Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

We The People Exercise Our Right To Eat Local Food

Three towns in Maine have passed ordinances that say local food sales can be independent of federal regulation.

Fresh Eggs

Photo: mollypop (flickr)

Maine farmers and food producers say that the 10th Amendment protects their right to sell food locally without complying with Federal restrictions.

Deregulation Of The Local Food Industry

This month, three Maine towns – Sedgwick, Penobscot, and Blue Hill – have passed Food Freedom ordinances which declare that the Federal food laws do not apply to the towns’ local food practices.

Sedgwick’s Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance serves as a model for other communities that are looking to deregulate their local food industries. According to the unanimously passed document:

We, the People of the Town of Sedgwick, Hancock County, Maine, have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions.

The ordinance says that they can do this without following Federal rules that apply to foods shipped around the state and country.

Constitutional Rights

Supporters of the bill say that the Food Freedom ordinance is protected by Maine’s Constitution as well as the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 10th Amendment declares that the federal government may not exert any power not specifically granted by the Constitution.

These Maine residents feel that local food production and sales do not fall within the Federal government’s jurisdiction, and that the deregulation of local food systems is a constitutional right. They continue that by allowing local food trade to be free of governmental restrictions, small farmers and people making food out of their homes will be able to provide nutritious, healthy, high-quality food to other local residents without having to jump through prohibitive and costly amounts of governmental licensing and inspection.

The most immediately noticeable effects of the ordinance will likely be found in farmers markets and out-of-home food sales, as well as local sales of controversial foods like raw milk.

Pandora’s Box?

However, the Nonprofit Quarterly warns that “local efforts to override state and federal policies can cut like a two edged sword, undermining locally unpopular but nationally vetted goals.”

This ordinance may go against provisions of the recently passed Food Safety Bill that seeks to protect consumers from food-borne illnesses. It may even pave the way for towns to abolish other non-food related federal controversial legislation that aims to protect citizens.

Read More:

Julie Rooney

Julie Rooney is a vegetarian, musician, and artist who primarily works in video and new media. Currently she is the director of Low Road Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery located in Greencastle, Indiana.

View all posts by this author »

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good for Maine. Hopefully this will be the starting point for other states to follow suit.

  • http://profiles.google.com/clockworkringmaster Louisa Smith

    Good for them- but have they defined what local is for the purposes of this legislation?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q3CJPVHPJMI2G45HEYAJW7UJIA Steve Waugh

    Hello guys!!
    Thanks for making us aware about such kind of sensitive news. I really liked the way in which you have been shared with us the above information. Keep it up……..!!!
    Bicycle Hire Devon

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media