need to protect family farmers from regulations meant to prevent the worst food safety outbreaks from happening again. Remind them that the cause of these outbreaks come from an overly concentrated food system and not family farmers. This could be our last best shot to save the local food movement.
Join me at Food Democracy Now! here.