Advocating On A Bigger Level

The more I work for the agency I’m with now and the more I’m out at meetings that involve other agencies throughout the state, the more I understand the importance of advocacy in the broader sense with our legislators. It is why when I see a bill I want to see to pass or one that I don’t want passed as is, I don’t hesitate to contact the legislators involved.

Case in point: Dan Allgyers in Kinzers, PA who received a surprise inspection at 5am Tuesday morning by the FDA. Even though he was already up and was getting ready to milk his cows, he was unable to do so. His children were scared that with all the people there walking around for the inspection, that their father would go to jail. To make matters worse, Senate Bill 510 (S 510) wants to put wording in that the FDA can conduct inspections based on “reason to believe” rather than “credible evidence.” You bet this fired me up. Our police can’t even get warrants on truly dangerous criminals based on “reason to believe.” I’m still having trouble seeing straight over this.

I’ve started to contact the Senators sitting on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee with this following message:

“I am outraged that farmers who pose little to no-risk to the community would be targeted for inspections by the FDA, like Dan Allgyers of Kinzers, PA was on 4/20/10. I am appalled that our government that is supposed to protect us, would even consider changing wording from “credible evidence” to “reason to believe” in S 510. This would give the FDA substantially more UNCHECKED power over a targeted set of people. This is more power than our own police have over the general public. I believe that this is inherently wrong and will serve to only bring an end to farmers who practice safe, sustainable and NON-TOXIC farming, while building up the food industry that is killing this nation. Please help this great nation by using the following when discussing S 510 with your Committee:

1. Regulate farms and food processors based on risk — with organic and local systems as the lowest-risk.

While no farm and processing plant can be completely safe and completely eliminate food safety risks, different production systems carry different levels of risk. Small and medium-sized organic farms are low-risk farms from a food safety point of view, and local food systems are low-risk systems. This fact speaks to a risk-based regulatory approach, particularly given limited federal dollars available for system-wide regulation and the need to prudently target the use of those funds.

Organic farms are already controlling pathogens and improving food safety in various ways that conventional, industrial-scale farms do not. Specifically, food safety regulation for organic and small-scale producers should focus on education and training, not one-size-fits-all food safety standards.

2. Protect organic farmers from conflicting food safety regulations.

Tell your Senator to ensure that the bill directs the FDA to integrate any food safety standards with the existing federal organic standards. No farmer should be forced to choose between organic certification and food safety rules, and the two should be streamlined to avoid unnecessary additional burdens and incompatibilities.

3. Protect wildlife, biodiversity and habitat from misguided food safety regulation.

Likewise, the food safety bill should ensure that FDA food safety standards do not conflict with existing federal conservation, environmental and wildlife standards. Farmers should be encouraged to adopt conservation practices on their farms — in fact, many conservation practices such as vegetated buffer zones and wetland preservation have been shown to reduce the presence of foodborne pathogens on farms.”

Everything from #1 down, I got from the Cornucopia Institute website. At the end, is the list of Senators on the Committee. The paragraph before that is all me. Feel free to copy it and use it should you decided to contact the Senators.

Venting done for now. On to better things.

I started following ATX Gluten-free blog, thanks to Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten-free. One thing that really intrigued me on the ATX Gluten-free blog is that she mentioned that one of the Jason’s Deli’s in her area is test running gluten-free bread. I thought, how awesome is that? I saw that the other day. Today I decided to check out the Jason’s Deli blog and they have two polls going on right now. One poll is regarding gluten-free sandwiches and the other is about removing colorings and dyes from their foods. Go there and put your 2 cents in on the poll. People wanting gluten-free sandwiches and removing the colorings and dyes are leading the polls by a huge margin.

Don’t forget to sign Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution petition and pass it around! It’s getting up near half a million signatures in the U.S.

I broke in my new running shoes this morning, but my shins were still a little sore. I love listening to music while I’m doing the interval training. Linkin Park’s Bleed It Out came up as it was time to start my last running interval, which I was planning on not doing. But the song helped me dig deep and knock out the last minute of running. As I walked back into our parking lot, I twisted my left ankle and had to hobble up the stairs. I’ve twisted and sprained my ankles more times than I can count. So I know how important it is to take care of them as soon as possible. Once I had my shoes off, I went straight for my Da Balm (my homemade version of Tiger Balm) and slathered it all over my shins. Then I got an ice pack and put it on my elevated my ankle so the blood would flow back up into my legs and not stay in my foot. That’s the key to elevating. Most people I see “elevating” only have their legs and feet parallel to the ground. That just keeps the blood in that area and does nothing to help prevent swelling.

The most exciting part of my day so far is my find at Whole Foods this morning. I wanted some gluten-free crackers. I went for the Almond Crackers, they seemed to be the less evil of the ones I was checking out in terms of complying with my whole foods diet. Then a box on the very top shelf (yes, I was on my toes) caught my eye. Not only was it gluten-free, but it was completely whole foods friendly and organic. SCORE! I was so happy I forgot to mention to the cashier that they need to carry sorghum flour. Oh well.

Advocate for what you believe in, take care of injuries or they’ll come back to haunt you, and take joy in the little things of life.

Happy Aloha Friday!

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