This Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington the documentary "Farmadeddon" will be shown at 11:30AM. Afterwards there will be a panel discussion about the issues raised in the movie about the troubles small farms are experiencing. Your $15.00 donation will be given to FarmFoodFreedom.org to lobby the FDA on behalf of consumers
For those of you who are die-hard local-food foodies some of the information presented in the documentary might be old news. For others the idea that the USDA has been over-zealous in harassing small farms might be a rather nasty surprise. As Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com states in his July 8 blog:
"Activists, farmers and foodies make the case (in the documentary) for locally grown and minimally processed food, and we hear a lot of anecdotes about governmental overreach, while the bureaucrats either damn themselves by keeping their mouths shut or damn themselves by talking and saying nothing. A Vermont family has its entire herd of imported sheep destroyed, thanks to a completely imaginary outbreak of mad-cow disease (which is not known to occur in sheep in the first place, and definitely didn't occur in theirs). Armed agents invade an upstate New York farm to seize a cooler full of raspberry yogurt. An undercover unit breaks up an interstate trafficking ring -- one devoted to bringing USDA-certified raw milk from South Carolina across the line into Georgia."
Why the sudden rush to armed intervention to prevent raw milk from being drunk by consumers? Bureaucracy gone wild?, Stupidity? Pressure on the USDA by Agribusiness? We may never know for absolutely certain.
In my opinion, at the very least, the differences between highly processed food factory farms run by corporate agribusiness and local farmers has caused a crisis in identification by the powers that be such as the USDA, and State and Local Health Departments.
Here in Virginia, where they support farmers markets, the bureaucracy has difficulty sorting through the differences between agribusiness products and small farm products. They tend to utilize the same rules for both, when in fact regulations that recognize the difference between Agribusiness Products and Small or Sustainable Farm Products has become essential.
This documentary is about the moment in time when this concept is still being articulated and lobbied for. As in all moments of change - problems are occurring. But it is possible for people to sway the laws in their favor, lobby their congresspeople, write letters, buy locally grown foods.
If you like your free-range eggs, hormone free chickens, and even raw milk - go see the documentary, and donate your money towards the work of re-describing what healthy food is, where it comes, how it is stored, and take a look at a moment in time, just before everything either facist-like stubbornly stays the same or serendipitously changes drastically.
For more information on these issues go to:
Yesterday's event was fantastic! The weather was wonderful, a great turnout and there was indeed lots of laughter.
Fruit, flowers and face painting. Veggies, vases and video recording. Yogurt and yoga. Herbs, handmade goods and henna. Baked good, balloon twisting, bicycles, babies and bubbles. Meat, milk and magic. Lemonade and laughter.
What did you like most?
Susan Birchler, the Director of the West End Farmers Market, after much discussion and feedback from our vendors has decided to cancel this Sunday's market. This informed decision is based on vendor feedback yesterday and information from the National Hurricane Center and the Weather Channel which states that the worst rain, flooding and tropical storm winds will occur in our area between 3PM Saturday and Sunday morning. Some of our vendors from the VA Eastern Shore are coming from an area that is labeled high risk on the weather map and may not be able to travel due to flooding, downed trees and electricity, and dangerous road conditions. On Sunday morning the Hurricane is projected to be right off our coastline, with storm surges, flooding, tropical force winds between 30 and 60MPH. And the Potomac is expected to flood. Additionally the City of Alexandria is asking people to stay home and be ready for the lights to go out.
We recognise that this is hard coming right after a Sunday off for the Cambodian Festival. We will reopen on Labor Day weekend. Until then, please have a safe weekend.
The opening of the 2011 West End Farmers Market has been moved to NEXT Sunday, May 8, to permit the city of Alexandria to conduct final preparations of Ben Brenman Park.
Please join us on Sunday, May 8 for the opening of the West End Farmers Market. There will be a fruit and vegetable treasure hunt for the children with coloring books and crayons as rewards, as well as a face painter, acoustic music by fourteen year old Frida Salmoran, and free pinwheels and bubbles for the children!
Thank you for your patience and understanding. See you at the market!