“Give me [food] or give me death!”
What’s that you say? You need to consult with the others, but I’ve got the quote wrong?
Fine. That’s not how the original went, but it’s the version that’s been rolling around my head for the last six months.
In a literal way, it’s a true thing; no food = death. Moreover, a lack of real food also equals death, albeit a slower one. Historically, though, food has been one of the ways the ruling government controls its populace is to control its food. Today is no different.
I touch on this idea of egregious, governmental food control in the CLFA anthology, Freedom’s Light, and my contribution, Dollars on the Nightstand.
Let’s pretend that I’m your neighbor. I’ve invited you over to dinner. We ate a delicious, crispy-skinned broiler chicken that was free-ranging on my grassy pasture yesterday. As a family, we processed it, slicked it with butter made from my cow’s milk, and then seasoned it with herbs from our herb garden. The green beans were canned from last year’s harvest, and the water is from our well.
Everything is delicious, and as we’re cleaning up, you notice that I have an excess of raw milk in my fridge.
“Can I buy some?” you ask. “Let me at least help pay for some of the feed and work you’ve put into it.” You know how I keep my animals. You see that they’re happy and healthy, and you’ve had the milk before. It’s creamy and delicious.
“Nope, sorry, it’s illegal. They might take all my animals and arrest me for selling you a little milk.”
Really? Yes. Really.
You know what’s insane? Minus the last one hundred years, the very thing I just described was a normal occurrence. AND WE SURVIVED IT! WITHOUT government invention. This was life. We bartered as a way to survive. We shared our excess of one thing with out neighbor, and we were the better for it.
In place of this, the government has institutionalized food that’s chemically mass produced and emptied of all goodness. Chickens are housed in miserable conditions. Cattle are kept in feedlots, living miserable lives, shot full of antibiotics and fed diets that are not meant to keep them healthy, but meant to make them gain weight. We eat obese food, and we’re shocked that the country is suffering from obesity. There have been two studies hinting at the link between these two things.”You are what you eat,” as grandma used to say.
The USDA manages all aspects of our food industry, based on recommended daily allowances. However, their RDAs are based on the *minimum* allowable of calories, vitamins, and minerals that will net a passably health human. Actual needs are usually much more and not often met by what is now the standard American diet.
But when it comes to the small farm, the USDA invades with oppressive regulations, fees, certifications, and laws that make it nearly impossible for a small farm to bring a livable wage to the small farmer. They can enter a farm without permission, run a single test, and euthanize entire flocks without explanation. Personal autonomy and liberty is ignored.
“In the 1930s, the United States was home to 6.3 million farms; today, there are approximately 2.2 million, and fewer every day. The average age of today’s farmer or rancher is 59 years old, and many are retiring without a successor, as their children don’t want — or can’t afford — to take over the family business. Thus, as farms’ inheritors increasingly abandon the farm, a vacuum of stewardship opens up, leaving many wondering who, or what, will take their place.” — From Down on the Farm by Gracy Olmstead, National Review, August 15, 2016
(Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438983/small-farms-big-business-family-farms-struggle-against-industrial-agriculture)
Food shortages will be a real thing in our future world. Yet it will not be from a lack of individuals that would love to take on the task, but from the inability to enter the industry without millions in pocketbook capital.
As Patricia Foreman, one of the founders of the Chicken Underground, likes to say, “It is a constitutional right for people to feed themselves and their neighbors, if they choose. We lived this way for thousands of years.” The USDA allows unhealthy, over-crowding in chicken houses that require HAZMAT suits and protocol to walk through, but demand egg washing that removes the bloom (natural protective coating) from fresh eggs. She also likes to point out that Europeans usually do not wash or refrigerate eggs as it isn’t necessary for fresh-from-the-farm eggs. Indeed, if you compare a standard store-bought egg with an egg from a pasture-raised chicken, you will find significant differences in the color and consistency as well as the nutritional content.
According to Joel Salatin (a self-proclaimed “…Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic“), founder of Polyface Farms, Inc., author of Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, there is a prejudice against scale. Crop-insurance doesn’t benefit the health of the agricultural market or increase productivity. It insures that the current degenerative farming practices stay in place, depleting the soil and ruining the land for generations, while insuring that regenerative farming practice that use common sense over the “we can chemically engineer it so we will” attitude (example: Round Up and the plight of the honey bees and other natural pollinators). “Innovation starts embryonically, creation starts small,” he says.
But, for us, for our family, it’s more than that. It’s a throw-back to a simpler time when kids were connected to the value of life and the value of hard work.
Or more simply…
“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” — Adam Savage
Farming is a way to be free and unplugged from a societal breakdown. They can riot in the cities when the government decides to face the music and stop printing money; we’re working our sustainable plan. Society can collapse. Permaculture farming is the ticket to a kind of freedom that has been in short supply since Big Gov took over the food industry (and schooling, but that that’s a story for a different day). We’ll still have food and food to share.
At least until we’re arrested for selling milk. But you didn’t hear that from me.
“Give me [food] liberty or give me death!”