FTCLDF 2012 Summary, cont’d
Legislation & Public Policy / Fundraising & Outreach
The Fund provides consultation and serves as an information clearinghouse for those working on changes to their state and local laws, such as passing raw milk legislation or changing regulations governing food production. In addition to our direct work on such issues, the Fund also sends action alerts to its email subscribers letting them know how they can help pass (or fight) state and federal bills that affect them. Our active email list is an important resource for grassroots efforts for change.
State Level Activity
Some of the matters worked on in 2012 include consulting on a proposed Florida regulation regarding sales of eggs and on-farm processed poultry, a successful effort in Indiana to pass legislation expanding sales of on-farm processed poultry, and a raw milk bill in Montana. Other action on the state level included support for Proposition 37 in California, a ballot initiative requiring labeling of genetically-engineered food. Even though “Prop 37” failed to pass, it had significant support and has been a catalyst for similar measures across the country.
The policy work is ongoing and increasing. Fund General Counsel Gary Cox is part of a working group in California that is developing recommendations for the state legislature on an exemption from the California dairy code for “family cow” dairies selling raw milk. The Fund is also getting more requests for advice on the passage of food sovereignty laws at the state and local levels. Fund member Patti Chelseth recently led a successful effort to pass a food sovereignty ordinance in El Dorado County, California. The food sovereignty laws are a needed counterweight to the expanding federal jurisdiction over food regulation brought on by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Federal Level Activity
At the federal level, the Fund continues to work for legislation overturning the ban on raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce. During the past two congressional sessions, a bill has been introduced by Congressman Ron Paul that would effectively repeal the ban; Fund attorneys had worked on crafting the language in the bill. Thousands of supporters of the bill have signed on to a petition on the Fund’s website, generating faxes to supporters’ U.S. representatives and senators. In the 2011-2012 Congressional session, five representatives signed on to the bill as co-sponsors and Senator Rand Paul introduced a Senate companion bill. Congressman Ron Paul has now retired, but the Fund will work to have the bill re-introduced by another legislator this session.
Also at the federal agency level in the rulemaking process, the Fund was an active member of a coalition that succeeded in removing a number of onerous provisions from the USDA’s proposed animal ID regulations. The final rule was published January 9, 2013; the Fund will continue to monitor implementation of the new regulations. The Fund will also continue to monitor and submit commits on FDA’s implementation of the FSMA, which remains a threat to the local food system.
FUNDRAISING & OUTREACH IN 2012
Photo: courtesy Cathy Raymond, Benefactor Appreciation Event at Polyface
Fundraising Director Cathy Raymond successfully organized several major fundraising events that generated a lot of goodwill for the Fund. On July 7, the Fund celebrated its 5th Anniversary at the Maryland farm of Geoffrey Morrell and Fund board member Sally Fallon Morrell. It was fitting that this milestone was celebrated at their farm since Sally was the individual most responsible for its founding.
On September 8, the Fund held its fourth annual Benefactor ppreciation Event at Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia for those making donations during the annual fundraising drive. Each year, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) generously sends an appeal letter to its members on behalf of the Fund. The 2012 Appeal raised more funds than ever. We thank WAPF president, Sally Fallon Morell, for the many ways she continues to help the Fund. As always, it was a great opportunity for Fund board and staff to talk in person with some of the people whose generosity enables the Fund to carry out its work; we thank the Salatin family for their hospitality and an enjoyable event.
From November 8-11, the Fund held several FundRAISER breakfasts and a FundRAISER dinner during the WAPF’s Annual International Wise Traditions Conference in Santa Clara, California. The dinner featured delicious traditional foods, with an inspiring keynote by Mark Baker. The attendees also got to hear from Alvin Schlangen and some of the leaders of the effort to pass California’s Proposition 37–Pam Larry, Ronnie Cummings of the Organic Consumers Association, Steve Rye of Mercola.com, and Dave Murphy and Lisa Stokke of Food Democracy Now. These “Yes on Prop 37” leaders confirmed that the narrow defeat of the measure was not the end of the battle to make labeling of genetically modified food mandatory, but only the beginning.
Outreach & New Projects
Thanks to the work of Cathy Raymond, the Fund was represented at nearly ninety conferences last year by volunteers helping to spread the word about the Fund and its work. A highlight of the conference schedule was the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, which took place September 20-22 and had 15,000 attendees. Together with WAPF, the Fund co-sponsored a speakers stage featuring Joel Salatin, Elizabeth Rich, John Moody and David Gumpert, who spoke to packed crowds.
In the past year, the Fund revamped its website by integrating the “Food Rights News website”, a WordPress platform that enables the Fund to post content on food rights developments around the country in a simplified format. The Fund continues to send out its electronic digest to its email subscribers. In 2012 the Fund also started a podcast, the Food Rights Hour; in addition to listening online at the website, the podcast episodes are also available for download at iTunes.
The Fund continues to meet the needs of its growing membership which includes not only family farms but also the consumers and buyers club members who obtain foods from these farms as well as homesteaders and artisan food producers, many of whom source ingredients directly from the farm.