Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Local food advocate says current system flawed |

Local food advocate says current system flawed |

SALEM -- The U.S. food system is too industrialized, too opaque and too segregated to be sustainable, according to local-food advocate Joel Salatin.

Speaking in Salem Feb. 12 as part of Willamette University's Dempsey Lecture Series, Salatin said the system's regulatory and economic functions encourage large-scale production of unhealthy food that consumes large amounts of energy.

The system's failures start at the top of the regulatory chain, he said.

"We don't have a way for food innovation to occur on a local level because ... (the USDA and Food and Drug Administration) don't allow small-scale, embryonic innovation to come to the marketplace, unless it comes through their infrastructure and regulatory and paperwork sieve," Salatin said. "And that sieve is prejudicial to all small-scale operations.

"They want to separate us at the federal level from local food choices," Salatin said.

"They have decided that it is perfectly safe to feed your kids Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs and Mountain Dew, but that raw milk (and) Aunt Matilda's pickles ... are hazardous substances," he said.

Salatin, a third-generation alternative farmer, has become a leader in the local-food movement through his lectures, writing and farm practices.

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