Unnoticed by many, the tiny town of Sedgwick, Maine in 2011 passed a “Food Sovereignty Law” that is simultaneously cause for sadness and celebration.
First, the celebration: This law, passed unanimously, states “Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.”
Furthermore, the ordinance states “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.”
In other words, consenting adults may purchase whatever food items they want from any local provider, free from government restriction or bureaucracy.
What a concept. Grownups buying food from other grownups without government control. That’s heresy!
But what about risk? After all, only the government can ensure that the foods we eat are perfectly safe, right? (Like they’ve done such a good job so far, after all, with stories of food contamination from major producers making headlines on a near daily basis.)
Here’s what the Sedgwick, Maine ordinance says about risk:
“Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.”
In a country where armed SWAT teams routinely descend upon independent farms and private buying clubs, it’s joyous to see to see the citizens of Sedgwick formally recognize that consenting adults have the right to consume whatever foods they want to consume, freely accepting the risk and consequences of doing so.
Oh, and the sadness part? What could possibly make me sad about such an ordinance?
Simple: It truly saddens me that in the “land of the free,” it takes an ordinance like Sedgwick’s to remind us that the citizens of this country have the right to consume the foods of our choosing.