It is exciting to reflect on the multiple food freedom victories over the past year. In a world where regulations seem to increase exponentially and there is always another government threat looming, it is essential that we look at what IS working for our farmers and our communities.
Noncompliance is an effective tool to transform challenges to victories because the regulators don’t know what to do with those individuals who refuse their compliance. This drives change in multiple ways.
Recent victories came about because people refused to comply with the regulations and laws that criminalized them for peaceful human behaviors. Here are some examples:
Mark Baker: Feral Farmer
When Mark Baker filed suit against the state of Michigan for clarification on an invasive species order, the state did everything it could to not get the case heard in court. Finally, a few days before the trial was set to begin, the judge dismissed the case because the state attorney general declared that the Baker’s were in compliance.
The Baker family had changed nothing about its farming operation but had simply, steadfastly refused to comply with the inane dictates criminalizing their peaceful farming practice.
Another judge ruled the ISO unconstitutional and now, farmers all over MI are able to resume peacefully raising their heritage breed pigs.
Michael Schmidt: Raw Milk Dairy Farmer
Michael has been dealing with the Canadian courts for upwards of 20 years now. In this seemingly endless battle with the Canadian CFIA, Michael has repeatedly endured abuses, incarcerations and more. This time, the consequences seem the same—the most recent ruling stipulated that it is STILL illegal for him to peacefully distribute raw milk to his community.
So what’s so different about this time? Without skipping a beat, even before the hearing, Michael publicly announced that nothing would change—the cows still needed to be milked and the people would get their milk.
And, after the ruling nothing changed. The cows were milked, the people got their milk and no regulators came after the farm or farmer.
Vernon Hershberger: Real Food Farmer
When Vernon Hershberger was on trial last year for providing food to his community, the verdict marked a significant outcome undermining the enforcement of the regulators. His 5-day trial culminated in 3 acquittals, giving him and other farmers all over the county, a new precedent on not applying for or getting permits for peacefully engaging in food exchange.
Martha Boneta: Fiber, Honey and Vegetable Farmer
A couple of years ago, peaceful farmer Martha Boneta was threatened with huge fines for hosting a child’s birthday party on her farm. Rather than comply and acquire the “permits,” Martha Boneta took her case to the media and subsequently the VA state legislature.
After two years of working on the legislation, the Virginia General Assembly passed, and the governor signed, a bill that recognizes farmers’ rights to sell what they produce on their land and with their labor. And disallows authoritarian county-level government bureaucrats from inflicting penalties on peaceful farmers for not getting their fictional “permits” for peaceful farm activities.
Again, while this entailed the legislative process to accomplish getting the regulatory bodies off the farms, it came about because of noncompliance and the recognition that there was no basis to that law and it would not ever have the compliance of the people.
While these victories may seem small and isolated, they are not. The significance of seeing people standing up for their rights cannot be overstated. Each of these cases mentioned above have garnered much publicity, not just for the egregious abuse of “authority” but for the normalizing of voluntary exchanges for food. These concrete cases and outcomes show each of us what is possible, and now even probable, in dealing with government bureaucracies so out of control they forget that we are all members of the same community. These farmers have reminded them.
This is an always evolving scenario with an increasing need for anyone and everyone to stand in solidarity with our farmers and those who are supporting them through noncompliance. Our world needs more peaceful farmers and fewer wars. Stand with us.
Wherever you are in your personal journey toward clean living and local food, thank you for joining me in mine. I look forward to sharing it with you.
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