A ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development gutted the 1981 Right To Farm Act that protected farmers from angry neighbors in rural areas. The law also protected people who wanted to raise small animals, like chickens and rabbits, on a property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property.
According to Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club, the changes in the law will “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.”
Many of these small farms produce organic food for their families and their neighborhood.
“The Michigan Agriculture Commission passed up an opportunity to support one of the hottest trends in food in Michigan – public demand for access to more local, healthy, sustainable food,” Philburn also stated.
These new changes will affect residents of rural Michigan too. Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is on six and a half acres and homes 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. This small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry.“We produce food with integrity,” says Randy Buchler of Shady Grove Farm. “Everything we do here is 100 percent natural — we like to say it’s beyond organic. We take a lot of pride and care in what we’re doing here.” Shady Grove Farm was doing its part to educate and provide healthy, local, organic food to the people of Gwinn. It reflects the attitudes of hundreds of other small farms in Michigan and thousands of others popping up around the nation. This loss of right to farm comes within days of a report by The World Health Organization that stated the world is currently in severe danger of entering a post-antibiotic era. The WHO’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan argued that the antibiotic use in our industrialized food supply is the worst offender adding to the global crisis. “The Michigan Agriculture Commission passed up an opportunity to support one of the hottest trends in food in Michigan – public demand for access to more local, healthy, sustainable food,” Gail Philbin told MLive.
“There’s a lot of unnecessary legal action being taken against small farms who are doing good things in their communities,” said Randy Buchler, who is also on the board of directors for the Michigan Small Farm Council. The Michigan Small Farm Council actively fought to support Michigan farming freedom, but ultimately the Commission voted to approve the new restrictions.
How is this happening in this day and age!! How can we teach our children to grow organic food and have the chance to cleanse there bodies (and ours) of the pesticides and toxins that are used on the large farms and to rid us of the processed foods when “they” take away our very right to feed ourselves!