This morning, I read about a bill under consideration by the US Senate that would, if the language in it holds true, essentially criminalize local food producers by forcing them to register with regulatory agencies in the same way that industrial food companies must.
Reading about this bill once again struck home for me how far Americans have drifted from simple, elegant truths about life. In this era of high unemployment and ongoing economic instability, the one thing that everyone can do is grow their own food. I know this is a remarkable idea to millions of Americans, but it is also true.
Anyone with a patch of grass or a place to set up a few pots of soil can grow their own food, sometimes amazing quantities of it if one does it right. A seasoned garden grain farmer can grow enough wheat on a 100 square foot patch of ground to make 100 loaves of bread from the resulting harvest. That’s a 10×10 or 20×5 foot patch of wheat that can provide bread for a family of four for a year.
Unfortunately, most Americans recoil at the idea of providing their own food. They recoil at the labor. They recoil at the dirt. They recoil at the insinuation that growing their own food implies they can’t buy it.
So, what they get instead is 100 little emperors crafting a law that will force them to buy their food from sources approved by a federal agency, sources one can never visit, whose processes are industrial secrets, and whose products are dubious as food at best.
Meanwhile, the 20 percent or more of Americans who are un- or under-employed continue to depend on the same government to let them go to the imperially mandated food sources to get their daily allotment of government inspected and approved foodstuffs never realizing that, in the time it took them to go to the unemployment office and the grocery store, they could have cultivated a wonderful, nutritious garden for another day. Plus, they would have gotten some badly needed exercise and exposure to sunlight along the way.
I understand that, especially with the interstate transport of industrially produced food, the government needs to regulate the safety of what industrial food producers manufacture, but what does that have to do with small food producers whose products often travel less than 100 miles and usually not out of the state where they were produced? I understand that growing one’s own food may not pay the bills, but if the law is passed, even if one is good at it, one won’t have the chance to try because Imperial Washington has decreed one cannot.
Of course, they way to fix this problem is to contact one’s senators and ask them to scrap this terrible legislation then, if one really believes in the idea behind why it is bad, go home and plant, cultivate, and harvest. Everyone can do it, even if the government does not get the idea.