Maine Town Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty | Sustainable Cities Collective

The town of Sedgwick, Maine, population 1,012 (according to the 2000 census), has become the first town in the United States to pass a Food Sovereignty ordinance. In doing so, the town declared their right to produce and sell local foods of their choosing, without the oversight of State or federal regulation.

What does this mean? In the debate over raw milk, for example, the law opens the gate for consumer and producer to enter a purchasing agreement without interference from state or federal health regulators. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 1987 FDA regulation required that all milk be pasteurized to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. The Sedgwick ordinance declares that:

Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the food is sold for home consumption. This includes any producer or processor who sells his or her products at farmers’ markets or roadside stands; sells his or her products through farm-based sales directly to a patron; or delivers his or her products directly to patrons.

via Maine Town Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty | Sustainable Cities Collective.

Nice to see that people aren’t going down without a fight somewhere.


2 Responses to “Maine Town Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty | Sustainable Cities Collective”

  1. While I am still concerned about food safety – one assumes there’s local oversight? I am very pleased. Here on the opposite coast we have a dream known as Cascadia. Their website: The Ecotopia books share a similar vision.
    Locally grown, organic is the way to go whenever possible.

    • Of COURSE food safety is a concern, but there’s nothing stopping people from only shopping at the big name supermarkets, looking for foods with FDA approved status. Seals of approval, rather than regulation, have worked wonderfully in other markets (electronics come to mind), allowing people to get the safe and tested options, but also allowing them to have the choice to take risks for whatever personal reasons they may have, which really is the essence of freedom in the first place. My one real concern would be more in the realm of communicable diseases, but considering how little we do to control them in the rest of our societal practices (how many people do you know that actually call in sick without pay every time they have cold or flu symptoms and avoid going into crowded areas?), I think that this would be a poor choice of an area on which to focus a crackdown.

      And, I can see how people may be concerned primarily with kids (kids always make EVERYTHING more complicated), and frankly I don’t have any easy answer here, other than that if a doctor asserts that a child is experiencing symptoms directly related to unapproved foods, their guardians should be then compelled to switch them to approved (or at least doctor recommended) foods. It’s a bit of a compromise, and I’m sure not everyone would agree with it as a solution, but it seems to be the one way to balance the freedom of the parent to raise their child with the state’s role of keeping children safe from abusive or negligent parents/guardians.

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