On April 30, 2015, an enthusiastic group of Maine citizens visited the Legislature with a message: Food is a basic human right, and the right to know what is in that food and who is producing it is part of that right. Thirty people testified about the Right to Food constitutional amendment (L.D. 783) put forward by Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop.

One of them was Joel Salatin, a local food hero from Virginia who had come to Maine to support our efforts to get this bill out to the voters of the state. He testified about the need to know what is in our food and where it came from. He addressed the need to have that right enshrined in the constitution of the state.

“The only reason the founders of our great republic did not include food rights alongside the right to bear arms, to speak, and to worship was because no one at that time could have envisioned a day when citizens could not acquire the food of their choice from the source of their choice,” he testified.

Salatin spoke about the bureaucracy that defends big agriculture and industrial food: “[T]he orthodoxy of the industrial food system has no clue what our food freedom tribe thinks and can’t imagine why we can’t be satisfied with pasteurized milk, Hot Pockets, and microwavable frozen dinners. They see this as choice; we see it as poison.”

This bill, along with the GMO Right to Know bill, was held over to this second session. The work session for this constitutional amendment is Feb. 4 in the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Please contact your representative, especially if they sit on this committee, before that date and let them know that the people of Maine have a right to food of their choosing.

Betsy Garrold


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