Wyoming Defeats, Georgia Introduces Food Freedom Act
by Rady Ananda
On Tuesday, by a vote of 5–4, agriculture committee members rejected the Wyoming Food Freedom Act which would have exempted some food products from government inspections and would have encouraged the sale and consumption of homemade foods.
Sue Wallis, who introduced the measure, told the Billings Gazette its defeat was “disappointing.”
Georgia, however, will consider two bills to protect food freedom, introduced by Cobb County Rep. Bobby Franklin. H.B. 12, the Georgia Food Freedom Act, exempts from regulation direct farm to consumer products as long as they are “unprocessed” which is defined as those “that have not been shelled, canned, cooked, fermented, distilled, preserved, ground, crushed, or slaughtered.”
Franklin also introduced H.B. 2, Georgia Right to Grow Act, which bans localities from prohibiting or requiring a permit “for the growing or raising of food crops or chickens, rabbits, or milk goats in home gardens, coops, or pens on private residential property so long as such food crops or animals or the products thereof are used for human consumption by the occupant of such property and members of his or her household and not for commercial purposes.”
This sort of legislation will stem local abuse against small growers like Steve Miller who was fined $5,200 for growing too many vegetables in his two-acre garden in Clarkston, last year. Billing itself as the “greenest county in America,” DeKalb County has set a 2011 court date for Miller’s organic garden, according to a recent update by Georgia Insight. Organic gardening has been Miller’s hobby for 15 years. Though he sells some produce at local farmers markets, he gives most of the food to neighbors.
This follows a recent civic Resolution for Food Sovereignty in Vermont filed publicly in response to passage of the federal food control bill known as the Food Safety Modernization Act.