Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Let's see if we can get this passed in all 50 states. In states that have an initiative process then let's get this on the ballot. In other states, if necessary, work to get this accomplised one piece at a time This is just a rough draft but I think you will get the idea.

WHEREAS, The health and safety of the people of the State of (your state) is the State’s highest priority and is of paramount importance; and

WHEREAS, The food supply is the basic cause of poor health in this country and it is important to our good health and the security of this nation to create a healthy and stable food supply; and

WHEREAS, Most chronic illnesses and many outbreaks of illness in the United States today are caused by use of and our reliance on factory farmed and factory produced foods; and

WHEREAS, Factory processed food and food that has traveled long distances has been shown to have lower nutrition and further exacerbate the problems of contamination by pollution and disease; and

WHEREAS, Local farmers that produce and distribute fresh food provide a unique and important resource that is irreplaceable within the community; and

WHEREAS, Agricultural land under an organic or sustainable management regime takes years to develop and might take generations to achieve its full potential and so requires protection not currently found under the law; and

WHEREAS, Financial assistance is needed to stabilize and grow the fresh food market and cure many of the ills listed above;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE FOLLOWING ACT IF PASSED BY THE VOTERS AS ALLOWED BY LAW SHALL BECOME A PART OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION. Where it is found to be in conflict with other law, this act shall replace existing law.

Agriculture shall be defined as growing food for the direct use of people.

Any crop whose nature is substantially changed or is used to create another substance that is substantially different and or not recognizable as the original ingredient does not qualify as agricultural use and that percentage of the land used to produce such chemical extractions shall not qualify for protections provided by this act. Producing chemical extractions using agricultural methods shall be managed as any other mineral extraction operation under special license only as absolutely necessary for the health and well being of the surrounding community and be administered by the Department of Interior with oversight provided over both by the Department of Ecology.

Agricultural use of land shall be deemed to be the highest use of land. Agricultural land shall not be subverted or diverted from that use by any government agency.

Any agricultural land owner that can demonstrate that they are actively striving to maximize production may at their discretion enroll their land in an agricultural land trust. This trust will exist in perpetuity at the discretion of the trustee, beneficiary, or heirs of the trust.

No local, regional, or state agency shall make use of eminent domain, condemn, change the tax status for the purpose of increasing the revenue of their jurisdiction, impede or impair any land that is currently in agricultural use for any reason if it can be shown that it is earning at least $2000 in revenues, goods, or services from agriculture.

The land trust shall not be subject to liens or any other taking by any government agency while it is occupied for agricultural use.

Land shall be deemed agricultural by the end of the first year it is used as such.

Agricultural land shall be charged the lowest tax rate in the state every year that it is in productive agricultural use.

Any governmental agency may bring suit against a trustee for any issue related to the existence of the land trust but only if it bears the full cost of the suit and immediately places a bond to cover the cost of the suit.

A classification that accurately describes the agricultural activities being engaged in shall be created by any state agency or private company that uses classification to delineate risk, charge fees, or excise any kind of levy based on the revenues or business activity description. If a new class is created then it shall be charged the lowest rate in it’s general class until loss ratios or some other actuarial indicator indicate a need to change the rate.

Buildings on agricultural land shall be exempt from local building codes and inspections as long as all state licensed contractors engaged to complete the project agree that the project is fit for the purpose for which it was built and meets all applicable energy efficiency codes.

In addition to any other sales or excise taxes applicable in the jurisdiction, a Value Added Tax (VAT) of no less than 5.0 % and up to 7.5% shall be charged on all food like substances that are chemically or heat processed. For each ingredient added in addition to the largest single ingredient, a surcharge of at least $.00075 shall be made for every mile that each chemical, material, or commodity used to create food like substances travels before it’s sale to the end consumer. An exception will be made for any foods that are simply processed by natural fermentation and are not heat pasteurized.

A fund will be created to subsidize the cost of fresh, local food. This will be applied at the point of purchase and each resident of the state will be entitled to a weekly grant to purchase such items. The state is required to immediately reimburse any agricultural producer that directly provides food any money due them for goods delivered. The value of the goods shall be based on the regional average cost for a weekly share available through Community Supported Agriculture cooperatives.

Foods must be clearly labeled. Terms such as “Natural Flavoring” shall not be allowed. Any substance that has been shown to cause an adverse health reaction must be identified and prominently displayed next to, and in larger-all capital text, the other ingredients.

Any substance sold for human or animal consumption that contains, or that included in any part of the production genetically modified organisms shall have a prominent label next to the name of the product with the term GM PRODUCT in all capitals and at least an 18 point font with a colored background that is different than the color of the label.

Foods containing phytic acid or any other enzyme inhibitor or any other kind anti-nutrient shall contain a health warning in a font size at 2 points larger than the ingredient list prominently displayed next to the ingredients about the presence of such chemicals including a recommendation limiting consumption.

No state agency shall cooperate or coordinate in any activities relating to deportation, apprehension, documentation, confinement, or identification of any worker otherwise legitimately employed in agriculture if the only complaint against him/her is that she/he has not attained legal status to be in or work in this country. The Sheriff of any County shall assist any farmer whose agricultural work is being impeded by removing anyone from his land and may detain them indefinitely if their intent is interfere in the production of a food crop for immigration reasons.

Water rights shall be conferred to anyone that participates in agriculture if it is necessary for them to produce agricultural goods, and water is available from another right such as resource extraction. Water is not a perpetual right but must be transferred and shared for the greatest good of the community, not hoarded for a single interest or individual.

If any portion of this act shall be found to be invalid by a court then all other parts shall remain in force.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Goods

I just packed up some fermented parsnip that I started in a crock 10 days ago. I was fully prepared to throw this stuff out, sticky, oozing, puss like, but instead I am in love. Parsnips don’t taste sweet to me when they are raw or cooked but there is a lot of sweetness after they have fermented. There is sweetness and a very pleasant sour taste and combined make parsnips taste better than I ever could have imagined. One recipe of three pounds, as called for in “Wild Fermentation”, was almost the exact size of a quart jar after it finished it’s warm fermentation and I really packed it in. It now goes into the refrigerator to age and become even more beautiful.

I started 4 pounds of organic cabbage at the same time so I will have to eat some of that fermentation young. It is by far the best sauerkraut I have ever tasted but I expect that it will just keep getting better and better. I filled one of the empty crocks with Wan Shen Chinese broccoli to ferment and the other went back to it’s normal task of making chili. It was worth not having chili for a week but I might have chili for breakfast just to make up for lost time. Wan Shen is like raab except it has long spears of broccoli stem with just a little flower on top and a lot of leaves. The inch thick spears snap easily and loudly when picked fresh and the whole plant is dark green. Great in salads and stir fries, it is grown locally all year round except the hottest part of summer.

Then it was time to clean up some other things I had growing in the kitchen. I keep trying raw foods but find I don’t have much taste for them. I made fenugreek, buckwheat, and broccoli sprouts in my new Geo terra cotta sprouter that made sprouts better and with less effort on my part than any other sprouting method I have tried. So, into a canning jar they went with a little salt and left over fluid from the parsnip and cabbage packing. I smashed them down until all the air was out of the jar and then put a little more fluid from the fermented cabbage on top. Now to finish my cup of Honeybush tea and find a recipe for little seedy crunchy things to serve some of these wild things on.