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Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 05:52 AM PST

Protect Our Food - Stop NAIS!

by judith2007

As I watch newborn baby lambs playing King of the Hill, bouncing and playing like their legs are springs, my heart fills with both joy and dread.  I’m a city girl, a lawyer, who got into farming because I believe passionately that small, sustainable farms are our future – the future for improving human health, clean air and water, diverse ecosystems, renewable energy and an end to our dependence on oil, and respect for all life, from the soil to the plants to the animals.  And I see that future threatened by our own government, which is doing the bidding of multinational corporations that care for nothing besides their profits.  

I picture what these young lambs’ lives would be under the corporate system – tagged with radio tags at birth and tracked like so many widgets as they are crammed into feedlots knee-deep in manure and dosed with drugs.   I’ve been fighting to stop that from happening for the last 3 years, and I’m asking for a few seconds of your time to help now.

More, including pictures, after the flip

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I’d like to invite everyone to take a journey with me over the next year and a half.  It’s a farewell to our beloved farm, and the beginning of a new one.  In the course of it, I hope to give y’all a glimpse into the real life of a farm and the practices of sustainable ranching.  And I'll share a few pictures of our farm, including some adorable baby lambs, along the way.

My husband and I have a small, organic (not-certified) farm just outside of Austin, Texas. I bought this place after I graduated law school ten years ago.   I’ll post about my transition from environmental attorney to farmer another day.  For now, suffice to say that I am a student of holistic management and eco-agriculture.  

This diary is cross posted at
La Vida Locavore

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Everyone agrees with putting our children first.  Yet several Representatives, Dem’s included, are playing politics with our children’s food.  Congresswoman DeLauro (D-CT) stuck a provision into the latest agriculture appropriations bill to require school lunch programs to buy their meat from premises registered with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

What’s so bad about this? The short answer is that (1) it has nothing to do with improving the nutrition or safety of the food; and (2) it promotes the sort of factory farming that has led to food poisoning, environmental pollution, and the inhumane treatment of animals.

At the end of this diary is an action step, so that you can help protect our children, our food supply, and our environment.  

I am a farmer and an activist. I farm because I love the environment and have learned how sustainable agriculture can address so many of the problems facing humanity today, from human health to protecting wetlands to social justice. I am outraged at the attempt to destroy small, sustainable farms in the name of promoting Big Ag.  I'm even more outraged that our children are being used to do it.

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Picture yourself eating healthy, fresh, flavorful foods, raised by local farmers who care for their land and their animals in a way that improves the environment, supports local economies, and promotes animal welfare. This vision stands in stark contrast to the current mainstream food supply, controlled by large industrial agriculture companies. In pursuit of the greatest profits, they have sacrificed people's health, environmental quality, and any trace of compassion for animals.

Growing numbers of farmers and consumers share a vision for change, one that promotes healthy people, animals, and the environment. But the large industrial agriculture companies are seeking government help to preserve their market control and profits in the 2007 Farm Bill. Before your eyes glaze over at the words "Farm Bill," ask yourself whether you want to be able to get local, grass-fed meats and eggs. Hormone-free milk? Organic foods free from genetically engineered contamination? A choice whether or not to buy genetically engineered foods? If any of these things matter to you, then the Farm Bill affects your life – it’s about your food!

Two sneaky provisions in the Farm Bill could force sustainable farmers out of business and cut off local control of food safety.

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