Whenever you’re trying to change the status quo, some pushback is expected. Change is hard. For powerful government agencies especially.
Farmer, author, and food activist Joel Salatin experiences this kind of pushback all the time—and not just from federal agents. He’s had to deal with suppliers who “hate everything [he stands] for.”
As a precursor to the greater fight over food rights looming over the horizon, the success or failure of the raw milk movement could be viewed as the canary in the coal mine.
From David Gumpert’s blog, The Complete Patient:
I love to visit the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (VICFA). I’ve been there twice now over the last few years, and even though raw milk can’t be sold in Virginia, they always have it out for visitors. In fact, this time there was a choice—goat’s milk or cow’s milk. That plus the fact that it is a very committed organization, committed to seeking legislative change to allow the sale of raw milk, and allow for the needs of smaller farms. A big part of that orientation was the result of Kathryn Russell, one of its founders, who was killed recently in an automobile accident.
I was at a VICFA-sponsored book signing Saturday evening in Charlottesville, VA, which had been organized by Kathryn over the previous eight months. I had the honor of being introduced by Joel Salatin, who wrote the foreword for my book, and who’s become something of a rock star in the foodie movement. He had some very nice things to say about my book (“It’s a wonderful book…a wonderful tool in your arsenal.”)
One of the more intriguing things he talked about, though, was how he’s sometimes treated by local business people. “People assume our neighbors love us,” he said, based on all the publicity he’s achieved. He recounted how he sought a delivery of sawdust (his Polyface Farm seeks to vary its use of carbon-based fuels). The supplier refused, recounted Salatin. “He said, ‘You let your chickens run loose. You abuse your cows because you don’t vaccinate them. You don’t want your cows taking antibiotics. I hate everything you stand for.’”
To Salatin, such reactions to foodies aren’t isolated incidents, but rather “illustrative of the pushback to the kind of farming we and many others are doing.”
His conclusion? “I think we are in for some real serious times coming down the pike…that we are Luddites…We’re not playing Pictionary. The industrial food system is playing for keeps.”