By the Gallon and By the Piece

by Bernadette Barber  

 If people were to be able to enter a processing facility, they could inspect for themselves what they wish to know about the foods they deem healthful or safe. On a smaller production scale, localized within a community, people have that ability to see where and by whom something was handcrafted for consumption. It would be for the benefit of all that we open these areas of production. The problem is there is no real economy of scale to support a federal or state inspector’s salary.  When one would sell only a dozen gallons of milk a week or a hundred pieces of beef or pork, there is no financial justification for a state or federal inspector, but considering that the processing operation is small enough and local enough for a buyer to inspect the dairy farm or butcher shop him or herself, is there a need for a third party inspector?

Right now the only way to purchase local milk or beef is to “own a piece of the cow,” live on the hoof. It’s kind of expensive. Cow-share operations are a legal arrangement to board a cow, but it gives you the opportunity to have your own milk. Buying a quarter or a half of a beef is pretty expensive if you live paycheck to paycheck. Many people cannot come up with the cost of a large chest freezer, have room for one, or have $500 to buy steaks from their local farmer. But those are the only options for the small farmer to arrange sales of his product.

It’s time we legalized Raw Milk sales and Virginia took back her control of Meat production from the Federal Government, so that we can rebuild our economy and save our farms, by the gallon and by the piece.

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