I haven’t written much lately. So I hope a few people swing by this page and see this before November 15. I thought you might be interested in a couple of views on proposed farming rules and how they will affect small farms in our region.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was drafted to update food safety rules that have been on the books virtually unchanged since the aftermath of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. In many cases, there is good cause for an update of the rules: especially in light of the mechanization of many aspects of the mainstream food system. The difficulty comes when small, local farmers are lumped in with megagricultural behemoths and when the proposed rules push small farms toward disposability and less sustainable processes.
The first link comes from Don Kretschmann, who operates a small farm in Rochester, PA. I personally get my CSA share from his farm; have visited his operation; and know the care and attention he puts into all aspects of his operation–and the emphasis that he puts on finding sustainable, reusable solutions for everyday problems. He and I share a belief that the disposable solution, while perhaps the easiest to implement, is perhaps the worst in the long haul as it creates a great deal of waste and requires a great deal of energy to implement. Here’s the link to his thoroughly researched views on what some of the proposed rules could mean for his farm: http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/all-hands-on-deck-your-fresh-food-supply-our-farm-is-in-danger.
The second link comes from Brian Snyder, who is Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. I do not know him personally, but PASA is a fantastic organization that has done a lot to promote local food for local people. It was through their resources that, shortly after I moved to Pittsburgh, I discovered both regional farms and restaurants procuring and preparing local produce. Brian is also immersed in the world of small farming and has a great deal of insight about the potential for drastic and detrimental effects on small farms should the proposed rules go through as written. Here is a link to his essay on the topic: http://writetofarm.com/2013/10/14/fdas-culture-of-fear-threatens-food-safety/.
I plan on submitting public comments on the proposed rules: not just because I am well educated in issues related to food safety and because I believe strongly in the value of locally raised produce for my family: but because I know the benefit of locally raised produce for all of the families served by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. GPCFB receives locally raised produce from many regional farms. We glean their fields and receive donations of food that they harvest themselves. They are our most important partners because they grow food. As the bumper sticker goes, “Know Farmers, Know Food; No Farmers, No Food.”
Please consider the opinions presented by these two well-educated individuals; and then consider submitting comments on the proposed FSMA rules to help protect locally grown food for everyone. Click here to visit PASA’s FSMA Action Center for more info on the proposed rules and how to submit your comments.