This was a big week for us, CSA-wise. A great final meat share from Clarion River Organics and our next-to-the-last produce share from Kretschmann Family Organic Farm.
I usually take photos and gush about all the goodness that we are so blessed to have. But I'm not posting them until next week. Why? Because if the proposed rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act go into effect unchanged, as currently written? There might not be any more Real Life CSA posts. There might be many less small farms, community supported agriculture programs. The farms in our community that we have come to love would have their viability threatened, and who knows how many shares they could support, if any?
There wouldn't be any photos of organic greens, because the compost restrictions would make it hard to grow those locally. We wouldn't benefit from the years of accumulated agricultural knowledge that our farmers carry, because they'd be told to sanitize, sterilize and modernize, with no regard for what that actually means on a practical level. The restrictions on wildlife encroaching on crops? Have these people BEEN to Pennsylvania? Do they think deer will respect property lines?
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review featured Don Kretschmann, the owner of our produce CSA, in an article yesterday that shows you in photos how his farm is threatened by these FSMA rules. Read it.
Both of our CSAs have spoken up about how it would affect them. Read about it here and here. These are not groups that are typically outspoken about their political views. They're too busy planting things and harvesting things. But it was important enough for them to take time out to speak up, and we owe them a few minutes of our time to comment in support.
I know I have mentioned this issue and the importance of commenting on these rules many times over the last couple months, and I've tweeted about it a lot too. Here's the thing. Being a CSA subscriber is a great joy for us - and that's not hyperbole. It's a privilege to be able to source such wonderful food locally - one that we don't take for granted. I might not know the technical ins and outs of farming and I'm no food policy expert. I'm just a normal consumer that can't imagine a summer, or a winter for that matter, without my local farms.
Americans love to complain about our government. I think we can be disillusioned with the democratic process sometimes, feeling voiceless in the face of what feels like so many things we can't change. But this is a chance to participate and to use your voice. All the things they taught you in elementary school about government? This is where it comes alive.
For more information on how to comment, TODAY, before it's too late, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's FSMA section here.