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Now that the vast majority of us have passed by Memorial Day with nothing more than a slacktivist Facebook update change to a tepid appreciation of the troops, let’s ask ourselves “what we do to value freedom in the US?” Is freedom just a buzzword for election season? How meaningful is it to speak of our freedom when we spend most of our time parroting whatever corporate monolith tells us we should? Does freedom mean choosing Coke over Pepsi, Pizza Hut over Papa Johns, Gucci over Coach, Chevy over Ford? Does freedom mean 100 channels of “reality tv?” I can choose to watch Real Housewives of NJ OR Real Housewives of Orange County! (I’m taking a stab at remembering what I’ve heard here, I don’t want to help their Google ratings by doing a search.)

What I’m driving at here, on this cynical morning, is that all the talk of freedom and wrapping ourselves in the flag is wasted if all we become are automatons, following our corporate overlords. Everyone seems well aware of the dangers of government posed by futurist George Orwell in 1984. But what about the vision in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? That is coming to fruition more directly every day, but the nature of that enslavement is more insidious, and it appears we welcome it.

Taking charge of your own food supply is, in 2013, one of the most radical, counter-cultural things you can do. Refusing to buy into the newspeak provided to us not by the government, but by agri-business, is political rebellion. (And OK, yes, the government too, through the FDA, but they are so directly controlled by Monsanto et al that it hardly earns the title “public sector” anymore.)

So it is with great glee that freedom loving people in the US should right now know this name

Vernon Hershberger

You don’t have to believe in the benefits of raw milk, or be a card-carrying member of the Weston A Price Foundation to support this man. You simply should know him if you believe in freedom. He is a soldier in the war on real food. He is one of the ground troops standing against the takeover of our most precious commodity by Wall St. pirates. He is putting his livelihood and personal stake on the line in a way that most of us would never consider doing, as we snobbishly browse the aisles of a whole foods, or local “health food store” with our reusable bags that make us feel so good about ourselves.

Anyway, score one for the little guy in the case of David v. Goliath. Last week, Vernon Hershberger was acquitted of 3 out of 4 charges in a jury trial that will set precedent in this country.

Read this account from the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Sentinel Journal. That’s a newspaper, not a biased advocacy site. But if you want to see what the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund has to say, check here. And there is even a dedicated website for just this trial.

I’m a little more hopeful when things like this happen. But without constant vigilance against the insanely powerful tide of agri-business money and flat out bribery of the people who have the ability to write policy, we will wake up one day and wonder what the heck happened?

I’ll leave off today with the words of the prophet Joel (Salatin) from chapter nine of his book The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.

Our Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine, just a few months before completing his term in office, came by our farm for a tour. Totally engaged and delightful, Kaine eventually asked me how I dealt with the industrial food system. After the whirlwind farm tour, he realized just how different this farm was from the ones he normally visited. He wondered how our farm held up, how we interacted, in such a hostile farming environment. 

Here is my answer: “Governor Kaine, Monsanto doesn’t scare me at all. And even though the Virginia Poultry Federation considers me a bio-terrorist because my chickens commingle with Red-Winged Blackbirds who supposedly take my diseases to the science-based environmentally-controlled Tyson chicken houses and threaten the world’s food supply, they don’t scare me. But they do dislike, even hate me. If what I do became normal once again, it would completely invert the power, prestige, and profits of the current food economy, from producer to retailer. 

      “But they can’t come after me with guns. All they can do is argue with me. And they know it. So they will use you, sir, to move their agenda forward. They will stroke you with wine and cheese dinners. They will give you money. They will give you honor and plaques and recognition. They will use you to terrorize me. Because you, sir, can send people with guns. 

    “At the end of the day, governor, you are the thin veil of protection between the industrial food agenda and me. You stand between me and annihilation. You and every other elected official must understand that it is your responsibility, your ministry, your number one job, is to defend righteousness against an evil agenda.”

     I implore, I beg, I plead with any elected official reading or hearing these words to understand the gravity of the situation. Never, ever, in human history have we had a food police to deny the populace normal food. Never. To swoop down on little cottage food industries with legal paperwork and litigation threats just because a letter on a label is bigger or smaller than some bureaucrat thinks it should be – this is not normal. It’s never been tried.

Those words were published in 2010. They are going to become more relevant every day.

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