Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kids and Food Rights

Yesterday's event at the Library went well! Myself, a chicken, and around a dozen kids and their caregivers showed up at the Library on the rainy day. I held the little Golden Laced Wyandotte against my chest as I talked about chickens, feathers, eggs, farms, and anything else the kids wanted to talk about. The kids were whip smart, and knew more about their food than I thought they would. (Not every kid knows ice cream, cheese, and hamburgers come from the same animal!) and everyone got to pet the bird, handle multi-colored eggs, and tell be their chicken stories. When it was over parents came by to ask adult chicken-keeping questions and everyone was kind and patient. I could not have asked for a better first Library experience and I thank Jessica and her young family for inviting me!

On an unrelated note, this is just a reminder to folks coming to Antlerstock that meals will not be provided, as originally intended. This is upsetting to me as well, but as the USDA cracks down on farm-to-table meals I can not legally serve you any food at an event you paid to attend unless it was prepared in a USDA kitchen and I had the license to transport it from there to here. That, or build a fully inspected stainless steel government approved food-preparing kitchen (Which I have not done, I'm working on lumber to build barn walls first.)

Some people think this is paranoia, but as a person who's home is also how she makes her living it is a very real threat. If any local USDA inspector came here and saw me serving chili I could have Antlerstock shut down and a fine that would destroy me. It is happening all over. So right now food is not a part of workshops. I tried to hire some catering companies to feed you instead but the cost was astronomical, everyone's ticket price would have doubled. It seemed most reasonable to have folks pack a lunch. Again, I am sorry. I can offer you a discount on future events if that will help with your costs.

For those who are passionate about farm-to-consumer rights I strongly urge you to join the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, AKA the Food NRA. Cold Antler is a member and part of the movement to get small, sustainable farmed food out of the world of taboo and into the world of normal again. Raw milk back on the table!

21 Comments:

Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

I'm not sure I'd call them the Food NRA. There are folks that support food freedom who are adamantly opposed to the NRA so linking the two will put them off, harming the movement. That said, not only do you have to negotiate state and federal law, every county health inspector has his own axe to grind. Ours has decided no sales of home canned food, even though the state allows jams, jellies, and pickles as these do not harbor dangerous pathogens. *sigh* Raw milk sales are legal here but some counties have tried to put raw milk providers out of business through other means. Sad, really. People rarely go to so much trouble to acquire a particular food unless they have some compelling reason like a child who is ill.

September 30, 2012 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Yeah it is very regional. Here there are so many dairies keeping them busy I don't know if they would ever come to CAF, but all it takes is an angry reader sending them a phonecall tip.

September 30, 2012 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I meant that just like the NRA protects civilian gun rights, the FTCLDF does the same for food.

September 30, 2012 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I'm glad you're shedding some light on this issue that is such a headache for many, and downright destructive for others. If you've read some of the accounts of government raids on Amish dairy farmers, you can't help but wonder what these people are afraid of. So good for you turning this disappointment into an opportunity for educating people.

September 30, 2012 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

The potluck on Friday for Antlerstock is a great idea to encourage participants to share in what they have. Andrew and I will be there with Woodchuck to share and a good vegetarian dish too! I am traveling from NH and am planning on bringing brown bag lunches for my husband and I, eating at the B&B for breakfast and probably exploring WC for dinner. If anyone is having difficulty putting together lunches for themselves, I would be happy to pack a few extra sandwiches and apples w/pb to share. I am sure with a house full of homesteaders none of us will starve :) Maybe if those of us who are able to pack a few extra items to share with others we will all have plenty. Please let me know if you are coming to Antlerstock and would like to share in a hummus and veggie wrap with pb apples!

September 30, 2012 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Elizabeth you are awesome!

September 30, 2012 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Hound Doggy said...

I think this topic is a lot more complicated. Of course anyone can come up with individual (or more) cases that are crazy, but with this litigious society you should be worried about lawsuits also. You think the fine would shut you down?....have someone get sick from that chili. Jenna, you got quite sick from the chicken...
Nobody means for these things to happen but they do sometimes. And if someone gets sick....well.....many people would go after you like crazy.
And to take it away from you personally, many other people are not so concerned with proper handling but with money making. Someone could set up at a market or parking lot and make 1/2 the county sick.
I think the general public wouldn't even think about it...they would assume the food was safe.

September 30, 2012 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the map from?

September 30, 2012 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Stormy said...

I wondered how long it would be before this issue started cropping up across the country. Being notoriously picky about what I eat I can understand both sides. I have certainly come across places and wondered where the heck the food inspectors were! That said, I am also an exceptional baker and cook and have long wanted to produce quality food for others. In my case, I am exploring the idea of either buying a used portable office or a travel trailer and then gutting it and rebuilding it as a certified "stand alone" kitchen for my small farm. There is no way my home could ever be certified becuase I have an open kitchen that can not be walled off from the rest of the home. It is the only thing I can think of that could be accomplished on the cheap ala the "food cart " culture in Portland Oregon that is so popular. Maybe we need to develop something similar for us rural folks...

September 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

Please don't apologize for the USDA requlations. You didn't vote for the yuckapucks that made those laws, my generation and the one before me did. I apologize to you, we were asleep at the wheel on that one. Happily, some of us have opened our eyes and are fighting back. I personally think they are afraid of losing their power, their market-share. The kids of my generation grew up hearing "Money is power." "Go big or go home." and the measure of our success in our parents' eyes was simply what college did we graduate from and what title we held at which mega corporation and how much money were we making. In retrospect it's pathetic, and I am sorry we left you a more difficult world to live in.

September 30, 2012 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger kaelak said...

Elizabeth - my hubby and I are coming in from out of town for Anylerstock and would love to take you up on your offer. Thank you do much for your kindness!

September 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently we live in WA state (we are moving to Washington County in the spring). Both states allow the sale of raw milk (I make cheese with the raw milk) but the hoops they put the dairies through are unbelieveable. Its scary when you think the government wants us to register all farm animals, restrict when/where someone can provide us a meal (When its safer/cleaner/healthier to eat a meal at Jenna's but you can't and they allow millions of fast food/junk food places across the US) I plan to join the FTCLDF today. Thanks for the post Jenna

eileen

September 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

The map is from foodtoconsumer.org

September 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger J.D. Collins said...

I gotta say I don't know how I feel about this raw milk issue. Before pasturization many people became ill.

I know our dairies are under the gun, but I'm concerned about what goes into the cow to produce the milk. Too many chemicals that I have no idea if pasturization can help or harm.

The farmer does it tough these days, but I have to say buying groceries now requires a degree in modern chemistry.

Scary.

September 30, 2012 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

Before my 1st goat started producing milk last year, I drove to PA weekly, for about a year, to buy a few gallons of raw goat milk for myself.

I'll be at the Battenkill campground by Friday afternoon (till Monday) armed with a cast iron pot for my non-Antlerstock meals. I've never used one before, so it'll be an experience! Wheat (thought not gluten) and sugar make me dead exhausted within minutes, and I've replaced cow with goat dairy, so packing food for travel in the last 2 years has become a challenge of creativity. I'll have a small arsenal of food for my lunches so I'm sure NOT to fall asleep during the workshops. :) I avoid wheat and sugar when I know I have to be fully functional.

September 30, 2012 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

Mmmmmm burger den! <3 :D lol but seriously I was hoping to bring a bunch of shareable treats for Friday/Antlerstock (and will be!) so long as the border patrol doesn't object ;)

September 30, 2012 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

http://washingtonstatecottagefoodlaw.webs.com/

Washington State has passed a Cottage food law, certain foods like baked goods can now be produced in a regular home kitchen and legally sold. Now farmers can turn some of their fruits and vegetables into pies, cakes, cookies, jams and jelly, without having to build a USDA approved kitchen. Oregon and California also have Cottage food laws. It not a full solution to Jenna problem.

September 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Margie said...

Absolutely not, raw milk can be harmful. Pregnant women, young children, and the elderly should never drink it.

October 1, 2012 at 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Virginia said...

Thank you for posting about this issue. I think it is crazy the FBI is doing raids on farms when they are providing safe milk. Though I read some of the raids are happening in PA but the map shows it is legal to do retail sales of raw milk. People should have a choice. They should also be educated and farms be required to test the milk to show it is safe. The farm I get my raw milk tests every other day. We've never had a problem.

October 1, 2012 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Thanks for pointing out the regulations that cover farm-to-table dinners. Last spring at the Tour de Farm one of the locations gave a really nice lunch. However, all the dishes were trucked to the location in hot boxes, and none of the food, be it meat or vegetables, actually came from the farm. The whole setup seemed contrary to what Slow Food stands for, but now I don't blame the organizers at all.

They did hire the culinary department from the local community college to do the catering, though, which was pretty cool. The did a delicious job.

October 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

BTW, keep on having Antlerstocks, please! My kids are just too young for that kind of travel right now, but we are SO THERE in 2014.

October 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM  

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