Small Farms and Food Freedom: Opening the Door to American Prosperity
By Robert Burns, Aiki Farms
As the Corporate hand slips it’s icy fingers around the throats of food production making legislative attempts to destroy any or all small farms via House and Senate Bills under the guise of FOOD SAFETY, there is a need for farmers, and our consumer allies to rise to the occasion, and take control of our local municipalities, if they offer either open space or agricultural opportunities.
This serves two functions. Firstly the “developers” of both industrial, and residential contracting have lost power in these times because of the economy.
In their wake they, while preaching,”HEALTH WEALTH AND PROSPERITY MORE JOBS” and so on…..have left a devastating wake of economic chaos gutting the towns, and cities of revenue utilized to support their projects, and driving the municipalities into economic chaos. In short their lies are sinking our economy.
On the other hand, both agriculture and open space afford municipalities an INCOME instead of the debt created by housing, and industrial growth.
Armed with this information a group of farmers in the Town of Ledyard, under the guidance of a pro-agricultural Council member formed an Ag committee,which is the sub-committee of the Economic Development Commission (Note: In towns where there is an established Ag Commission, and an established Economic Development Commission, there is a tendency to butt heads between the commissions).
Here in the Town of Ledyard Connecticut, a semi rural community, our Ag committee is a sub-committee of the Economic Development Comission (EDC). The EDC is eager to develop agriculture as a form of economic development. The town Council is also AG friendly, and we are opening up our farms to an intense flow of agricultural commerce to heal our economic wounds perpetrated by the construction industry, and their falsehoods regarding their ability to bring wealth to the community.
If activists in rural areas begin this move, supported by consumers in urban areas, we can take control of local production, benefit our communities, and stop the invasive attacks of anti-farmer legislation couched in the FOOD SAFETY shroud.
It takes a lot of work, many meetings, and yes there will be opportunists out there, professional grant writers,who will try and steal the direction of the movement, but strong committees, and hard work will ward off these parasitic entities who write their grants, seeing we farmers as “dupes” to be utilized as motivation, but not sharing in these grants, in many instances.
The most recent example of this is, Congresswoman DeLauro, from Connecticut, who was instrumental in creating many, many grants for small farmers, turned around and authored Bill 875, which if it passed would put us out of business. Sort of fattening the lamb before the slaughter, wouldn’t you agree? This is a thumb print of an attempted corporate takeover, manifested in the behavior of one of our elected officials.
The only way– for now–to fight back is on a local level. In Connecticut, Working Lands Alliance, Farm Bureau, and NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMERS ORGANIZATION (NOFA) wrote a wonderful booklet on this, Contact www.CFBA.org for a copy of PLANNING FOR AGRICULTURE; A GUIDE FOR CONNECTICUT MUNICIPALITIES, by AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST, or check out www.farmland.org. to get started.
Or see this website, it has more details on it: www.ctplanningforagriculture.com
Robert Burns is the Legislative Chair of the New London County Farm Bureau. He raises organic produce on a 5 acre farm, Aiki Farm (pronounced eye-key) in Ledyard Connecticut. He grew up on a dairy farm on the same property. His farming career began on the West Coast after he left the Marine Corps. Robert worked for Lynn and Jerry Wiess’s Rocky Peak Farms in North County, San Diego. He then started his own business, installing and servicing organic vegetable gardens for Hollywood celebrities. When his mother died, he inherited the farm of his youth, and has returned there to do his life’s calling, tending a bountiful garden. His interest in farming and food politics has him planning to run for a seat on the town council.
This post is part of the Fight Back Fridays blog carnival. See more ideas on how to become the best friend of your local farmer, here.Paid Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of renumeration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.