Until now, food sovereignty has been a curious idea that has caught on in a few small towns in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and most recently, Santa Cruz, CA.
But the food sovereignty movement may be about to snag its biggest fish, in the land of tinsel and FDA food club raids.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting took under advisement a food sovereignty proposal put forth by long-time activist Aajonus Vonderplanitz. Los Angeles Mayor Michael Antonovich, in his role as one of five members of the Board of Supervisors, said he had already forwarded it to the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, when Vonderplanitz submitted it a couple weeks ago, with instructions that it be turned into public policy.
After the formal session, the former chief operating officer of the L.A. County Department of Health Services and now a Board of Supervisors staff person, Fred Leaf, pulled Vonderplanitz aside and assured him the measure is being taken seriously.
The push before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors followed a full day of demonstrating in front of its headquarters in downtown Los Angeles by about 15 food rights activists. The food sovereignty proposal only came up at the end of the day, about 5:15 p.m. Vonderplanitz had set the stage two weeks ago when he spoke with Leaf and found him to be very receptive to the food sovereignty proposal.
As submitted to by Vonderplanitz to the Board of Supervisors, it is a “Resolution recognizing the rights of individuals to grow and consume their own food and to enter into private contracts with other individuals to board animals for food.”
The resolution concludes, “Be it resolved that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors supports, endorses, and encourages the recognition of the right and freedom of people to raise their own food, including food derived from agricultural animals, for the enjoyment of themselves and their families, either by their own investment and labor or through the assistance of others through contractual arrangements.”
If successful, the resolution would appear to legalize herdshare arrangements of the type being challenged by California agriculture authorities, and the type of leasing contracts that were part of Rawesome Food Club’s arrangements with its farmer suppliers. To Vonderplanitz, it would also enable Los Angeles County to resist actions such as the two raids in 2010 and 2011 promoted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Rawesome Food Club. In the latest raid, on August 3, “The FDA took $80,000 worth of food and dumped it.”
Leading up to a pre-trial hearing tomorrow for the Rawesome Three, there will be a teach-in tonight and a rally beginning at 8 tomorrow morning outside the Los Angeles County courthouse. Tonight’s event begins at 6, at the Multipurpose Room, Veteran’s Memorial Complex, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City. Tomorrow’s rally is at the L.A. County Courthouse, 210 W. Temple St.
One of those who will be at the courthouse rally Thursday is Aajonus Vonderplanitz, who initiated allegations of Sharon Palmer outsourcing food provided to Rawesome Food Club. He hasn’t changed his mind about her, but he said he plans to be at the courthouse rally. Seemingly in answer to some of the discussion following my previous post, Vonderplanitz stated: “I am supportive of the food issue, even if I am not supportive of them (the Rawesome Three)…I tell everyone I am there to support the raw milk movement.”
For an excellent look at how divergent views within a growing movement can be channeled and tolerated, try to catch the new documentary, “The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975”. It chronicles the development of the Black Power movement within the Civil Rights movement, with amazing interviews with leaders like Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Eldridge Cleaver.