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Maine Town Passes Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Maine News page, Farm Issues page, Raw Milk page, and ourOrganic Transitions page.

The town of Sedgwick, Maine, population 1,012 (according to the 2000 census), has become the first town in the United States to pass a Food Sovereignty ordinance.  In doing so, the town declared their right to produce and sell local foods of their choosing, without the oversight of State or federal regulation. 

What does this mean?  In the debate over raw milk, for example, the law opens the gate for consumer and producer to enter a purchasing agreement without interference from state or federal health regulators.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a 1987 FDA regulation required that all milk be pasteurized to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.  The Sedgwick ordinance declares that:


Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the food is sold for home consumption. This includes any producer or processor who sells his or her products at farmers' markets or roadside stands; sells his or her products through farm-based sales directly to a patron; or delivers his or her products directly to patrons.


In short, the ordinance allows buyer and seller to enter their own agreement which overrides the regulation of government when dealing with transactions involving local foods.

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