Blog: Chef Jemichel ~ The Chef-Doctor
by chef jem

Protect Your Right To Grow And Consume Your Own Food

Right to Grow Campaign - Targeting: The Governor of California, The California State Senate, The California State House,

Date:   11/11/2010 8:16:23 PM   ( 11 y ) ... viewed 10331 times

"I'm supporting PPC Los Angeles, a community supported social enterprise and innovator in urban agriculture that facilitates the development of "community supported gardens" and advocate for modern, community-based solutions to food insecurity and sustainable food systems. We're petitioning you to change the existing legislation and protect our right to grow and consume our own food, be self-reliant Americans and live a sustainable lifestyle.

Food insecurity in a community affects all of us; if one person suffers from food insecurity, the whole community is at risk. Food insecurity isn't limited to neighborhoods of lower-income nor is it just limited to a group of people. Food insecurity is an extremely complex social issue that will take the efforts of all of us to manage and hopefully eradicate. Helping families meet their nutritional needs is not only the best way to ensure that all Californians participate in the economy, the political system and society; it is also a moral obligation of lawmakers, municipalities and the state. Join us and our partners in our campaign against food insecurity. Currently there is no local, state or national law protecting an individual's right to cultivate food on their property or at their dwelling. What this means is that the ability to grow your own food and be self-reliant, a fundamental American trait, or to garden period for their own consumption, has been left to the discretion of few and not the many (property owners and their arrangements with their tenants, Home Owners Association bylaws that are driven by uniformed aesthetics and energy wasting practices, or neighborhood council groups with a common misunderstanding or deficiency in knowledge when it comes to food cultivation and its benefits). Essentially there is no protection whatsoever for anyone seeking to be self-reliant, live sustainably and in a manner that is congruent with the nation's efforts to "GREEN" itself.

Many families and individuals can already scarcely afford wholesome food. Being able to grow their own would help them save on living expenses and grant access to good, nutritious food that would otherwise not be made available to them. No one should be prevented or discouraged from taking charge of such an essential aspect of their life. We believe that the right to food is a basic human right; however our laws do not reflect this value. No man or woman should have to seek consent from another to access nourishing, healthful food through their own means and ingenuity. Laws that restrict people's freedom to use their property and residential land for cultivating food for oneself, food donation for the needy or for educational purposes should be removed and/or modified. Self-reliance has always been an esteemed American value. Practicing food cultivation in urban or rural settings should not be a matter of obtaining consent to grow. With sky rocking food costs, concerns about food safety, factory and commercial farming, sustainability and people's general concern with having control over where their food comes from, formulating and enacting law(s) that would protect people's right to food and accessing good food is crucial.

Senate bill S.510 has the potential to have a devastating impact on our right to food. Congress is likely to pick up Senate Bill S.510, a sweeping overhaul of food safety regulation, in the lame duck session starting this month, November 2010. What this bill may do is create statutory authority for the FDA to come up with regulations gov­ern­ing all as­pects of food production and processing; whether or not it will affect a home gar­den or a farmer’s mar­ket is not clear or evident as of yet; and we prob­a­bly will not see anything im­me­di­ate­ly affect­ing these things, but once they come up with regulations and start enforcing we could see a disruption in any­thing from farmer's mar­kets to a child's lemonade stand. S.510 does exempt small farm­ers and restaurants from some of the FDA's proposed new regulatory authority. However, the scope of the final regulations will not be known until the law is enacted and the FDA completes the rule-making pro­cess, which means the FDA could impact small farmers, restaurants and other establishments. This new bill will give the FDA, and agency already with out of date policies, basically uncontrolled powers. And with the FDA already stepping on small farm and local food operations, it is likely we can expect impacts within communities nationwide.

Concurrently, the Michigan Right to Farm Act (1981) insulated farmers from nuisance lawsuits and generally protects those who grow and sell their own food. In September 2010, House bill 6458 was initiated to expressly exclude "urban farmers" from the Right to Farm Act. This legislation would impact communities with more than 1,000,000 residents such as Detroit and surrounding areas, communities full of poor and working-class people. Interestingly enough, this promoted PPC Los Angeles to investigate the new ordinance updated July 2010 by LA City Council; you may know it as the Flower & Fruit Freedom act, but specifically it is the draft of ordinance amending sections 12.03, 12.04.09, 12.05, 12.06, 12.07,,12.07.1,12.08,12.09.3, and 12.17~5 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to clarify "Truck Gardening and Farming Uses" within city limits. PPC investigated this modification to the outdated ordinances and found it to be completely useless when it comes to protecting people’s right to food. The ordinance simply provides scenarios or a framework for the city to permit truck gardening again or local urban agriculturalist and homesteaders the ability to operate farming on their property or at their dwelling, but does not explicitly protect them or give us rights to grow or access food through their own means.

Needless to say dear representative we're angry about all of these matters, as an attack on anyone's food security is an attack on us all. We are demanding you take immediate action in protecting constituents such as me by changing and / or updating laws which will give us the right to grow and consume our own food.


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