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Polish Farmers Rise to Defend Traditional Foods

Polish farmers protest sale of farmland to foreign multinationals.

Polish farmers protest sale of farmland to foreign multinationals.

 

Tractor Blockades Push Back Against GMOs, Sales to Foreign Interests

by Kimberly Hartke

The Polish government is getting heat for its unpopular regulation of the agricultural sector.

Since January, Polish farmers have been taking to the streets to protest stringent regulations against food production and sales, using tractors to block government buildings and streets.

The farmers say that government policy and stringent regulations undermine their well-being and sustainability by barring small and medium-sized farms from supplying traditional foods to local groceries and restaurants.

“Besides the threat of unwelcome GMOs, Polish farmers are outraged that their government would attempt to eliminate the country’s family farmers, the bread and butter of Poland’s agricultural system, from the general food market,” wrote author Ethan A. Huff in Natural News.

Polish traditional foods are under threat

Protestors with the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) rally outside the Poland Embassy in London, February 2014.

Protesters with the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) rally outside the Poland Embassy in London, Feb. 20, 2014.

“Common Polish foods like smoked hams, sour cabbage, raw milk, freshly baked bread, pickles and artisan cheeses are all on the chopping block, as the new regulations practically render these foods illegal unless they are produced by major conglomerates.”

According to the Community Food Growers Network, Polish farmers’ demands are “to end the criminalization of farmhouse food sales, which they claim to be the most repressive in the European Union; to end foreign corporate buy-outs of prime Polish farmland and to enforce the ban of GM crop planting.”

International groups caution that agricultural policy has gone too far

International farmer and agricultural advocacy group European Coordination Via Campesina is pressuring the Polish government, the European Union and the United Nations to promote “public policies that support traditional modes of food production, transformation and direct sales.” Other European countries have experienced similar protests among farmers against policies that disadvantage family farming and small businesses.

Sir Julian Rose, president of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC), along with local supporters, organized a demonstration against Poland’s agricultural policies in February at the Embassy of Poland in London. Rose is a British aristocrat who transformed his family estate into a model of sustainable farming. He led the battle to keep raw milk legal in the United Kingdom and helps lead the ICPPC in a campaign for a GMO-free Poland.

Sir Julian Rose and the ICPPC in London, Polish Embassy, Feb. 2014

Sir Julian Rose and the ICPPC in London Speak Out for Traditional Foods at the Polish Embassy, Feb. 20, 2014

The objective of the London protest was to oppose “the industrial model of corporate agriculture that is now a mainstay of modern American food production — and a major cause of environmental pollution and widespread illness…” noted Huff in Natural News.

The model “is spreading like a deadly virus into eastern Europe, where new draconian regulatory standards in the country of Poland threaten to eliminate the heritage of farming practices that have sustained the country’s millions of small-scale family farmers, and their loyal customers, for centuries,” Huff wrote.

“The Polish government is right now trying to enforce oppressive new sanitary standards for food production that make it near-impossible for local food producers to grow and sell their goods in local shops and restaurants, which they have done for many years without issue. Countless small- and medium-scale Polish farmers are effectively being barred from the food market entirely due to these regulations, as only the largest food producers in Poland will be financially able to comply with the new rules.”

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the nutrition education non-profit, the Weston A. Price Foundation. The worldwide organization advocates a return to traditional foods, traditional farming.

Sir Julian Rose, mentioned in this story is a frequent guest blogger on Hartkeisonline. See his posts on the Sir Julian Rose page.

Read the recent article in Natural News, Family Farms Under Attack: Poles to Stage Massive Protest

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