coming up in September, and honoring Joel Salatin.
Food Freedom Fest Celebrates Local Food Hero
Farmers, foodies, politicians and others dedicated to advancing food freedom unite for a weekend festival in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on September 5-6, 2014. Organized by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense (FTCLDF), Food Freedom Fest is a fun, educational gathering for anyone who appreciates freedom of choice in food and agriculture. The funds raised will help defend the rights of small farmers and artisan food producers, as well as consumers and buying clubs.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is trying to control all food regulation and poses a threat to the local food movement. The September gathering is a meeting of people who see the benefit of a direct farmer to consumer relationship. This is relevant to anyone who wants to make a living off the land and keep the government out of their kitchen.
The aptly named Food Freedom Fest kicks off with the inaugural “Food Freedom Conference” starting with breakfast at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, Virginia. Emcee Kimberly Hartke will introduce notable speakers who will explore food freedom initiatives happening around the country. Delivering the keynote at lunch will be Congressman Thomas Massie from Kentucky who sponsored the two federal Raw Milk Freedom bills with considerable bipartisan support.
Among those slated to speak are:
- Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, the farmer made famous by Michael Pollan’s bestselling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma;
- Farmer Martha Boneta who was the driving force behind the landmark bill easing local and state regulatory controls over Virginia farmers;
- State Senator Frank Niceley who has worked to improve the regulatory climate for small farms in Tennessee including successes in legalizing raw milk distribution via herdshares, allowing cultivation of industrial hemp, and adopting the federal exemptions for on-farm poultry processing;
- John Moody, FTCLDF Treasurer and the Kentucky buying club organizer who successfully rallied his members to push back against a hostile health department action.
Friday evening, the Food Freedom Fest is throwing a street party and inviting the public to join in. Featuring local vendors and live entertainment, the “Local Food Street Fair” in beautiful downtown Staunton runs from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Hometown hero Joel Salatin will be honored with ceremonial “Keys to the City” and Staunton officials will read a resolution in support of food freedom.
Earlier that evening, a “VIP Reception” with food rights celebrities, including the Salatins, will be held at Zynodoa Restaurant, which serves local fare.
On Saturday, attendees will enjoy a “Deluxe Tour of Polyface Farm” conducted by Joel Salatin himself. This is a 2.5-hour hay wagon tour of the sustainable, humane farming system which has won Salatin worldwide acclaim. The event includes breakfast and lunch. After the tour, guests will feast on farm fresh foods under a big tent with the Salatin family and crew and and hear remarks about FTCLDF’s progress winning greater consumer access to farm fresh, sustainably raised foods.
“Our event shows how important the issue of food freedom is to everyone across the political spectrum. From farmer to consumer to politician, this issue affects everyone. It’s inspiring to see people find common ground and work in support of our farmers and food freedom,” says Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
Supporters of FTCLDF gather annually at Polyface to hear updates on farm freedom and food rights issues. Participants also celebrate the recent victories of the organization dedicated to preserving the food rights of Americans.
Tickets are available for Food Freedom Fest which includes the three events and five meals. The entire weekend is $395 if purchased before August 22, and after that date any remaining tickets will be available for $450.00. Ticket holders can attend the VIP Reception for an additional $125.00. For more details visit farmtoconsumer.org/FFF
Hotel accommodations are available at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. A special rate is available for Food Freedom Fest attendees that book by August 2.