A farmer can legally give or feed you a chicken or rabbit they've butchered yet cannot sell it to you unless it’s been butchered in an approved facility. They can legally give you a jar or glass of raw milk to drink or take home with you, but they cannot sell it to you. The farmer can sell their vegetables from his farm or at a certified farmers market but cannot sell his produce at the local bakery or cheese shop in the city. The list of contradictory regulations goes on and on.
The governance of our food system is not about safety as a whole, but rather the removal of food sovereignty through regulatory practises to protect big businesses. This is heavily imposed upon in society with fear-mongering and constant bacterial outbreaks at improperly managed mass-production mega farms and greenhouses.
The corporations that control the food system give payouts to politicians so regulations can be passed deeming their products as safe, or commonly known in the industry as GRAS - Generally Recognized As Safe). This gives them a foothold on the market. What they are doing is not for production of high quality products. They are in it for money, and in doing so, produce a sub-par product based on barely meeting government standards while harming the environment in a multi dimensional way.
Because all farmers, no matter their size are forced to abide by the same regulations as the big corporate farms, they're unable to provide the high quality products they produce at lower prices than supermarkets or chain stores that are selling lesser quality products. This directly relates to problems we see in the market today:
For instance, people aren't getting salmonella or E. Coli from shopping at their local farmers market, it is coming from the large corporate producers and a direct relation to poorly managed, large scale operations. This should be a flashing beacon with a red flag for any consumer to steer clear of such products or stores! Your health is at risk and by purchasing mass-produced products you are inadvertently agreeing that it's okay to supply yourself and family with low quality food which comes from processes that harm the environment and allow the smaller farmers to be cut out of the market.
When buying from farmers markets, farm gate sales or signing up to a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) program with a local farmer you completely remove yourself from agreeing with the corporate farming and undercutting. This will return food sovereignty to the people rather than put it in the hands of big business who lobby the government so they can operate with less regulation. When people lose their food sovereignty they lose an essential part of their independence.
Farmers who grow on a smaller scale have better quality fruit, vegetables and meat compared to large scale production. The reason being is more time and energy is focused on management practises. It is easier to manage 200 chickens rather than 2,000. It is easier to manage a small 50 head herd of cattle on pasture than 5,000 in a confined feeding lot. Keeping animals in their natural habitat is healthier for them and therefore creates a healthier source of food. It reduces the chances of injury and disease and it increases the quality in return. The government imposes strict regulations on the sale of the food from small farmers, but is very lenient on big corporate farmers and confined feeding operations (CFO's).
Imagine if you were locked in a hot barn with thousands of others of your species and constantly lived in your own filth while breathing ammonia fumes; being fed a sub-par daily ration of genetically modified soy and corn with just enough synthetic minerals and salts added to get you to produce meat, eggs or milk and keep you barely alive.
Would you be healthier if you were allowed to exercise, eat properly and have access to fresh air and sunshine? Of course you would.
So you need to question yourself Why do you continue to support a market that produces your food in toxic environments that harm the environment, and blatantly lie in advertising to convince you that their product is the one you should buy. We have all seen the advertisements showing happy, healthy animals in pasture but in reality it is a far cry from what is actually happening. I've worked in it and experienced it first hand. Those animals are not happy or healthy.
As a farmer, grower, animal caretaker and steward of the land and ultimately a human like you and everyone else that is going to read this, it is all our obligation to take care of everything that takes care of us so we can provide the best quality food for other people. I do what I do so that we are all able to thrive in the healthiest way possible and there is something left for those that will come after me.
If your family's health and wellness are the cornerstone of your concern, along with the health of the Earth we all live on and the current climate emergency we're all stuck with, it would be a wise choice to not support the corporations that have the government in their back pocket. Supporting local farmers goes beyond shopping at a store your friends or family members work at. Corporations are infamous for exploiting labour. If they cared they would pay more than minimum wage. Instead, they refuse to pay a living wage and sell low quality products.
Shopping at these stores where friends and family work is indirect local support and only helps the company stay in business, but your friend or family member still gets the lowest wage possible. Not a very good quality of life, and we all know someone who works for a retail food corporation and complains constantly about their wages or their work environment. The biggest cost for any business is labour, that's why they pay so little and sell sub-par products. They only care about money, not people.
Supporting local means supporting families and communities directly, rather than indirectly. If shopping at a big business supported community, the downtown core shops of 90% of cities in North America would still be thriving. But we all know what's happened and still happening. Get involved with your local farmers, sign up to a CSA, shop at farmers markets and get to know the people who are producing quality food for you and if you can, grow a small garden of your own.
Posting on social media “#supportlocal” is more than a trendy saying, more than a trendy hashtag to make you look good on social media. It is a statement to your government and the rest of people in society that you chose to support the people rather than big business.
Support local, it makes more difference than you can possibly imagine.
Settler Ally Correspondent
Credible Mohawk Entertainment
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