Welcome to our Food Series
In the post-WWII era, power flowed from control of the reserve currency backed by oil. In the emerging multipolar world, as new technologies revolutionize our energy models, power increasingly flows from ownership and access to water, soil, and food.
Convinced that accessing the best quality fresh food is essential to both personal and geopolitical power, we launched the Solari Food Series. We hope you enjoy accessing the outstanding insights on the global food ecosystem and how to enjoy food to nurture your health and political and economic freedom.
Food Series: Grassroots Activism with Judith McGeary– February 20, 2023
A promising trend in recent years has been the deregulation of local food production and distribution by state legislatures. Many states have passed bills to legalize or expand raw milk distribution, cottage food sales, and on-farm slaughter. One state legislature that has passed many bills helping small farmers and local artisan producers is Texas; the driving force behind that legislation has been the advocacy nonprofit, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA).
FARFA founder, executive director, and lobbyist Judith McGeary joins the Food Series audiocast to discuss her work in Texas and her nonprofit’s successes in the legislature and elsewhere. The Texas legislative session can turn into a brawl or free-for-all; FARFA has managed to stay the course and be largely responsible for passing bills that have improved the food and agriculture landscape. One of FARFA’s greatest victories was an expansion of the raw milk laws in Texas, a change that occurred not in the legislature but rather through the bureaucracy and the rulemaking process after a decade-long battle.
Food Emancipation with Joel Salatin– October 26, 2023
Joel Salatin returns to the Solari Food Series to talk about “Food Emancipation.” Joel is the longtime face of the local food movement in the U.S. From the high-quality food the Salatin family farm (Polyface Farm) produces, to his innovative farm techniques, to the 16 books he has written on food and farming, to the Polyface internship program, to his tireless evangelizing on healthy food and healthy food production, Joel has left an enormous footprint, and one that continues to grow.
Another area in which Joel has made an impact—the topic of this audiocast—is freedom of food choice. He has long advocated for a Food Emancipation Proclamation, a constitutional amendment on the right to obtain the food of one’s choice from the source of one’s choice. Joel is the cofounder, with John Moody, of the Rogue Food Conference (RFC), a series of events that have gotten lots of traction over the past few years. He is also the cofounder of the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (VICFA), a Virginia-based organization whose mission is “promoting and preserving unregulated direct farmer-to-consumer trade that fosters availability of locally grown or home-based food products.” In addition, he is likely the only farmer ever to have written a book (Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal) entirely focused on the regulatory system.
Among other topics, Joel talks in this audiocast about his vision for the Rogue Food Conferences, discussing how farmers are using business models to legally circumvent burdensome, one-size-fits-all regulations and how they are increasingly asking the government for forgiveness rather than permission in the operation of their farms. He also covers his testimony before a House subcommittee on the PRIME Act—legislation with the potential to begin the sorely needed process of decentralizing meat production in the U.S. Finally, Joel discusses his new book, The Homestead Tsunami, and the acceleration of the back-to-the-land movement over the past few years. All of these topics tie into food emancipation and a constitutional amendment the Founding Fathers never thought necessary but which turns out to be something essential for the times we are living in.
Roy Ramey: America’s Little Ag Candidate– August 14, 2023
If we are going to be successful in the fight against the centralization and tyranny team, it is critical to implement laws and policies strengthening an independent, parallel food system centered on local production of nutrient-dense food. The place for this to happen is at the state level. To this end, it is important to have state legislators with the drive and vision to move their constituents away from disastrous federal policies on food and agriculture to policies promoting state and regional self-sufficiency in the production and distribution of quality food.
Another key position in state government that can help make this happen is the Commissioner of Agriculture. The commissioner can set the direction a state takes in establishing either the conditions for small family farms to thrive or the conditions for industrial agriculture to further consolidate control over the food supply.
Our guest on this Solari Special Report audiocast, farmer and military veteran Roy Ramey, is a candidate for West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture in the 2024 race. Ramey talks about his plan to grow and protect small family farms in West Virginia, and the tools he has to carry out his programs. He speaks about why he can win the commissioner’s race and the support he needs, financially and otherwise, to win next year.
The race for Agriculture Commissioner in West Virginia has national implications. If Ramey can get elected, he will set a precedent and make it easier for pro little Ag candidates—those whose primary supporters are small farms and their patrons—to get elected or appointed as agriculture commissioner or ascend to a similar office in other states. Anyone who wants the best quality food for themselves and their family has a stake in the West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner race. Tune in to find out how you can support Roy Ramey, the candidate for little Ag everywhere.
Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California, was unique in our national park system. For over 50 years since an act of Congress created the park in 1962, wilderness, agriculture (mainly cattle ranchers), and mariculture coexisted at Point Reyes, with the mariculture activity being an oyster farm and cannery called Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) located at Drakes Estero. DBOC was an institution in the community, having started operations in the 1930s; it was the most popular destination at Point Reyes National Seashore, drawing 50,000 visitors a year.
All of that came to an end in 2014 when the National Park Service (NPS) succeeded in shutting down DBOC through a campaign of fraudulent data and misrepresentation of science. There was no accountability for the NPS and the massive fraud they perpetrated against DBOC in portraying the oyster farm as a threat to the environment and marine life at Drakes Estero. Although a Department of Interior Inspector General investigation cited three NPS employees for engaging in deliberate misrepresentation and misconduct against DBOC, there was no correction of the false record the employees created; each employee wound up receiving promotions with NPS.
DBOC’s operation benefited the environment and was a major supplier of high-quality oysters to the entire state of California, but NPS, working together with environmental groups and other federal and state government agencies, was able to shutter the oyster farm despite overwhelming support in the community.
Kevin Lunny and his brother were the last owners of DBOC. Kevin joins the audiocast to give his account of how a hard-working family business with 30 employees was closed down due to a “taxpayer-funded enterprise of corruption.”
The Biden administration‘s 30 x 30 Plan aims to take productive public land out of commission; Drakes Bay Oyster Company serves as a warning of the power a corrupt federal government possesses to make that happen.
In addition to having owned DBOC, Kevin Lunny, and his family also operate a ranch at Point Reyes. Now, the Lunny ranch and the other ranches at the park are under threat from NPS and environmental groups. Lunny will give a status report on the effort to force the ranchers out of Point Reyes and turn their land to wilderness.
With the accelerating deterioration in reliability and quality of the industrial food system, it’s imperative to build out a parallel food system—one that produces healthy food for a region, state, or community. The parallel system will have short supply chains, laws and infrastructure geared toward greater self-sufficiency, neighbor-to-neighbor commerce, and a spirit of collaboration among members of the community.
Ken Meter, our guest for this Food Series audiocast, describes that process (and structure) as building “community food webs.” Meter has had a 50-year career as a food systems analyst, integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. Throughout his career, he has worked on inner city and rural community capacity-building. He has provided consultation and local economic analyses to promote local food networks in 144 regions, 41 states, two provinces, and four tribal nations.
Ken serves as president of Crossroads Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that works with communities and their allies to foster democracy and local self-determination. He is also the author of a recent book, Building Community Food Webs, capturing success stories in the build-out of food systems in states and communities throughout the U.S.
Building community food webs is complex, and progress is often incremental; still, there are people around the country doing the work of building resilient systems for the production and distribution of food at the local level.
Food Series: Raw Milk Nation – November 22, 2022
by: Pete Kennedy Esq.
Raw (unpasteurized) dairy products, except for cheese aged 60 days, are the only foods prohibited for human consumption in interstate commerce. The ban was a result of a 1986 federal district court decision ordering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a regulation establishing the prohibition; Congress, the people’s branch of government, had no input. Raw milk prohibition has been about as successful as alcohol prohibition. You know you have a bad law when otherwise law-abiding citizens violate that law with regularity; thousands obtain raw milk from across state lines on a weekly basis in this country. FDA stated in a court document that it will not enforce the ban against individuals crossing into other states to purchase raw milk.
Food Series: The 30×30 Land Grab with Margaret Byfield – November 17, 2022
On January 27, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. issued Executive Order (EO) 14008, titled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” Section 216 of the EO, “Conserving Our Nation’s Lands and Waters,” calls for the United States “working with State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders, to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” Many think the “30×30” means taking 30% of the country’s land and 30% of its water completely out of commission, meaning that livestock grazing, among other activities, would be prohibited on 30% of the nation’s land.
The 30×30 plan raises a number of questions. What is the federal government’s legal authority for this scheme? What percent of the total land in this country does the federal government own? How much of that land does the federal government say is protected? How much land does the federal government need to protect to reach its 30×30 goal? How does the federal government actually define the words “protect” and “conserve”? And most importantly, what do farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners have to watch out for to avoid being snared in 30×30, and what can they do to fight back?
To answer these questions and more, Margaret Byfield, Executive Director of the American Stewards of Liberty (ASL), joins the Food Series. ASL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to restore property rights and the liberties they secure by defending the use of our land and restoring local control. She has first-hand experience with federal land grabs—her father, Nevada rancher Wayne Hage, had a 27-year court battle with the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service over grazing and water rights.
Among other topics, Margaret will cover: the Center for American Progress and its role in 30×30; how the federal government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Nature Conservancy work together to take away the productive use of land; the threat the Endangered Species Act poses to landowners under the 30×30 plan; and federal, state, and local solutions to stop 30×30.
State and Local Officials: You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are with Pete Kennedy– September 1, 2022
This week, Solari’s Food Series host, attorney Pete Kennedy, joins me for a discussion about actions we can encourage our state legislators and local officials to take to strengthen local and state economies and local food systems.
There is an urgent need for states to act to fill the vacuum created by the inability of the federal government to manage monetary and fiscal policies and operations on a sound basis. Solari Report interviews and quarterly Wrap Ups have offered many ideas that citizens can bring to state legislators, such as establishing a state bank (such as the long-standing and successful Bank of North Dakota) that can protect and cultivate strong local banks; establishing state depositories; encouraging use of precious metals and lessening regulatory constraints on the development of local currencies; building state capacity for secure telecommunications and data transmission; and revoking the corporate charters of bad actors (including corporations receiving depository business or contracts from state governments).
At the local level, we continue to beat the drum about the importance of getting to know and supporting local sheriffs.
Past Food Series interviews likewise have identified a number of ways that the grassroots and legislators, together, can strengthen local food systems—including through legislative actions that solidify food freedom and affirm the “right to food”; lessen regulatory burdens and harassment; support direct farm-to-consumer sales; and build out needed local infrastructure such as slaughterhouses and commercial kitchens. Keeping the pressure up in these and other areas is more necessary than ever.
Because of the importance of this topic, we will be making this interview public and encourage everyone to send it to their state legislators. Please join me for what promises to be a rich yet practical conversation.
Food Series: Free in Tennessee: Kicking Tyranny to the Curb – June 29, 2022
People are voting with their feet and moving to Tennessee. The main reason for this has been the effectiveness of the Tennessee General Assembly in fighting back against the takedown of the economy and what’s left of our constitutional republic by the federal government and the ruling class.
A leader in protecting individual rights and liberties has been State Senator Frank Niceley, a fifth-generation cattle farmer who represents District 8 in the Tennessee legislature. Senator Niceley joins the Solari Report to talk about legislation he sponsored this past legislative session and what he has in mind for future legislation to preserve freedom in the Volunteer State.
In this interview, Senator Niceley will talk about the Tennessee legislature’s response to the federal and corporate Covid tyranny, including sponsoring a successful bill that made Tennessee the first state to legalize the over-the-counter sale of ivermectin. He discusses his concerns about the proposed digital currency and legislation he carried to help prevent that from becoming a reality.
Niceley has long been a champion of the small farmer and has been enormously successful in advancing the interests of local food producers and consumers. He touches on the Tennessee Food Freedom Act, a major cottage foods bill he sponsored that passed out of the legislature, as well as other bills he has introduced to strengthen the state’s local food system.
The establishment of a viable parallel system in the areas of food, health, and money is critical to defeating the ruling establishment’s ongoing coup d’état. The state legislatures are the governing bodies in the best position to make that happen. Frank Niceley’s work as a state senator provides a roadmap as to what that parallel system could be.
Food Series: Untruth in Labeling with Dr. Sina McCullough – June 18, 2022
The lack of transparency as to what is actually in our food is accelerating. Our labeling laws too often leave consumers in the dark and unable to make an informed decision—further contributing to what Catherine Austin Fitts calls “the great poisoning.” The amount of toxic ingredients and substances in our food is rapidly increasing.
One purpose of this audiocast is to encourage the listeners to buy more of their food from regenerative farmers and local artisans. It is becoming more important than ever to buy food directly from producers you know and trust.
Another purpose of the audiocast is to give consumers more information on the ingredients in the food they are purchasing from retail stores. Food labeling is a broad topic; the audiocast will provide listeners with some of the lies of commission and with numerous material omissions on food labeling requirements in areas such as GMOs, “gluten-free” foods, and the 10,000 chemical additives in our food supply.
Dr. Sina McCullough joins the Food Series to shine light on what is actually in our food and the production and processing practices used to make it. Dr. McCullough has a PhD in nutrition and is an expert in disease reversal, functional medicine, and energy medicine as well as being a certified Natural HealerTM, Master Herbalist, and Gluten-Free Society Practitioner.
Dr. McCullough became an expert on food labeling through personal experience; afflicted with an advanced stage of rheumatoid arthritis, she extensively researched food labeling requirements not so much to improve her health but rather to save her life.
The state motto for Maine is Dirigo, meaning “I lead.” In the area of food rights, Maine has been doing that for the rest of the nation. On November 2, 2021, its people voted to enshrine a Right to Food amendment in the state constitution despite powerful national opposition. Maine is the first state to protect freedom of food choice in its constitution.
The amendment reads:
“All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.”
With the conventional food system’s lack of quality, transparency, and reliability—and the determination of our ruling establishment to substitute synthetic for real food in our diets—now is the time to establish a basic fundamental right in written law.
Joining us on the Solari Food Series this week is Heather Retberg, the co-author of the amendment and the face of the Maine food sovereignty movement. Heather and her husband Phil own and operate Quill’s End Farm, a diversified farm in Penobscot providing nutrient-dense meat and dairy products to their grateful patrons. In this audiocast, we talk about the reasons for the amendment, why it passed, the opposition to the amendment, and next steps for building on the November 2nd success in Maine and elsewhere in the U.S., including what you can do to bring a similar resolution before the legislature in your state.
So, what do you do when the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is threatening to take an enforcement action for operating a food buyers club that the state considers illegal? If you are Michele Reneau, what you do is work with the state legislature to change the law, turning adversity into precedent-setting legislation—Tennessee Senate Bill 651—that establishes that the Weekly Fig, a private membership association that Michele co-manages, is legal.
Passage of the bill was not the end of Michele’s involvement with regulators, however; a complaint made about the Weekly Fig to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) led to a two-year federal investigation that concluded after a deposition Michele gave to an attorney from the U.S. Department of Justice and FSIS.
Food Series: How One Consumer Can Make a Difference with Mike Lobsinger – January 27, 2022
Farming is difficult enough without having to deal with overzealous regulators who take enforcement actions against farmers without any evidence of threat to public health. When this happens, the farm’s customers (the consumers) don’t usually do much to try to defend their farmer.
One individual who did go the extra mile for his farmer is Mike Lobsinger, a retired businessman from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. When the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development sought a court order against farmer Joe Golimbieski to stop him from selling nutrient-dense dairy products such as raw cream and raw butter, Lobsinger intervened as a party in the case, which largely contributed to the judge deciding the case in the farmer’s favor.
As the push for “unproven” synthetic foods continues, maintaining strong relationships with local food producers and farmers is critical to staying healthy. Mike Lobsinger’s willingness to stand up for his farmer and freedom of food choice sets an example for us to follow.
Food Series: Homesteading (Part III) with John Moody – December 7, 2021
John Moody returns to the Food Series for Part III of our discussion on homesteading. In this interview John discusses topics such as foraging, making your own remedies, preserving food, and stocking a root cellar and pantry. He also talks about starting up and operating a business out of a homestead, and shares his own experience developing Abby‘s Elderberry—a venture that wound up not only providing an income for John’s family but for other farmers as well.
John emphasizes the importance of value-added products in building a viable business on your homestead to maximize revenue from food processing.
With potential supply chain issues as well as inflation, increasing self-sufficiency by growing your own food is more important than ever. Listen to Part III of Homesteading for help navigating what lies ahead.
Food Series: When Michigan DNR Went Hog Wild with Mark Baker – November 18, 2021
Over the last two years, we’ve been witnessing a growing trend: the distortion of language and of the meaning of words. Purchasing food at Walmart is considered an “essential activity,” whereas going to a mom-and-pop restaurant is not. Gambling at a casino is also rated an essential activity; worshipping at a church is not. People dying within two weeks of receiving the Covid “vaccine” are counted as unvaccinated; vaccinated individuals testing positive for Covid are called “breakthrough” cases. These are just a few examples.
My guest for this Solari Food Series interview is Mark Baker. Mark went through a similar case involving distortion of language when a swine Invasive Species Order (ISO) issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) threatened to shut down his heritage breed hog operation. The DNR interpreted the order in a way that would make it illegal to raise heritage breed hogs as Mark was doing. This was a direct threat to the livelihood of farmers who had opted for this more nutrient-dense type of pork, but it promised to expand the market share of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Mark owns and operates Baker’s Green Acres in Marion, Michigan, with his wife Jill. In this interview, Mark talks about his battle with the DNR, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, and the Michigan Attorney General to defend his right to make a living. The attack on his business and that of other heritage hog farmers was a forerunner of developments to put producers of real high-quality meat out of business. Mark also discusses Anyone Can Farm, an educational program he has created, which includes classes on meat cutting—a trade in high demand due to the current state of our slaughterhouse infrastructure.
Food Series: Winning the War on Meat – The PRIME Act with Thomas Massie – October 19, 2021
Access to slaughterhouses, especially USDA- and state-inspected slaughterhouses, remains the biggest weakness in the local food system. Many slaughterhouses in the U.S. are booked out for a year or more, making it difficult for small farmers and ranchers to meet demand. The best legislative solution to this problem is the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act known as the PRIME Act.
The PRIME Act (H.R. 3835 / S. 2001) is before Congress for a fourth time and its passage is needed more than ever, especially with the supply chain disruptions of the past year and a half, and the intensifying, well-timed campaign for synthetic meat to replace real meat in our diets.
Passage of the PRIME Act would enable states to pass laws legalizing the sale of custom slaughtered meat produced within their borders. Congressman Thomas Massie, lead sponsor of the PRIME Act, returns to the Solari Food Series to discuss its prospects in the 117th Congress. Officially, Congressman Massie represents the 4th district of Kentucky; unofficially, he is the Congressman for the local food movement in this country. As a cattleman himself, Massie has first-hand experience with the slaughterhouse bottleneck hurting small livestock producers. He talks about how the bill can significantly improve the slaughterhouse infrastructure in the US, what the problems with the current system are, what the opposition to the legislation is, and how despite its powerful opponents the PRIME Act does have a chance to pass.
Most importantly, Representative Massie tells us how we can support the bill. It’s just a matter of making three phone calls: one to each of our U.S. senators and another to our U.S. representative. He believes that as little as 10 phone calls to a congressional (federal legislator’s) office can result in a bill co-sponsor. You will find a link to a Weston A. Price Foundation action alert on the PRIME Act below, which provides talking points on the importance of passing the bill. Your support can make the difference!
Food Series: Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal – The War on Meat, Part III with Joel Salatin – September 09, 2021
Joel Salatin is the longtime face of the local food movement, featured in the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and in films such as Food, Inc., Fresh, and American Meat. The Salatin family farm, Polyface, is a destination stop each year for thousands of patrons of regenerative farming and high-quality food. Joel Salatin is also a walking history of meat regulation in this country before and since the implementation of the 1967 Wholesome Meat Act (WMA), a disastrous law that led to the shutdown of small-scale abattoirs in communities around the U.S. and the formation of oligopolies in the beef and pork industries.
As a teenager, Joel sold value-added meat products at a curb market in Staunton, Virginia. He had processed the meat without inspection or regulation, a practice that, at one time, was legal in much of the country. Once the WMA went into effect, that kind of activity became illegal despite the fact that there were few illnesses attributed to this type of commerce.
As a farmer raising meat animals for nearly 40 years and a co-owner of a USDA slaughter and processing facility, Joel has seen the damage the WMA and subsequent laws have done to regenerative livestock farms and small-scale meat processing. Joel joins the Food Series to talk about the changes and the regulatory obstacles he has had to contend with in his career, as well as solutions to rebuild our slaughterhouse infrastructure, meet the growing demand for locally produced meat, and help small farms thrive.
Food Series: War on Meat (Part II) with Niti Bali – August 05, 2021
This week, we continue our discussion about the War on Meat with somebody who is passionate about food quality and life: Niti Bali. Niti was not an expert in farming nor raising animals, she was not a medical expert of any kind, she just happened to be the mother of a two-year-old little girl battling cancer.
To help her daughter regain strength after a series of harsh medical treatments, she started on a journey to find the cleanest and healthiest food possible, especially meat. She discovered regenerative agriculture, which produces perfectly happy and healthy animals, and learned about the health benefits of regenerative meat and animal fat.
Niti is the Founder and CEO of Farm to Fork Meat Riot, a farm-to-family food system to promote regenerative agriculture and make it accessible to more people. She realized that private distribution of food, where the customer goes directly to the farm, was the best—if not the only—solution for those who want a diet that supports life.
Join me for an eye-opening discussion with Niti Bali, who invites us to take responsibility for what we eat, what we put in our bodies, and our health!
Food Series: Progress for Local Food in the State Houses – July 28, 2021
2021 has been a year of substantial progress for local food systems in the state legislatures. Less reliable supply chains, price inflation, and deteriorating quality in the conventional food system have led to increased demand for locally produced food and more concerned about food security. The path to greater food security is decentralization of food production and distribution along with deregulation of locally produced food.
Demand for foods direct from small farms and local artisan producers is accelerating; the biggest obstacle to prosperity is the regulatory climate and one-size-fits-all laws that favor big business. From a standpoint of food security (self-sufficiency in the production of quality food), food safety, human health and local economies, locally produced food–whether regulated or unregulated–is superior to industrial food in all respects. The more state legislators take the regulatory shackles off locally produced and sold food, the better off we can all be. The 2021 legislative session has been a significant step in the right direction.
Food Series: The War on Meat, Part I with Dr. Will Winter – July 1, 2021
The Biden administration’s plan to cut greenhouse emissions by 50%-52% from their 2005 levels by 2030 is raising questions as to how this could be done. “Experts” say Americans will have to drastically reduce their meat consumption to reach that goal and avoid what they describe as “catastrophic” effects on the climate. Some are even calling for a 90% reduction in beef consumption.
For our first discussion about the “War on Meat,” I invited holistic veterinarian Will Winter, DVM, to weigh in on the topic of meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Is it possible to raise livestock in a way that reduces greenhouse gases, restores or increases biodiversity, and improves the environment and health? Dr. Winter explains how, with the use of regenerative farming.
Dr. Winter, now retired from his veterinary practice, consults on holistic livestock management and related topics for clients such as Thousand Hills Cattle Company, whose farmers raise grassfed beef around the U.S. He is also an inspector for the American Grassfed Association (AGA), visiting about 100 farms a year.
Special Solari Report: Food Series: Food Freedom in Big Sky Country with Montana State Senator Greg Hertz – June 1, 2021
Montana state Senator Greg Hertz joins the Solari Food Series for a special report on the passage into law of the Montana Local Food Choice Act, Senate Bill 199 (SB 199), which he sponsored and masterfully guided through the legislature. SB 199 allows the unregulated production and sale by local producers of most foods, including unpasteurized dairy products, directly to consumers. This development should provide a substantial boost for small farmers and food artisans in Montana.
One of the biggest obstacles for small-scale food producers is often the regulatory climate in which one-size-fits-all regulations tend to create barriers to entry. This is unfortunate as locally produced food—whether regulated or not—is often superior in terms of health benefits, food safety and security, as well as contribution to the local economy compared to industrially produced food.
The Covid crisis with its impact on the food supply has prompted numerous state legislatures to pass bills deregulating the sale of locally produced food, giving local entrepreneurs a better chance to succeed.
Solari Food Series: Homesteading (Part II) with John Moody – May 27, 2021
In the next Solari Report, John Moody returns to the Food Series for Part II of Homesteading. In our interview, John shares his advice on how to raise livestock, including the recommended infrastructure and feed for poultry, goats, sheep, hogs, and cattle. He discusses how rebuilding the homestead ecosystem can increase the amount of livestock feed you get from the natural environment, and how perennial permaculture can improve nutrient density.
John also covers beekeeping and discusses how to maximize water availability and use through ponds, swales, and cisterns. Finally, he offers his minimalist approach to owning equipment for his farm and describes sources of fuel for the homestead.
Solari Food Series: Homesteading (Part I) with John Moody – May 13, 2021
This past year we’ve witnessed a decrease in the quality and reliability of our conventional food supply as well as of our medical system. Homesteading and growing our own food and medicines can help counter both of these developments.
My guest for this Solari Food Series audiocast is again John Moody, who lives on a 35-acre farm in Kentucky and has been homesteading there for the last 12 years. He consults with homesteaders around the country and is a popular speaker on this topic at conferences such as the Mother Earth News Fairs. He is also the author of several books including The Frugal Homesteader.
In our interview, John talks about various aspects of homesteading and describes steps homesteaders can take to be successful, whether they live in the countryside, a suburb, or even an urban area. Among other topics, John offers advice on how to start up a homestead as well as how to build soil and deal with pests, weeds, and other threats to the harvest. He also covers what it takes to grow high-quality produce, how to negotiate current seed shortages, and how to efficiently use the growing space you have or set up an indoor growing system.
Solari Food Series: Synthetic Food with Sally Fallon Morrell – April 5, 2021
The quality and transparency of food in the conventional system are on an accelerating decline. A goal of the ruling establishment is to significantly reduce our consumption of meat and dairy products; towards that end, big food is heavily marketing cell-cultured and plant-based substitutes for real meat even though demand for the former is sparse at best. In tandem with that development are the continued use of toxic additives such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) with intentionally deficient labeling laws that fail to inform consumers when these toxins are in food products we purchase. USDA is increasing the lack of transparency by indicating it will be eliminating label disclosure requirements for irradiated meat and poultry.
The decline in quality and transparency of our food supply, along with the pharmaceutical model of healthcare, has led to an epidemic of chronic disease that is only getting bigger.
Sally Fallon Morell, the founder and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), has tracked developments in the production and distribution of synthetic food for over 20 years. She joins the Solari audiocast to discuss what’s actually in some of the foods that industry and media market as healthy, as well as labeling deceptions regarding harmful ingredients in our food supply. Sally has frequently said she doesn’t talk about a problem without providing a solution; her remedy for the minefields in the industrial food supply is to buy as much of your food as possible from a farmer and or local artisan you know and trust.
Solari Food Series: Protecting Your Fresh Food Supply with Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s Alexia Kulwiec – March 18, 2021
Catherine Austin Fitts says, “What good is having assets if you don’t have an army to protect them?” The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) should be part of your army. Launched on Independence Day in 2007, for the past 14 years FTCLDF has been protecting the rights of farmers, local artisan food producers, and consumers to engage in direct commerce. The day-to-day goal of FTCLDF’s work is to create as favorable a regulatory climate as possible for small farmers and local artisans with the long-term goal of establishing a food system in which people have the right to obtain the food of their choice from the source of their choice. FTCLDF levels the playing field for small producers of nutrient-dense food, protecting them against government harassment and depletion of their resources through government initiation of judicial and administrative proceedings against family farms. When FTCLDF represents a farmer in a court case, the farmer typically has no cost for representation beyond annual membership dues.
FTCLDF works in the courts, legislatures, and bureaucracies at both the state and federal level to protect your freedom of food choice. It is a true grassroots organization, never having received any money from the government; the corporate contributions it receives are from small like-minded businesses. The bulk of its revenues come from membership fees and individual donations. FTCLDF is an organization that’s there for farmers and local artisans on a day-to-day basis whether it’s dealing with an enforcement action, writing contracts, facilitating food distribution, or helping to interpret applicable laws governing local food producers’ ability to make a living. The Legal Defense Fund helps members negotiate non-scalable food laws that threaten small producer viability.
In light of the deterioration of quality in the industrial food system, and the upheaval in that system since the onset of the COVID crisis, the work of FTCLDF is more important than ever. Executive Director Alexia Kulwiec joins the Solari Food Series audiocast to talk about some of the recent work of the Legal Defense Fund as well as why it’s important to support the FTCLDF to protect your sources of fresh food.
Solari Food Series: Rogue Food — An Interview with John Moody – February 04, 2021
At a time when access to real, fresh, and healthy food is about to become a top priority for more and more consumers, it is important to understand some of the issues local producers are facing, and the options available that could benefit all.
This is actually what the “rogue food” movement is about: Finding ways for local food producers and distributors to avoid burdensome regulatory requirements, while remaining compliant with the law. A famous example is how farmers have been able to legally distribute raw milk by selling an ownership interest in any dairy animal(s) when the sale of raw milk is prohibited under state law.
The current regulatory environment is clearly the biggest obstacle to success for small farmers and other local food producers. State and federal laws such as the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Federal Meat Inspection Act governing our food production system create barriers to entry for small producers.
Join me for an enlightening interview with farmer, homesteader, author, speaker, and activist John Moody, who will talk about his experience with rogue food. John runs the Whole Life Food Buyers Club in Louisville, Kentucky, a successful operation providing its members quality food. He will also talk about the highly successful 2020 Rogue Food Conference he organized, an event featuring farmers from around the country speaking about their utilization of rogue food concepts, and the plans he has for the 2021 conference.
Solari Food Series: Food Sovereignty One Town at a Time with Heather Retberg – November 12, 2020
During these chaotic times, a major challenge for most of us will be having access to quality food and being able to exercise the right to obtain the food of our choice from the sources of our choice. Crucial to protecting this right are laws that deregulate food production and distribution—especially laws that allow for the unregulated sale of food direct from local producers to consumers. Unregulated sales from farmer to consumer were long part of this country’s rural tradition, but something started changing in the 20th century when federal and state legislation ensnared family farmers in a regulatory scheme created due to problems that were not of the farmers’ own making.
In recent years, most of the success in creating legal protection for unregulated direct food commerce has occurred at the state level, but there is a big exception to that trend—Maine. In that state, over 80 towns have passed the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance (LFCSGO), a model ordinance allowing unregulated direct sales from producers to consumers within the boundary of localities that have passed the LFCSGO.
Unassuming, respectful but very persistent, and not afraid to push the envelope, Heather Retberg was instrumental in the passage of the 2017 Maine Food Sovereignty Act, a landmark bill giving the state’s towns and cities the power to preempt conflicting state legislation with the passage of ordinances allowing unregulated local producer-to-consumer commerce. Prior to the 2017 law, 20 towns had already passed the LFCSGO, even though there was likely not a court in the state that would have ruled that those ordinances controlled over any conflicting state regulations. Retburg was at the center of forcing the issue of local food autonomy, eventually convincing the state legislature to recognize food sovereignty town by town.
In this week’s interview, Retberg talks about the tremendous progress Maine food sovereignty has made, the obstacles it has overcome along the way, and what others elsewhere can do to achieve similar successes.
Solari Food Series: Elizabeth Rich – In the Trenches with FTCLDF – September 17, 2020
The mission of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to engage in direct commerce—something that is more important than ever given the recent Covid-related upheaval with our food supply and the accelerating deterioration of quality in the conventional food system.
FTCLDF levels the playing field, making it more difficult for government agencies to deplete the resources of small family farms through enforcement actions.
FTCLDF is a true grassroots organization that has never taken a dime from the government. It relies mainly on membership fees and donations from individuals for its revenues.
The day-to-day work of FTCLDF is aimed at creating as favorable a regulatory climate as possible for small farmers and local artisan food producers. The long-term goal of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has been to establish the rights of all individuals to obtain the food of their choice from the source of their choice regardless of whether that source is licensed or regulated by the government. The best way to achieve that goal has been by making progress at the state level. A key part of that strategy has been to find a skilled litigator in each state who is not afraid to take on difficult cases and stand up to regulators.
No one better fits that description than Wisconsin attorney Elizabeth Rich. For the past 11 years, Elizabeth has worked for FTCLDF as both a staff attorney and local counsel. She has successfully worked both in and outside the courtroom to help extricate farmers from what often looked to be hopeless situations, improving their ability to make a living and, sometimes, ensuring their ability to make a living at all. In this interview, Elizabeth talks about memorable cases she has worked on and the importance of FTCLDF in protecting access to foods of our choice.
Those interested in supporting FTCLDF may donate online at www.farmtoconsumer.org or call 703-208-3276.
Officially, Congressman Tom Massie represents Kentucky’s fourth district; unofficially, he is the Congressman for the local food movement in this country. The biggest weakness by far in local food systems around the U.S. is the lack of slaughterhouses to handle the demand for locally produced meat. Representative Massie is addressing that problem by being the lead sponsor of the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act, also known as the PRIME Act (H.R. 2859 / S.1620).
We now have a broken system where four meat packers control over 80% of the beef production in this country and four meat packers control 2/3 of the pork production.
Under current law, meat can only be sold if a state or federal inspector was present when the animal the meat came from was slaughtered and processed. Animals can be slaughtered and processed at custom facilities (referred to by Massie as “local processors” during the podcast) without an inspector being present, but the meat from those animals can only go to the owner(s) of the animals at the time of slaughter. Custom facilities are less expensive to build and operate than federal and state inspected slaughterhouses and also have a great track record for food safety. The PRIME Act would give States the option of passing laws allowing for the sale of custom slaughtered and processed meat in intrastate commerce, providing at least some relief from the current slaughterhouse shortage.
The logjam at slaughterhouses for small livestock farmers has gotten much worse since the onset of Covid-19. Skyrocketing demand by consumers purchasing direct from the farm has led to meat producers having to book out as far as 2022 to get their animals processed. Many livestock farmers face the prospect of going out of business unless there is an increase now in the number of available slaughterhouses to meet the growing demand for meat direct from the farm.
Those states that have laws favorable to the local food system generally have a champion in the legislature protecting and expanding the rights of small farmers, local artisans, and their patrons. In Tennessee that individual has been state senator Frank Niceley, a fifth generation cattle farmer, who is largely responsible for creating one of the more favorable regulatory climates in the country for the family farm. If a Tennessee farmer is having a problem with an inspector, Frank is often one of the first calls the farmer makes.
With his command of the issues, knowledge of history, and his ability to form successful strategies for changing the law, Niceley has removed one regulatory roadblock after another confronting small farmers in Tennessee. In this podcast, Niceley discusses his role in the development of the PRIME Act, why big Ag and little Ag can coexist, his legislative victories, and how to effectively convince legislators to support your cause.
There are two food systems: industrial and local. The stronger the local food system is, the better off individual health, food safety, food security, and the rural economy all are. The regulatory climate is the biggest reason there is not a more prosperous local food system; there are too many one-size-fits-all laws where small farmers and local artisans can’t afford the cost of compliance. The best way to strengthen the local food system is by deregulating local food commerce, especially by allowing for unregulated transactions.
The best place to accomplish that goal has been in the state legislatures.
In Utah, the mother-daughter team of Symbria and Sara Patterson have led a revolution over the past five years in working to pass numerous food and agricultural laws, helping to establish a much more favorable climate for local food producers to operate in. The Pattersons explain how they have navigated opposition from agribusiness and state regulators to achieve their success.
Solari Food Series: Poultry with Bill Niman – November 22, 2018
This week on The Solari Report we publish our next episode of the Food Series, in which Harry Blazer interviews Bill Niman in the third part of a fascinating three-part series with two of the most knowledgeable leaders in fresh food markets in America today. The first two parts of this series were Hog Heaven and the Godfather of Grass-Fed. As millions of people in the United States and Canada this week sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, it is appropriate that this episode will cover poultry.
Solari Food Series: Your Dentist and Your Health with Dr. Andrew Killgore – November 01, 2018
There is no aspect of food left unexplored by Harry Blazer. So it was only a matter of time until he pulled an outstanding dentist into his orbit for a new episode of the Food Series.
This coming week on the Solari Report, Dr. Andrew Killgore will join Harry for a discussion of dental health. This fascinating discussion will inspire you to improve your dental health and enjoy a stronger relationship with your dentist.
Solari Food Series: Navigating Organics with Ronnie Cummins – September 13, 2018
This week on The Solari Report, Harry Blazer interviews Ronnie Cummins, co-founder and International Director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and its Mexican affiliate Via Organica.
The OCA is a non-profit, U.S.-based network of 2 million consumers, dedicated to safeguarding organic standards and promoting a healthy, just, and sustainable system of agriculture and commerce.
This Thursday, Harry Blazer interviews an outstanding leader in the world of fresh food, intelligent agriculture and a human future, Dr. Miguel Atieri.
Dr. Altieri is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley. He has extensive knowledge and experience working with farmers and students throughout North and South America.
Solari Food Series: Bill Niman – The Godfather of Grass-Fed – February 15, 2018
This week on The Solari Report, Harry Blazer interviews the legendary Bill Niman, owners and operator of Bill and Nicolette Niman’s Farm in Bolinas, California.
Bill was the founder of a number of companies involved in the production and processing of pasture-raised meat products, two of which continue to operate today – Niman Ranch and BN Ranch. Bill has set the standard for good husbandry practices and quality of finished product in the pasture-raised domain. The pork, beef and turkey products that continue to bear his name have become the preferred fare of some of the best chefs and connoisseurs in the United States. The proof is in the pudding – I have been eating Bill’s meats since 2005 and sending them as special gifts to friends and family.
Solari Food Series: Dr. Don Huber – Food Patriot – February 01, 2018
This week in the next segment for the Food Series on The Solari Report, Harry Blazer will speak to Dr. Don Huber, a retired colonel of US military intelligence, a professor and a scientist.
Solari Food Series: Nourishing Traditions with Sally Fallon Morell & Harry Blazer – December 14, 2018
Harry Blazer had the opportunity to interview Sally Fallon Morell, Co-founder and President of the Weston A Price Foundation, at the annual conference in Minneapolis in November.
Solari Food Series: Christopher Mann – The Legacy Interviews – September 14, 2017
Christopher Mann is a man for all seasons.
Born in London to parents who were anthroposophists – followers of Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy – Chris studied and worked in England and Switzerland. In 1980, he and his Swiss wife Martina moved to the United States. They bought farmland in East Troy, Wisconsin and created the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute to promote research and education to support biodynamic farming in the United States.
Solari Food Series: Amazon Buys Whole Foods with Harry Blazer – August 03, 2017
This week on The Solari Report, Harry Blazer joins me to discuss the most significant acquisition of 2017 to date – Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
Solari Food Series: A Culinary History of Christmas – December 15, 2016
Christmas is my favorite time of year.
This past year was so worrisome serious that I wanted to celebrate the holiday season with something joyful and delicious. So I invited Harry Blazer to regale us with stories of his favorite holiday food traditions. I can’t tell you which ones Harry has chosen for this coming Thursday night – he insisted that it be a surprise! I will share mine too.
Solari Food Series: Francois Vecchio – Charcutier, Salumiere, Wurstmeister – November 24, 2016
This week on the Solari Report we publish our next addition to the Food Series with Harry Blazer – a four part interview with Francois Vecchio
Francois has more than 60 years of experience in the meat industry – specializing in French, German, Italian and Spanish traditional meat craftsmanship.
Solari Food Series: The Future of Biodynamic and Organic Farming – September 20, 2016
This week, Harry Blazer interviews David Andrews, the executive director of the Michael Fields Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Michael Fields was founded by my good friends Christopher and Martina Mann to promote biodynamic agriculture in the United States through education and research. Biodynamic agriculture is an approach first developed in central Europe in the early 20th century as a result of Rudolf Steiner‘s Agriculture Course.
Solari Food Series: Vital Soils – The Foundation of Life, Part II – September 09, 2016
Harry Blazer returns this week with two great interviews from the Michael Fields Agriculture Institute and their biodynamic networks in East Troy Wisconsin. The first — The Future of Biodynamic and Organic Farming — is a fascinating discussion with Institute executive director David Andrews.
His second interview is with biodynamic soil expert Angela L Curtes, the past acting executive director of Yggdrasil Land Foundation, who currently owns and runs Grounded LLC , a compost and land preservation business. Angela serves as visiting farm staff at Michael Fields. The discussion with Angela is Part II of “Vital Soils – The Foundation of Life”.
Solari Food Series: Pioneering Urban Farms with Will Allen – August 25, 2016
This week Harry Blazer returns with his interview of Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power, in Milwaukee.
When you listen to Will Allen, you will hear a man modest in his presentation. But make no mistake — what he is attempting is essential – to make entrepreneurial urban farming work.
Solari Food Series: Vital Soils – The Foundation of Life, Part I – July 30, 2016
Harry Blazer continues the Solari Report Food Series this week with “Vital Soils – the Foundation of Life,” a fascinating interview with Rick Freeman of Grow Ecology about the soil that gives us life. This is the first part of a two-part interview on soil.