“Protecting the consumer’s freedom to choose and the farmer’s freedom to sell” is the slogan of the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (VICFA), a new advocacy group to protect food choice.
“In this great free country, you can buy cigarettes but not raw milk. You can choose an abortion but not a pound cake baked by your 12-year-old niece. You can shoot a deer on a 70-degree day, drag it a half mile through squirrel dung, dirt and leaves to be paraded around town as a hood ornament, then cut it up and feed it to your children and all their friends, but you can’t dress a coddled beef steer on farm and sell a T-bone to the neighbor,” says current president Joel Salatin.
With the accelerated pace of government regulations since 9/11/01 coupled with public paranoia, a group of Virginia farmers and consumers formed VICFA to offer alternative policies regarding food safety and bioterrorism.
“Our purpose is to promote and preserve free, unrestricted and unregulated direct farmer-to-consumer trade that fosters sustainability and availability of quality, diverse, wholesome, locally grown or home-produced food products” is the organization’s mission statement. VICFA believes biosecurity starts with close connections between producers and consumers rather than a host of regulations written and administered from distant national and state capitals.
Indeed, VICFA views the U.S. food system regulatory bureaucrats as bordering on terrorists the way these agents threaten, bully, and close down small farmers trying to access their neighborhoods with alternative food. Under the guise of food safety, these agents deny consumers the freedom to voluntarily step outside conventional food sources.
“The ultimate tyranny is denying me the freedom to feed my 3 trillion intestinal bacteria the food I think they need,” says Salatin. VICFA sees freeing up the entrepreneurial spirit on farms and in neighborhoods as a better approach to food security than a top-down control spirit. ” A local, decentralized, accountable, creative food system is being held hostage to bad science, government-corporate fraternity innuendo, and public paranoia fed by conventional media accomplices,” he adds.
VICFA sees the freedom to produce, process, and market on-farm as the most efficient answer to many pressing food system problems: biosecurity, environmentalism, humane animal care, farmland preservation, and nutrition. “Even the most undemocratic, tyrannical regimes in the world allow their consumers to freely and routinely access food denied Americans,” notes Salatin.
A monthly newsletter informs members about current political action steps, government harassment, and philosophy. Annual membership is $25 and may be sent to VICFA, P.O. Box 915, Charlottesville, VA 22902.
Website: www.vicfa.net Phone: (434) 263-8704
Please join us.
Contact: Joel Salatin, President (540) 885-3590