Action | December 11, 2014

FDA: Let a Farm Be a Farm

AliciaThe Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the first major overhaul of our nation’s food safety system since 1938, calling for new regulations for farms that grow fresh fruits and vegetables and facilities that process food for people to eat.

FSMA represents some big changes to our food system. That’s why it’s extremely important that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) get these regulations right. Many of you joined Farm Aid to weigh in on the proposed rules FDA put together last year – to great success!

Now we need you to join us one more time. FDA has just released “second draft” versions of these rules – including a definition of what constitutes a farm – and they’re asking for feedback from farmers and consumers before the rules are finalized.

The farm definition FDA ends up with is the one we’ll be working with for decades. We have until December 15th to fix FSMA so that the rules support – not hinder – our family farmers and a healthier and more just food system.

What you can do:

Tell the FDA to let a farm be a farm:

Farms innovate. Don’t squash local food by unfairly burdening family farmers who are scaling up, growing their businesses, and improving healthy food access through innovations like working together to wash and pack produce for local schools. The rules need to ensure that local food and farms can grow and thrive.

Farms work with nature. Don’t undermine on-farm sustainability by making it harder for farmers to protect wildlife and manage their soil and water using organic and sustainable methods. The rules need to allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices.

Farms deserve fair treatment. Don’t raise costs for farmers, food businesses, and consumers by imposing unclear, inconsistent, and unfair rules designed for industrial facilities – not family farms and food businesses. The rules need to provide options that treat family farms fairly without unnecessary, excessive costs.

Farms work together: The rules’ definition of “farm” should cover farms that are non-contiguous, as well as farms that are participating in cooperative or collectively operated packing/holding operations. This is to ensure that majority farmer-controlled operations that do farm activities – like growing, harvesting, packing, or holding produce – be appropriately regulated as farms, not industrial mega-facilities.

To weigh in, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for directions on how to submit a comment. Everyone has a role in ensuring safe food from field to fork. Do your part by raising your voice for family farmers today.

Please note: an earlier version of this post identified the comment deadline as December 14, but it’s actually December 15. We’ve updated the post.

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