Monthly Archives: December 2014

Our Segment on Fox & Friends

By Matthew French – www.virginiafoodfreedom.org

Video link below

On Sunday morning Bernadette Barber was on Fox & Friends Weekend to talk about the Virginia Food Freedom Act (HB 1290) and she took a sweet potato pie with her. She has done a great job representing the idea and spirit of the legislation.

One of the great comments she made was that this bill was not just for farmers.

“This is not just for farmers, this is for everyone in Virginia. People that live in apartments, in cities, in the suburbs; whatever you can make in your kitchen that your neighbors and family and friends would like to purchase, as long as you have that label on there it’s a legal sale. This will revolutionize the food scape in Virginia.”

I believe this is an aspect of the bill that needs to be made more well known. Folks who are living in the innercity and struggling to make ends meet could add to their income by preparing home cooked meals for sale. And who knows, they could end up with their own cooking show on T.V. Don’t laugh, it has happened before.

You can watch the full two and half minute video by clicking below. I hope you will share this video with your friends. We need to pass the Virginia Food Freedom Act and to do that we need as many people to see this as possible.

Question: Are you ready to see this bill signed by the Governor?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Matthew French is a farmer in southwest Virginia. He and his family operate their 200 year old farm where they raise pastured poultry, free-range pigs, grass-fed lamb and a variety of vegetables. You can find more from him at www.thefrenchfamilyfarm.com

The Christmas Season Is Upon Us

By Bernadette Barber – www.virginiafoodfreedom.org With the Christmas season upon us, many of us reflect on the poor and hungry.  It is the Christ like thing to do.  It is a charitable thing to do.  If you are reading this, you probably own a computer and live in a warm home.  Many Virginians don’t and they  live in poverty with hunger at every turn. You can change that forever, not by giving money to the next food charity who asks for a IMG_0152.JPGdonation,  but by making one phone call, to your delegate  and ask him or her to  co-patron –  HB1290  the Virginia Food Freedom Act. This bill will alleviate poverty and hunger.  It will benefit the health of all.   We need freedom.

Our most vulnerable are children of single mothers.  Many single mothers have access to a kitchen, they are feeding themselves.  Many of them would like the opportunity to make foods they can sell to their friends and neighbors, but the regulatory environment prevents it.  Passage of HB1290 would change their lives overnight- and allow them to create a home-based business where they could still take care of their children and make a living.

The elderly are the next most vulnerable to poverty and hunger.  Many of them have the knowledge and skills to make good healthful traditional foods.  They can not only feed themselves, but feed their neighbors as well,  taking a strike at poverty and hunger with one fell swoop. Many of them grew up with that freedom.  Its time we gave it back to them. How empowering would that be to our senior citizens?   We owe it to them.  Ask yourself, would you like to be on the receiving end of charity or be in a position to care for yourself and others?

We can rebuild our communities- one bite at a time- by passing the Virginia Food Freedom Act. You may not know it but unless a government agent comes to your home, most foods are illegal to sell in VA.  Especially that “Potentially Hazardous”  Christmas favorite-  Pumpkin Pie. Its time we change all that and light up our legislators phones like a Christmas tree….  Ask them to co-patron the Virginia Food Freedom Act HB1290. The most important representatives you have are the 22 members  on the Agricultural Committee, especially the 8 on the Agricultural subcommittee- they have the power to kill the bill- they are the gate keepers.   You can find a complete list of all the contact information here online and below.  THEY are YOUR representatives regarding food and farm issues.  It does not matter if your district representative is not on that board; those members serve the WHOLE state for food and farm issues.  The list of the Agriculture committee is attached.  The members on the subcommittee are written in bold, they need to be called first.  The one with the asterisk , Tommy Wright,  has already co-patroned the bill and needs thank you notes.  He is up against Goliath for doing so, and we need to show him  our support. Lets tell the state of VA, no more hunger  games this Christmas, or any other Christmas.  Lets pass house bill 1290

Delegate Name, Party affiliation, district number, e-mail address,  capitol switchboard phone number, district phone number  

Del. Ed Scott ( R) District 30  delescott@house.virginia.gov     804-698- 1030    540-825-6400

Del.Lee Ware (R)65 dellware@house.virginia.gov  804-698-1065 804-598-6696

*Del. Thomas C. Wright (R)61 delTwright@house.virginia.gov  804-698-1061 434-696-3061

Del. Bobby Orrock (R)54  DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1054 or 540-891-1322

Del Danny Marshall R14 deldmarshall@house.virginia.gov  804-698-1014 434-797-5861

DelCharles PoindexterR9 delcpoindexter@house.virginia.gov  804-698-1009 540-576-2600

Del. Barry Knight R81 delbknight@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1081  757-426-6387

Del. James Edmunds R60 delJedmunds@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1060  434-476-0077

Del. Tony Wilt (R) District 26  deltwilt@house.virginia.gov   804-698-1026 or 540-437-1450

Del. Will Morefield (R) 3 deljmorefield@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1003 or 276-345-4300

Del. Michael Webert R18 delmwebert@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1018 or 540-999-8218

Del. Margaret Ransone R99 delmransone@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1099 or 804-472-4181

Del.Matthew Fariss R59 delmfariss@house.virginia.gov     804-698-1059 or 434-821-5929

Del. Jackson Miller R50 deljmiller@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1050 or 703-244-6172

Del. Robert Bloxom R100  delrbloxom@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1000 or 757-824-3456

Del. Kenneth Plum D36  delkplum@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1036 or 703-758-9733

Del. David Bulova D37 deldbulova@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1037 or 703-310-6752

Del. Mark Sickles D43 delmsickles@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1043 or 703-922- 6440

Del. Matthew James D80 delmjames@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1080 or 757-967-7583

Del. Luke Torian D52 delltorian@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1052 or 703-785-2224

Del. Mark Keam D 35 delmkeam@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1035 or 703-350-3911

Del. Alphonso Lopez (D) 49 delAlopez@house.virginia.gov 804-698-1049 or 571-336-2147

Bernadette Barber and her husband Gary own and operate Tall Trees Farm in the Northern Neck. They view themselves as stewards of God’s green earth and conduct their farm in that light. Following the design of creation their cattle graze in lust verdant pastures; their hogs roam freely in the woods; their chickens and turkeys chase bugs and aerate the soil. She picked up her love for farming from her father who beat leukemia with an organic garden.

GMO’s Roasting on an Open Fire…

By Dwayne McIntyre

For the past few days, I have caught wind of a Washington Post article circulating around the social media circles.  Its title, Unearthed: Thanks to science we may see the rebirth of the American Chestnut. Its subheading, “Scientists are breeding a blight resistant variety, and its everything other GMOs aren’t.”  I have seen a lot

By wwarby

By wwarby

of excitement from fellow farmers, naturalists and normally anti-GMO advocates expressing their pleasure for such good news, and as the article articulates, there is such a romantic idea of bringing back the great American chestnut.

For those who don’t already know, the American chestnut tree was a prolific timber and food tree up until the early 1900’s and was wiped out almost completely by a blight that came here on the more inferior Chinese chestnut tree we tried to introduce to our country.  All the chestnuts you eat today are from those trees from China.  The article cites 3-4 billion trees gone overnight, which is an apocalyptic tragedy comparable to that of the Truffula trees, so it’s easy to just guess how devastating this loss was.

Immediately it feels important to point out that the article is talking about GMO chestnut trees, more specifically chestnut genomes genetically modified with genes from wheat.  Sounds harmless, right?  At least it’s not spliced with toxic pesticides and herbicides.

The immediate curiosity that comes to mind is, are we against GMOs because they are unnatural and potentially dangerous in the long term, or is it just when its spliced with things foreign to our palette and the lack of any real long term research isn’t really as important when “it’s everything other GMOs aren’t? “

Regardless the writer of this article opens up with a great walk down memory lane of what it was like back when America reveled in the bounty of such a wonderful natural blessing of an innate food supply, like the chestnut, available to anyone and everyone.  I even have to agree, our fore generations had quite a blessed abundance from these trees.  The idea of having again “a readily available supply of high-quality, good-tasting food, growing out there in the woods contributing to a wholesome, healthful diet” makes me want to believe that this new Frankenstein genome will deliver. Can it? Will these scientists, the writer thinks we need to thank, deliver us this lost Promised Land once again?

First off it’s GMO, so the nutritional stats and romance with real actual chestnuts will not be what we’re going to get from the GMO version. I can’t name one GMO variety of anything that is nutritionally equal or superior to its real counterpart.  In fact, GMO foods are so synthetically grown (denser plots, sprayed toxins, liquid sewage fertilizer, etc.) they usually don’t carry any nutritional value at all. Sure we might see a lot of unaffordable furniture stores popping up everywhere with a lot of nice product putting ma and pa out of business, but cheap chestnuts from the store, probably in boxes in every aisle, might not be as romantic as pen and paper can delude.

Take corn for instance.  Genetically modified with the intent of saving a starving world with an abundance of good healthy food, yet almost immediately became the most subsidized, overabundant, nutritionally empty Franken food out there, in every aisle of the supermarket, in almost every box, driven by a profit model that has put virtually 75%, if not more, of all small farms out of business.  But don’t worry, as the article suggests, the chestnut trees will be different.  We will have our healthy utopia once again.

Its total naivety to think that designer GMO Chestnuts aren’t going to be exploited for profit, especially after explaining in great detail in the article how exquisite chestnut timber is and how one mature tree produces a half a ton of nuts. That sounds like an exact recipe for exploitation.  The timber and food markets will capitalize on its overabundant output levels which will launch demands for the trees way above the Johnny Appleseed levels of frolicking in the forests and repopulating the countryside so all the folks of the land can have their fill of free “healthy” food.   So easy we buy the dream, cast all our convictions aside, and pretend this new American wheatnut tree won’t come with a patent.

Honestly, the more I think about this article the more I think the American chestnut is the mascot for the great American Tragedy.

America was the great Promised Land loaded with a bounty of blessings, such as the innate food supply described in this article, and we wiped it out by means of the cheaper more inferior versions from China.  I suggest letting the American chestnut rest in peace and reflect upon its death for wisdom on how to change our industrial habits for the better and give rebirth to the great America that once was.  But that’s just me.

I suppose with Christmas right around the corner though it’s just the right time to believe in Monsanto Clause and sit around the fireplace roasting great cheer to his name.

 

GMO’s roasting on an open fire

Blood flow skipping all your toes

Your funeral dirge being sung by a choir

And folks all dressed in hospital clothes

Everyone has a prescription and a pharmacist

Helps to make the food digest

Tiny tots with their bellies full

Will find it hard to want real food

 

They know that Monsanto’s on his way

He’s loaded lots of trees and chestnuts on his sleigh

And every mother’s child is a guinea pig

To the Franken food giants who are raking it in

 

So I’m offering this simple phrase

If you want to live to ninety-two

Although it’ll never be told by the industry goons

“Health comes from real food”


Dwayne McIntyre is a small family farmer from Russell County Virginia who raises organic free ranged children with his wife Stacey. Together his family produces grass-fed beef and pastured poultry for sale at the Abingdon Farmers Market.  He is also the chairman of the Russell County Republican Party and is a strong advocate for Virginia Food Freedom.

www.virginiafoodfreedom.org