[NAFEX] HB 875

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Mon Mar 16 17:53:23 EDT 2009

There has been a great deal about this over the last couple of days on 
at least two different lists to which I subscribe.

Apologies for cross-posting:

I think that what we need to do about this is not panic, but keep an 
eye on it. I very much doubt that the current administration wants to 
shut down farmers' markets, small farmers, and/or organic farming; 
they've made at least some noises in the other direction. I have in my 
computer the text of an interview with Obama from May 2008, in which he 

"I am very familiar with the great work of Angelic Organics and other 
community supported farms. These types of farms can provide an 
important source of fresh fruits and vegetables to inner city 
communities that do not have easy access to grocery stores that sell 
organic foods. Moreover, farms like Angelic Organics that sell directly 
to consumers cut out all of the middlemen and get full retail price for 
their food, which increases the financial viability of small family 

As president, I would implement USDA policies that promote local and 
regional food systems, including assisting states to develop programs 
aimed at community supported farms."

link to full story here:


So we currently have a president who at least knows what a CSA is, and 
makes noises in favor of local food systems; which is a good sign; 
though of course not everything any politician says while running for 
office is actually what happens after the election's over.

I think this bill is intended to turn a mass of multiple contradictory 
regulating organizations into one; and that, if it's properly worded, 
it might in fact be an advantage to us, as it might better regulate the 
overgrown food distribution system that has repeatedly turned 
potentially minor problems into huge ones.

However, the devil is indeed often in the details; and, if any bill on 
this subject is poorly worded, it could instead do a great deal of 
damage. And I'm sure there are interests who would love to have it so 
worded -- including the people in the business of selling computer 
tracking technology; and probably some of those who would rather not be 
competing with farmers' markets and other sources of local food, in 
which "fresh" means more than just "not rotten yet".

So we need to make sure that any new regulations are friendly to small 
farms and to direct-marketers of all kinds; as well as to organic 
systems and to mixed-farming systems with both produce and livestock on 
one farm, and to systems in which wild species have access to the farm. 
Also, I think we need better language than the not selling "across 
state lines" exemption, as I'm sure there are growers who live within a 
few miles of the border between two states, and sell on both sides, but 
are still quite small producers.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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