by Bernie LaForest and Michael Boldin
A county assembly in Washington State has just passed a food freedom ordinance which would punish federal agents with up to ten years in prison and $20,000 fines.
On July 20th, the Stevens County Assembly finalized the ordinance. They are now in the process of collecting signatures from the residents of Stevens County – urging them to to claim his/her natural right to grow, produce, purchase, and consume the foods of their choice.
Beyond that, the passed ordinance would make it unlawful for agents of either the State or Federal government to execute laws that interfere with the ordinance.
Already four towns in Maine have passed similar measures, and others around the country have indicated they’re looking at the same.
REGULATIONS, REGULATIONS, AND MORE REGULATIONS
Last year, Congress introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) which opponents say will lead to crushing regulations on local food production – at the benefit of the big corporate farming interests that backed passage of the law. Local food ordinances appear to be a direct response to the new regulations. The Stevens County Ordinance states, in part, that:
WHEREAS, We find the history of government regulators, even with hundreds of food regulations on the books, shows they are incapable of protecting citizens from exposure to food poisoning events from foods produced by corporate farming
What exactly have all of these regulations given you? For example:
–The year-long raw milk sting operation that resulted in a raid consisting of two US Marshals, two State Troopers and two FDA officials on a SWAT like assault on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania at 5 a.m.
–In the first half of 2008, there was an epidemic of human salmonella poisoning that afflicted 1,294 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The FDA immediately sprang into action and after a hasty investigation they proclaimed that tainted tomatoes may be the source of the epidemic. Several varieties of tomatoes were withdrawn from markets and restaurants across the country. Several weeks later, the FDA proclaimed that it may indeed be jalapeno peppers and cilantro that could be contributing to the outbreak. All of these ingredients are commonly used to make salsa which is a staple when eating Mexican food. Surprise! Finally the FDA pinpointed the peppers and cilantro that were imported from Mexico because it had traced contaminated irrigation water. The American tomato industry lost millions of dollars because of these errant recalls.
–Last year, FDA “Investigators” entered an organic grocery store in Venice, California – warrant and guns in hand. As reported by the LA Times, they “ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts. Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid’s target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.
These are but a few of the seemingly endless examples of how the FDA and its increasing regulatory and police power have been keeping you “safe.” Some people, as shown by the five towns taking matters into their own hands, have decided that “enough is enough.”
LOCALS SPEAK OUT
Sedgwick, Maine resident Mia Strong told Natural News: “Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance. I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.”
“I still can’t believe they took our yogurt,” Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones told the LA Times a few days after the raid. “There’s a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they’re raiding us because we’re selling raw dairy products?”
COMMUNITY FARMING, ORGANIC FOODS: TENTHER 101
While the media would like to portray any and all actions that assert the Tenth Amendment as a “tea party” or “right wing” movement, support for food sovereignty ordinances, along with fifteen states passing medical marijuana laws, certainly proves that stereotype to be little more than media hype.
The ordinance from Stevens County makes this clear:
WHEREAS, We, the people of the State of Washington domiciled on Stevens county, declare:
1. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States, states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”; and
2. That pursuant to Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution for the United States, there is no power granted to the federal government to regulate local foods on Stevens county; and
3. The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States, states, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”; and
4. That pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution for the United States, the power to regulate local foods on Stevens county is reserved to the State of Washington or the people of the State of Washington.
WARNING TO THE FEDS
Like the four towns in Maine that have passed similar ordinances, Stevens County means business. They’ve also included an enforcement clause – telling the feds, in essence, to butt out.
(A)(1) The people of the State of Washington domiciled on Stevens county, declare that any law enacted by the congress of the United States; any federal regulation, rule, or policy promulgated; any executive order issued by the president of the United States; and any court decision; that seeks, purports, or is otherwise intended to regulate, in any way, the unalienable and fundamental rights of the people on Stevens county to choose the local foods they produce; process or prepare; sell, purchase, or distribute; preserve and store for extended periods of time; and consume, for food or drink, for people or other life forms, is not authorized by the Constitution for the United States of America; and
(2) The people of the State of Washington domiciled on Stevens county, declare the federal laws, etc., referred to in subsection (A)(1):
(a) Are invalid on Stevens county; and
(b) Will not be recognized by Stevens county; and
(c) Are specifically rejected by Stevens county; and
(d) Are null and void, having no effect on Stevens county.
The ordinance continues
(D)(1) Public employees employed at the federal, state, or local levels, including, but not limited to, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Food and Drug Administration, Washington state Patrol, sheriff’s departments, and municipal and county police will not enforce or attempt to enforce the federal laws, etc., referred to in (A) subsections (1) and (2); or treaties referred in (B) subsections (1) and (2); or Washington state laws, etc., referred in (C) subsections (1) and (2);
(2) A violation of subsection (D)(1) is a class B felony (as defined at RCW 9A.20.021(1)(b)) and is punishable by confinement in a state correctional institution for a term fixed by the court not to exceed ten (10) years, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court not to exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both such confinement and fine; an
While the FDA has been getting increasingly aggressive – raiding raw milk activists, threatening walnut producers, and the like – these activists believe that they can push back and win by doing the same to DC. Will a local government ever attempt to arrest an FDA official? Only time will tell, and maybe they’ll never have to. With five local ordinances now passed, the “food sovereignty” movement is just in its infancy. But, if they learn from the efforts of those who defied DC on issued like medical marijuana and the real ID act, they’ll recognize that when enough people, towns, and even states – say NO to Washington DC, there’s not much the feds can do to stop them.
Bernie LaForest is the Outreach Director for the Wisconsin Tenth Amendment Center.
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