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The Boston Globe

Lifestyle

alex beam

Eat free or die

Feeling fenced in, small farms claim the right to grow and sell their products outside regulatory bounds

Have you heard of the “food sovereignty’’ movement, sometimes called the “food rights’’ campaign? Its proponents, mainly small, independent farmers and their clientele, want to eat and sell the food they grow free from interference from state and federal regulators. They like to compare themselves to the civil rights crusaders of the 1960s. I’d call that a stretch, but you can make your own conclusions.

Everyone knows that cool trends - converting parking spaces into mini-parks, for instance - begin in California, but food sovereignty seems to have started in New England. Roughly a year ago, Sedgwick, Maine, enacted a “Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.’’ Invoking the Declaration of Independence and the Maine Constitution, the ordinance declared that “Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing. . . . We hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute a usurpation of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice.’’

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