Watch “Farmageddon” on Epoch Cinema here.
An insightful account of the war being waged against small farmers.
With all the recent news about shadowy organizations and individuals, including the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Bill Gates, buying up millions of acres of farmland in North America (as well as all the government-sponsored attacks on farmers), it is interesting to come across a film that predicts the predicament we found ourselves in just over a decade ago.
2011’s “Farmageddon: The Invisible War on America’s Family Farms” marked the directorial debut of Kristin Canty, of Concord, Massachusetts, mother of four. The film’s catchy title is highly prescient of the aforementioned unfortunate events that seem to be escalating year after year, as agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration wage all-out war on petty North American farmers, even when they can demonstrate that they are bringing safe food to market.
Kristin begins by highlighting the difference between the two main sources of food in the United States: industrial-scale agriculture and local or artisanal farmers. The latter, which are made up of farmers who supply products such as organic and sustainable food, have faced ridiculous harassment and seizures based on bogus infractions, no matter how minor. The government frequently uses its multitude of regulations as tools designed to drive small farmers out of business.
One of the first examples the film shows us is the case of a Vermont couple who owned more than a dozen sheep, some of which had been specially imported from New Zealand (worth $5,000 per sheep) and who had their entire herd confiscated and summarily slaughtered. . This is despite the fact that the farming couple could have proven that their sheep were not infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), as claimed by the authorities.
Canty describes similar horror stories of government abuse and power abuse – here, a Mennonite farmer in Pennsylvania; there, a dairy farmer in upstate New York, as well as various food cooperatives in Georgia, Ohio and, of course, California.
Canty’s cinematic abilities are on display as we see interviews with farmers and agricultural experts from disparate backgrounds. Through these interviews, we quickly learn that industrial food suppliers have access to more funding, which allows them to wield considerable political power. This allows them to lobby government regulatory agencies to put pressure on small farms. The catch is that the vast majority of foodborne infections in the food supply chain occur in large industrial food factories.
Canty also provides some rather alarming film footage of law enforcement raids on small farms and co-ops that allegedly violated various specious state or federal agricultural regulations. The scenes of many law enforcement agencies – local, state and federal – treating these small farmers as if they were domestic terrorists are startling and somewhat infuriating.
Canty doesn’t just fight as a defender of the “little guy”; she has some personal experience with the subject of her film. When her son was 4 years old, he suffered from severe allergies and asthma. When conventional medicine was not helping her, she did some research and discovered that raw (unpasteurized, grass-fed) milk could be a remedy. As soon as she started giving raw milk to her son, her health problems went away.
Government actions seem rather illogical, mean-spirited, brutal and absurd. Sending large groups of armed law enforcement officers to attack a poor dairy farmer on the outskirts of a small town doesn’t exactly seem restrained, let alone fair. I mean, you don’t exactly see those kinds of raids being carried out on Tyson Foods, the Archer Daniels Midlands Company, or other large industrial-scale food companies.
However, after watching this well-meaning documentary, I felt there was one thing that bothered him. A common mistake that many amateur documentary makers make is that while they can be effective in bringing attention to important issues and shedding light on lesser-known issues, discussions of what to do next About these topics and issues are usually not discussed.
In other words, it would have been nice to have a better idea of what we can all do to protect the rights of small farmers, or perhaps to organize discussions based on the rights of consumers to have access easier to healthy foods, wherever those foods come from. But as it stands, “Farmageddon” is an insightful account of the war being waged against small farmers.
‘Fatal Flaws: ‘Farmageddon’
Director: Kristin Canty Duration: 1 hour, 26 minutes MPAA Rating: Unrated Release Date: July 8, 2011 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Not Rated | 1h 26m | Documentary, News | 2011
Watch “Farmageddon” on Epoch Cinema here.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.