Cannabis and veggies side by side

Food sovereignty — The core question is one of responsibility. Just how much of my own person am I? The USDA explicitly states that as an agency it considers consumers too ill-informed and removed from their food to be able to decide for themselves what is good and what isn’t on every level.

I find it absurd that the government makes a blanket declaration that lumps all people together and doesn’t allow folks to opt out. If I want to raise products from my farm, and people want to buy them from me, this seems like a fundamental human right.

This isn’t in the Constitution because it doesn’t have to be. It’s supposed to be so basic that we don’t have to think about them. If two parties want to enter into a contract of any sorts, what business is it of the government? If I have vegetables, or meat, or reefer that someone wants to buy from me, why shouldn’t I be able to sell it?

A Good Reputation vs. The Government Sticker of Approval

In a free market, my reputation and the way I do business will define whether or not I make money and whether my operation grows or flounders. In a smaller, local-based economy (especially with the ease of communication nowadays), reputation carries the necessary weight and a government sticker is either a formality of a hindrance.

Successful lobbying has more or less criminalized the way Americans lived when this country was founded.

The government sticker is what creates the fallacy of standardized quality in a mass-produced, packaged, one-size-fits-all world. Government stamps don’t mean anything about the scruples of the business owner.

By attempting to legislate morality, we create an uneven playing field and pave the way for manipulation of the system by the biggest players. The government has no business trying to tell me what I can or can’t put in my body. That’s my fundamental human sovereignty, especially when it comes to food.

If I want to buy milk from my neighbor and my neighbor wants to sell it to me, enough said. If I want to buy COMPANY XYZ milk from SUPERMARKET ABC, then sure, it makes sense that it should be USDA stamped accordingly. Because I don’t actually know XYZ, it makes sense to have safeguards against faceless corporate abuse.

The absurdity begins when you allow big agribusiness to make the argument that it’s only fair that small farms face the same regulations that big ones do. This naked self-interest grab has gotten remarkable traction, and successful lobbying has more or less criminalized the way Americans lived when this country was founded.

As a small producer, if I need a huge processing facility to sell packages of meat to my neighbor, I’m never likely to jump the hurdle and get into business. This is inherently beneficial to the big meat monopoly because it squishes upstart competition and makes the populace as a whole more dependent on the poor-quality, grain-CAFO-mass-production system.

Making real food is a beautiful process from seed to pan to plate.

Over the last century, one at a time, corporate interests have taken the good things from us and replaced them with poor imitations. Skim milk and low-fat, high-carb government policies have fattened and poisoned the populace while depriving us of fat, the most crucial, basic element of all. We’re hardwired to process nutrient dense fats (especially animal fats) and run well on them.

The error our culture made in attempting to strip fats from the diet — fats don’t store well so processors need them out to make the not-food they sell on store shelves last. We’ve decided to cut fat off steaks, not eat lard, eat margarine instead of butter and we fortify our processed products with vitamins because the processing strips nutrient value from the “product.”

We eat “products”, not “food.” We need to stop buying “convenience foods,” which are actually just adulterated versions of original comfort foods that were genuinely worth the preparation time. Making real food is a beautiful process from seed to pan to plate — food culture has defined human history.

Don’t miss Part 2 next week!

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Casey is a CSA farmer who runs a micro-diversified farm in northern Mendocino County, California. His family raises approximately two acres of Clean Green Certified vegetables, poultry and medical cannabis in a small-farm setting while working towards sustainability. He is a self-described “weed geek” and is passionate about sharing food, medicine and cultivation techniques with others. He is passionate about representing small farmers as a Board Chair of the California Growers Association and as a voice in the legalization and functional regulation movement.


  1. The time has come for small diversified farmers to be able to ply their trade in peace, paying revenue to the government like any other business entity, and receiving the protection of said government, instead of harassment. Thanks, Casey.

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