The War on Self-Sufficiency continues, and this week’s victims are small backyard farmers in Michigan.
The “right to farm” in that state no longer exists for those who live on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property. This means that the folks who have a couple of goats, chickens, beehives, or rabbits living harmoniously in their suburban backyards are at the mercy of their local governments and their neighbors. The “right to farm” laws that are on the books originally came about when city dwellers moved to the country and complained about their rural surroundings – things like smells and animal noises. However, the law has protected many people since then who just want some freedom from the system, whether they have a couple of acres or a suburban backyard.
The issue here is that those of us who supply as much of our own food as possible are a threat to Big Agri.
Michigan Sierra Club Chapter Assistant Director Gail Philbin [said] Tuesday that she believes the action will “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.”
“The Michigan Agriculture Commission passed up an opportunity to support one of the hottest trends in food in Michigan–public demand for access to more local, healthy, sustainable food,” Philbin said via e-mail Tuesday.
“The commission is essentially taking sides in the marketplace, ” she said.
She credited commissioners with listening thoughtfully to dozens of people who commented in opposition of the changes.
“However, in the end,” she said, “the commission made only minor modifications to the rules that, for the most part, won’t change the reality facing the growing number of citizens around the state who seek some control over the quality of what they feed their families.
She said the changes favor large farming operations and leave thousands of people who simply want to grow their own food “to fend for themselves.” (source)
Many Michigan residents are unhappy with the ruling. The Inquistor reports:
Kim White, who raises chickens and rabbits, said, “They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.”
…Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is the six and a half acre home to 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. The small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry. “We produce food with integrity,” Randy Buchler told The Blaze about Shady Grove Farm. “Everything we do here is 100 percent natural – we like to say it’s beyond organic. We take a lot of pride and care in what we’re doing here.” Shady Grove Farm was doing its part to bring healthy, local, organic food to the tables of Gwinn residents, and it mirrors the attitudes of hundreds of other small farming operations in Michigan and thousands of others popping up around the nation.
…“Farm Bureau has become another special interest beholden to big business and out of touch with small farmers, and constitutional and property rights of the little guy,” Pine Hallow Farms wrote to the Michigan Small Farm Council. (source)
This is not Michigan’s first attack on those who defy Big Agri. Back in 2012, a farmer had his heritage pigs declared an “invasive species” and was ordered to have them destroyed, even though his family had been raising that same breed for generations.
Little by little, more people are becoming aware of the horrors in industrial agriculture. We don’t want to ingest hormones and antibiotics secondhand. We realize that whatever the animal has been fed, we are also being fed, so we don’t want to eat eggs that come from chickens fed GMO corn. We understand that the horrible cruelty in which factory-farmed animals are raised certainly does not result in a healthy meat product in the styrofoam package. We know that the only way you can know for sure what you are getting is to raise it yourself.
Corporate interests can’t have that, of course. They need folks to be blind and deaf to the atrocities they commit, or, at the very least, be unable to have the option to refuse to purchase the harvests of such atrocities.
Independence from the system is not just frowned on, it’s quashed completely. Welcome to your life in the Era of Agenda 21.