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Government Food Bill May Stop Seed Sharing and Home Growers Selling Produce
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Misdemeanor Charges (93 days in jail) in Michigan for Growing Vegetables in Front Garden Raised Beds.

Yesterday I received an online newsletter from the States with a lead article that went something like this...

'To those of you who signed the online petition to protest the misdemeanor charges against Julie Bass for growing a front yard vegetable garden in Oak Park, Michigan; congratulations! - It seems we can still make a difference on a "veggie-roots" level! :) Julie was facing 93 days in jail, but the charges have been dropped. Apparently the mayor's office was swamped with emails, calls and letters of support for Julie. Beautiful is the strength and numbers of this community like a network of roots beneath the ground!

Wow, this is crazy...you mean to say that Official bodies in the States are now wanting to ban people growing vegetables in their front garden?  This makes no sense sense at all.  I breathed a sigh of relief and felt so glad that this kind of infringement upon basic human rights does not happen in good ole New Zealand.  I have enjoyed seeing the clever combination of food and flower front gardens on many a long walk.

On a positive note the article also emphasized the power of the people when we all pull together to prevent this kind of over-the-top bureaucracy.

 

Well, seems like I was a bit hasty in my trust of our political system as regards our basic human rights to food, its production and sharing.

 PETITION AGAINST FOOD BILL 160-2

NEEDED IN ORDER THAT WE WILL RETAIN OUR RIGHTS TO  GROW, SHARE AND SELL FOOD without need of a license or permission from a Government Body.

Petition link to sign is  http://www.petitiononline.co.nz/petition/oppose-the-new-zealand-government-food-bill-160-2/1301 and more info can be found by going to Google and reading the New Zealand Government Bill 160-2.

 

We are about to lose our basic human right to grow and share food in New Zealand if we do not stand up and take action now....I mean right NOW

Is this statement an exaggeration...well judge for yourselves.

 

Food Bill 160-2 (2010) is before Parliament and has already passed through one reading and recommendations of the assigned committee have already been made to Parliament.  This means that it is already to go Parliament for its second reading.

I don't know about all of you, our subscribers to this site, but Ross and I love going to the Farmers Markets each weekend and especially appreciate knowing that the fruit and vegetable we are picking are seasonal, picked within 48 hours before purchase, only handled by the grower and sold at very affordable prices.  Well, this is about to be impacted in a negative manner by  Food Bill 160-2. 

 

This Bill could make it very difficult for individual small time growers to stay in business by imposing additional costs, regulations and constraints and especially in the area of organic farming.

Future Scenario under Food Bill 160-2

Imagine this for a moment if you can.....you harvested a spectacular crop of heirloom beans from your garden this season that was so robust and abundant that your neighbour was hugely impressed and keen to get hold of and so you agreed to swap some of the seed pods with them for seeds from their carrot crop.  Next thing you know there is a knock on the door and when you open it you are confronted by people calling themselves Food Safety Officers.  "Sir/Madam, we believe that you are selling(bartering) seeds without a permit and so we are now going to search your premises for which we need no warrant and please be aware that we have armed police with us (Clause 265 - 1 which also permits the use of guns).  If we find that you have sold/bartered seeds with another individual without the appropriate permit then you will be charged and fined under Food Bill 160-2"  Are you starting to get the message......

Police can be Food Safety Officers, and so can members of the private sector, as at Clause 243. So Monsanto employees can raid premises like houses or marae without a warrant, backed up by armed police.

Sound like fiction...well it is at the moment in New Zealand but it will become hard reality once Food Bill 160-2 is passed into law.

NEXUS MAGAZINE has an  outline on their website that will very quickly bring you up to speed with exactly what we could be letting ourselves into if we allow this Bill to pass unchallenged.  Below is a summary of what Nexus understands as the implications of this Bill.

What are the problems with the Food Bill?

  •  It turns a human right (to grow food and share it) into a government-authorised privilege that can be revoked by the Governor-General.
  •  It makes it illegal to distribute "food" without authorisation, and it defines "food" in such a way that it includes nutrients, seeds, natural medicines, essential minerals and drinks (including water).
  •  It will push up mainstream food prices by subjecting producers to red tape and registration costs. Food prices are already rising due to increased energy costs and commodity speculation, while effective disposable incomes are falling.  This will have a huge impact on Farmers Markets and individual growers.
  • Growing food for distribution must be authorised, even for "cottage industries", and such authorisation can be denied - another threat to Farmers Markets.
  • Under the Food Bill, Food Safety Officers can enter premises without a warrant using all equipment they deem necessary, including guns (Clause 265 - 1). Police can be Food Safety Officers, and so can members of the private sector, as at Clause 243. So Monsanto employees can raid premises like houses or marae without a warrant, backed up by armed police.
  • The Government has created this bill to keep in line with its World Trade Organisation obligations under an international scheme called Codex Alimentarius ("Food Book"). So it has to pass this bill in one form or another.
  • There are problems with Codex also. Codex will place severe restrictions on the content of vitamins, minerals and therapeutic compounds in food, drinks and supplements etc. The Food Bill means that non-complying producers can be shut down easily - thus it paves the way for the legal enforcement of Codex food regulations.

What are the implications for Food Security in NZ?

  • - The bill would undermine the efforts of many people to become more self-sufficient within their local communities.
  • - Seed banks and seed-sharing networks could be shut down if they could not obtain authorisation. Loss of seed variety would make it more difficult to grow one's own food.
  • Home-grown food and some or all seed could not be bartered on a scale or frequency necessary to feed people in communities where commercially available food has become unaffordable or unavailable (for example due to economic collapse).
  • Restrictions on the trade of food and seed would quickly lead to the permanent loss of heirloom strains, as well as a general lowering of plant diversity in agriculture.
  • Organic producers of heirloom foods could lose market share to big-money agribusiness outfits, leading to an increase in the consumption of nutrient-poor and GE foods.

So fellow subscribers, do you want to allow this Food Bill to become law because if you choose not to support the Petition against it, then this is exactly the future that will be chosen for our children and their families.

PETITION AGAINST FOOD BILL 160-2 SO THAT WE WILL RETAIN OUR RIGHTS TO  GROW, SHARE AND SELL FOOD without need of a license or permission from a Government Body.

Petition link to sign is  http://www.petitiononline.co.nz/petition/oppose-the-new-zealand-government-food-bill-160-2/1301 and more info can be found by going to Google and reading the New Zealand Government Bill 160-2.

KAIWAKA ORGANICS also have a well written summary of the Food Bill and its impact on our Society and individuals.  They also bring up a very important point regarding a narrow provision within the law to opt out of this proposed law being enforced upon individuals - this is definitely not enough and you have to wonder how long before this narrow provision is amended behind the scenes without fanfare or adequate notification.  This Food Bill needs to be stopped, stopped now before it is passed into law and stopped by all of us working together as a united and focused group.

You can sign the petition online here 

Further Reading

1. NZ Food Security site

'Warrantless searches of houses and marae for food and seeds, even with guns, are coming to NZ soon thanks to the Food Bill – unless you do something.

The following video shows a SWAT team raiding a health food store in California. The Food Bill paves the way for this to happen in NZ (yes, also with guns). This site deals with Solutions to this Very Big Problem. Please watch the video, listen to the audio, and read the text and comments. Thank you.'

2. You can also get an update from Sue Kedgley's blog.

Be sure to read the comments down the bottom of Sue's Blog as there is an interesting comment from one correspondent regarding his opinion of the true intention of the Bill towards organic and heirloom produce and seeds.  He sees the Food Bill as aiming directly at 'collapsing the organic portion of food consumed, and the seed stock that correlates to it and replacing it with GE / hybrid seed food with lower nutritional value that’s dependent on chemical fertilisers or initiators.'   From what is currently playing out in America, there is certainly merit in these comments so read further and decide for yourselves.  The article below is a case of David against Goliath.

3. Maine Town Declares Food 'Sovereignty'  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/03/maine-town-declares-food-sovereignty/

This article on Food Safety News.com is well worth a read as a reminder of the people's power at grass roots level so that we never lose sight of what we can all achieve when we work together in groups, no matter what size, in order to achieve our desired outcome.

4. You may also want to visit another site called Combat Monsanto that has a range of interesting articles and some video clips


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Misdemeanor Charges (93 days in jail) in Michigan for Growing Vegetables in Front Garden Raised Beds.
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Government Food Bill May Stop Seed Sharing and Home Growers Selling Produce

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