Friday, February 15, 2013

Must We Have Politics Served As a Side Dish to Homesteading?


When I post something political on the HomesteadRevival Facebook page, I always receive at least one comment asking me to keep politics out of homesteading. Must we include political discussions in our endeavors to homestead? 

Unfortunately, yes.



Look... I don't want to stir up emotions or hard feelings here. I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist. Nor do I want to see evil lurking behind every tree. But freedom of choice in our country is rapidly disappearing and I never dreamed it would be food related. It's becoming harder and harder to pretend we don't have a food issue. (Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir here... please bear with me.)

Wherever there is money, there is the potential for priorities to become skewed. Now you may not THINK agricultural endeavors are big business (because seriously, none of us are getting rich at this, right?), but on a national level, Big Ag IS making serious money. We don't see it because it's only a handful of corporations that ARE Big Ag (Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, etc.)

Besides the money issue, there are only a few things that are REALLY necessary for life, and food is at the top of the list along with water and air. If you look back over history, you’ll realize wars have been fought over food resources and for centuries, the trading of food has been considered a form of monetary exchange. Those with available food (and land, because land equals more food potential) were considered the wealthy and often had “noble” status. Read Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky to get an idea of how just one food commodity changed nations.



So... why do we bury our head in the sand and say that food is not political? Sure, I’d MUCH rather hang out with my goats and chickens, munch sugar snaps straight off the vine, sing kum-ba-ya, and ignore the political roar in the background. But as in most generations since Adam and Eve, our food supply is at risk and we need to be alert, attentive, and active. The only difference since the dawn of time is the players and venue have changed, but the fight is as old as the hills. 

ALERT

Be aware that someone wants your food supply under their control… Big Ag. The UN. Honestly, it’s so big; it’s kind of hard to identify all the players. The point is to know that this is happening and acknowledge the fact you can’t ignore it.

ATTENTIVE

Set aside some time each week to do some research… thirty minutes, an hour, whatever you can carve out.  Watch for laws and regulations that will limit your freedom to purchase or grow food of your choice. Find some good news sources that gives reliable information and read them weekly. Farm to Consumer is a good example.

ACTIVE

Reposting news and information on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs is excellent. The more people that can be educated about current food and farming restrictions, the better. But don’t stop there. Write a letter. Financially support a group that lobbies for a cause you believe in, such as raw milk sales. Take part in a rally. Join a CSA and support a small farmer. Refuse to buy Big Ag products (in as much as it is humanly possible). Grow and raise your own groceries and share the bounty when possible and tell the recipient why you do it (they're bound to ask)!

Current News You Should Be Aware Of

As of January 1, 2013, the fight against small farmers and food freedom seems to have hit a new high. Perhaps Monsanto feels energized from their recent victory in California over the defeat of food labeling laws on GMO products. Here's a few examples...


Fram-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund: Morningland Cheese to Be Destroyed 

A Word For Readers Who Farm for Big Ag

If you’re still reading at this point, I commend you! I realize that you’re probably very angry. Angry at me, angry at those who would seek to take away your income, and probably even angry at Big Ag who tends to make life difficult, squeezing out every bit of profit they can (which often means you and your family make the sacrifices directly, not the corporate heads). I recognize the hard work you do and your desire to provide others with food. It’s a noble calling indeed and many don’t acknowledge or appreciate what you do.

Let me throw out a few thoughts for you to ponder…

• Is the current method of conventional farming really seem sustainable? In other words, do you feel that current farming methods are realistic on an on going basis?

• Does it seem logical that every year the rules/requirements change; often dramatically?

• Are you having to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet?

• Is this how your grandparents farmed? great-grandparents? What would they say about the methods we're using today?

• Are you feeling peace about your stewardship calling (based on Genesis 1:28-30 AND Proverbs 12:10a)?



Final Thoughts

In case you’re not sure where I stand politically, let me lay it out clearly:

• I am an ultra conservative on moral issues such as abortion, religion, etc.
• I am very conservative on constitutional issues such as gun rights, free speech, etc.
• I’m in a class not covered by liberals or conservatives when it comes to environmental issues – following Genesis, I believe we are to take dominion over the earth and subdue it, but I do not believe that means destroying massive parts of it and then ask God to fix it. We are to be good stewards of the earth without worshipping creation itself. So often it may APPEAR I’m an environmental liberal, but I'm not. Neither am I a traditional conservative in this area. (I highly recommend Noah Sander's book Born-Again Dirt for a better explanation).


That said, I often find that those I’m debating on the issues of GMO labeling, raw milk, and other small farming rights are the very people I side with in other political areas. Often I have voted for these people because MORALLY they are conservative, but in terms of food and agriculture, we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. This creates strange bedfellows indeed, making the daily battle even more difficult.

I live in one of the most conservative counties in CA, where agriculture is king. While third in ag for the state, I’m sure it’s one of the top farming counties in the nation as well. It’s the “Bible Belt” of CA, but at the same time, Monsanto and it’s subsidiaries, rule. The representative that I support is in line with all my own beliefs EXCEPT when it comes to food. It's so disappointing and can be disheartening. Perhaps you are in a similar situation as well. What should we do?

Never underestimate the power of the local government. You have a much greater chance working with a local leader than you’ll ever have influencing a national one. Form a local lobby group and select a handful of members to meet with your local representatives. Be respectful, but firm. Know your stuff and have a prepared written statement of your group’s concerns.

I confess, perhaps I am not as active as I could or should be. But I'm doing more today than I was 5 years ago. Today I'm alert. I'm as attentive as time allows. And I am making small steps to be active. I have to... The future of our food is at stake. 





Please note: Thank you for practicing kindness and civility. While debate can be a healthy intellectual engagement, comments not in keeping with Eph. 4:29 will be removed. 






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