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This summer has been one of valuable education and clarification for me. In writing my last post on PolyFace Farms, I mentioned that I am spending the summer with friends on their working farm, Dazi Acres. Suzanne and David, the proud owners of new land and a new life, have met with all of the personal and financial struggles that come with learning a new trade and trying to turn it profitable. What many people don't consider, are the possible (and today, probable) legal struggles that could effectively end the pursuit of their dreams.
Dazi Acres produces pastured poultry, pork, and beef in the manner of Joel Salatin at PolyFace. It is a proven business model, in harmony with the land it uses and the profits it hopes to garner. It also faces incredible legal challenges. Aside from incorporation and tax laws, there are federal and state food safety laws too numerous to count. In my early days at Dazi Acres, we ran into many of these laws in planning and sought information and clarity on them. In tweeting about their adventures, I was introduced by a Twitter follower to Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and serendipity happened.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am now a paid consultant for FTCLDF. After being introduced to the organization and their methods of accomplishing their goal of fighting for family farms, artisan food producers, and consumers, I aggressively sought ways to help them. FTCLDF is a non-profit, grassroots organization. They are 100% funded by donations and memberships. The lawyers who take up cases for clients often work for pennies an hour. There is no government funding involved in their work, and their interests lie purely in preserving food choice freedom. Capitalism, liberty, and taking on government regulations with zero taxpayer subsidy? I'm in.
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund was founded in 2007 and has tirelessly fought to protect consumer food choice and livelihoods for family farms across the country. In 2012, they were instrumental in preserving rights ranging from access to raw milk to selling homegrown produce and naturally raised meat. There are families still putting food on the table, and more farmers and consumers speaking out against overreaching legislation every day, solely due to the efforts of FTCLDF.
FTCLDF doesn't exist to take down "Big Ag", but to help protect the choices we should all be able to take for granted when it comes to the food we buy, and who we choose to buy it from. Government regulations and collusion with Big Ag via vehicles of disaster like Farm Bill subsidies, destroy those choices. If America is to turn away from government as the "problem solvers", organizations like FTCLDF are where we begin.