No Freedom of ‘Farm to Fork’

Posted: November 4th, 2011 by Militant Libertarian

by Karen De Coster

Here’s another farm raid that hasn’t made the news. Quail Hollow Farm CSA is a farm in Nevada, about 50 miles north of Las Vegas, that grows and sells fresh food to its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members. The philosophy of the owners and the purpose for the CSA is reflected as such:

The purpose for Quail Hollow Farm CSA is fourfold. Number one, it is our desire to be good stewards over our land. Nothing seems more beneficial than to plant a garden and orchard in which we may share the abundance of our harvest with friends and family. The second reason is that we believe that fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables are indispensable for optimal nutrition and health. The third is a strong desire for self-sufficiency. And lastly, is simply the joy of the whole gardening process: working the soil (literally being grounded,) patiently watching the growing process, the taste of the first ripe tomato, and the harmony of the seasons.  In addition, it is our desire to share this experience with others, offering enjoyable hands-on opportunities to learn the science and skill of gardening and preserving the harvest, and to pass on this knowledge for future generations.

That all sounds evil and barbaric, doesn’t it? On October 21, 2011 farm owners Monte and Laura Bledsoe were holding their first annual Farm to Fork dinner for folks who desired to check out the farm. The dinner is described this way:

After a tour of the farm, dinner will be served family style (or farm style). The menu will be dictated by what we freshly harvest from our farm and other local small family farms.

Prior to the dinner, Monte and Laura were contacted by the Nevada Health Department and they were told they needed a special permit to be able to hold the event. Not wanting trouble, the Bledsoes gave in to the threat and applied for the permit. As the guests arrived for the dinner on October 21, so did the health inspector. In spite of the fact that there was a “certified kitchen trailer” on the farm premises for preparation of the food (yes, there are such things), the health inspector, who was taking orders by phone from her boss, declared that all of the food was unfit for consumption and she demanded the event be called off and the food be thrown away. The food was not consumable because:

1. Some of the prepared food packages did not have labels on them.  (The code actually allows for this if it is to be consumed within 72 hours.)  2.  Some of the meat was not USDA certified.  (Did I mention that this was a farm to fork meal?)  3.  Some of the food that was prepared in advance was not up to temperature at the time of inspection. (It was being prepared to be brought to proper temperature for serving when the inspection occurred.) 4.  Even the vegetables prepared in advance had to be thrown out because they were cut and were then considered a “bio-hazard”.

Not only was all of this freshly-prepared, chef-created, non-industrialized, non-processed, non-chemicalized food not fit for human consumption, but it was also deemed unfit for pig consumption That’s right – the health department despot’s orders were to throw all of the food away and then douse it with bleach to make sure the food did not get recycled as feed for the pastured pigs. At that point, the Bledsoes were reminded to call the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. They did, and they received advice from an attorney with the organization that allowed them to chase the health inspector off of their land. With no search warrant and no arrest warrant, the state’s leech left.

Following the parting of the Unhealth Nazi, the farm owners and attendees of the dinner teamed up to descend upon a stash of fresh food that was set to go to the market the next day. The crew got busy and they got to cooking. Dinner eventually became a reality, though not in its original form.

The health department hack returned, this time with local police. Thankfully, the police officers, not understanding why they were called, did nothing and left.

This is just another reminder that people are not free to make their own choices regarding their own health and food, nor are they free to voluntarily transact with others to maintain those choices. The real crime committed by Bledsoes is that they are dedicated to that dirty word found in their manifesto (quoted up above): “self-sufficiency.” Self-sufficient as in freedom to choose, or freedom from the government-supported-and-subsidized industrial food corporatocracy. Horrors.

You can read about this raid in its entirety here.

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