by Kristen Michaelis
Sedgwick, Maine has done what no other town in the United States has done. The town unanimously passed an ordinance giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.” This includes raw milk, locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can imagine. It’s also a decided bucking of state and federal laws.
From David Gumpert’s coverage:
This isn’t just a declaration of preference. The proposed warrant added, “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.” In other words, no state licensing requirements prohibiting certain farms from selling dairy products or producing their own chickens for sale to other citizens in the town.
What about potential legal liability and state or federal inspections? It’s all up to the seller and buyer to negotiate. “Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.” Imagine that–buyer and seller can agree to cut out the lawyers. That’s almost un-American, isn’t it?
I applaud the residents of Sedgwick for making such a bold stand. Three other Maine towns are also slotted to vote on a similar ordinance in the coming weeks.
I wonder, though, about how enforceable such a law is if the state or federal government chose to challenge it. In response to a similar question, Edwin Shank (of Your Family Cow) commented on Gumpert’s post:
“I’m not one of the “lawyers here” but my observation is that when the local law chooses to prohibit more than the rest of the state, nation or organization they will usually get by with it. It is when local law moves to allow more latitude that the trouble starts.”
For example, I can imagine that if a county in PA would take a Humbolt CA position on raw milk, the state would take an it’s-up-to-them position. But if local law in an area moved to allow raw butter, cream, kefir & yogurt… I’m sure it would not get to first base.
Still, I say Kudos to the fine folks of Sedgwick Maine. Their common sense bravery warms the heart of every awake American. If nothing else, their move will bring the ridiculousness of the situation to the consciousness of another percent or so of Americans. One American at a time the tipping point will be reached.
See original article HERE