Sam and I have recently had an awesome time helping out Tammi and Stuart from Jonai Farm, to get ready for the Legal Defence Fund fundraiser featuring Joel Salatin (permaculture royalty) on the 26th of Feb.
We’ve been busy finishing the build on Belvedere, weeding, and replanting the garden beds, preparing food and mostly enjoying everyones company.
The Legal Defence Fund (LDF) was established to defend and promote the right of producers to grow, process and sell ecologically-sound and ethical food directly to eaters, and to protect everybody’s right to access local, ethical, nutritious and delicious food directly from farmers.
Every time we come to Jonai Farm we just love the atmosphere, sitting together at a big dinner table filled with an amazing spread of some of the most delicious food we have ever had.
We are very glad we were able to help out, and to be there on the day. The event was about raising money for the Legal Defence Fund, to support small scale producers with legal aid and to work towards getting laws regarding our food system finally changed. It was also about people coming together, and being inspired by Joel and other small scale farmers sharing their heartbreaking story’s.
Food producers are copping the full brunt of abuse of power by regulators.
The issues include:
- Communities who want access to raw milk from local dairies;
- Farms processing on-farm, facing unfair and inconsistent regulation;
- Outdated and illogical definitions in local planning schemes that protect industrial agriculture, while perversely punishing small-scale family farms.
Over the last few years lots of small farmers have lost their business, have been shut down by the heath department over trivial technicalities, and even had to appear before court for no just reason.
Obviously, this should not be happening. The law and regulations are not designed for small scale ethical farmers who actually give a shit and want to do the right thing, by providing us with nutrient dense, chemical free and ethically produced meat, milk, eggs and veggies.
The current system however, is designed to support our duopoly of supermarket chains, pharma industries and chemical companies to sell their products at any means necessary.
These laws are made by politicians, but the agricultural minister is not a farmer. He has no idea how small farms work, and gets lobbied in order to encourage him to change the law. Canberra currently has over 6000 payed lobbyist. Who has the money to pay them to lobby the politician to change or make a law? Only those companies who will make a large profit from that change. In a nutshell, thats how it works, with various degrees of underhandedness I’m sure. The more big business can limit the rights of small producers to operate and sell direct to the customer, through unjust regulation, the more of the market share they can control to sell us crap food for record profit.
All that aside, the upside is that we got to meet an amazing bunch of people, and heard the stories of farmers who are still fighting the system and they need all the support they can get!
Tammi and Stuart from Jonai Farm.
About 2 years ago Prime Safe (meat regulator in Vic) due to allowing salami workshop patrons to take home what they made themselves, came unannounced onto Jonai Farm and destroyed all the salami that was hanging up in the salami shed, salami that was not for sale, their personal supply. Jonai asked them if that means that they could just go into their fridge and destroy their food in there as well? The answer they received was, “If we see fit to, yes”
Antonia and Joe from Elgaar.
Elgaar farm has been shut down for over 2 years by the regulator without one single safety food incident. Through crowed funding and help from the community they were able to survive.
About 1.5 years before Elgaar was shut down by the TDA (Tasmanian Dairy Authority), through self sampling, they found raised phosphatase levels in their test. Phosphatase is an enzyme that gets destroyed in milk when you pasteurise it.
So they wrote to the TDA and asked them what they should do. The TDA responded with: “ You should not bother with it, because the Phosphatase rebuilds in fatty dairy products again.”
When the TDA came gunning for Elgaar a year and a half later, Antonia and Joe took this email and showed it to the inspectors. “Look here is your own advice you gave us about the raised phosphatase.” They responded, the TDA can’t give advice, we are a inspecting authority, and if we did give advise, that advice was not justified.”
Mark and Helen form Moo View
Moo View had their farm gates closed on their herd share operation, providing raw milk to their herd share community, who technically own the cows, while Mark and Helen milk and care for the heard on their behalf.
After the shutdown, Mark continued to supply raw milk to the heard owners, but stopped charging the cow boarding and milking fee. He rang the director of public health, and asked if he would have a problem with them giving raw milk away. His response was “No, we don’t have a problem with you giving away raw milk for human consumption, but we would have a problem if you’re seen to be making a living out of it” Thats just more proof the raw milk issue is all about market control and profits, and not about public health as we are lead to believe.
Joe, Andrew and Jess from Happy Valley free range pig farm.
This is a very sad story about a family who got forced into giving up their family farm, and starting all over again.
They were forced from their land because they were classified as an intensive farming operation, and were not zoned accordingly. They had about 50 pigs on 22 acres, but because they were bringing in some feed they were unfairly classified as intensive farmers.
I have been asking myself so many questions, which seem so absurd, is it not obvious?
Why is it legal to sell products containing massive, unnecessary amounts refined sugar, artificial colours, msg (sneakily labelled as yeast extract), gmo (modified) cornstarch, preservatives, E-numbers,…..but not milk in its raw and natural form?
Why is it legal to sell supermarket meat filled with preservatives, nitrates and chlorine, that come from an inhumane and stressful feedlot environment, but and not dry aged cured meat?
Why is it that even if you educate people about where the food comes from and how it is produced, they still don’t make any changes?
Is it just laziness, convenience or ignorance?
It is time to make a change in our food system. Stop buying from supermarkets who dictate standards to the farmers based on profitability, and please stop buying pre packaged, processed food. Buy your weekly supply direct from farmers markets, order a veggie box from your organic farmer, find out where you can purchase ethically produced meat straight from the farm, become a csa (community supported agriculture) member, support small scale farmers and stock up on pastured eggs.
Educate yourself, share that knowledge, tell your family and friends that together we can make this change happen.
Let’s change our eating habits, let’s change our food system and let’s change the laws!
Wan’t to know more check out these links: