On this 4th of July weekend, Americans celebrate their freedoms. Freedom from the oppressive rule, freedom from taxation without representation and freedom from laws that limit personal rights and the ability to pursue individual passions.
But as this country celebrates life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it also flirts with the idea of limiting the freedom of people to eat how and what they like. A certain segment of the population doesn’t believe in personal dietary choices and instead wants to severely limit how our food is raised and what we consume. These people do not want genetically modified crops grown, herbicides applied to kill invasive weeds or new machinery and tools utilized to better track water, pesticides and crop nutrient applications. These activists believe our country is better off producing food like we did before our independence from England, before we had more than 6 billion mouths of feed and before we realized the life-saving benefits of GMOs and modern farming practices.
The beauty of life in America is the freedom to do and be what you what. But when people force their believes on others, they are impeding on others’ freedom to choose. Removing technology from our food system and the agriculture industry removes choices and opportunities for consumers both locally and around the globe. Walk into any grocery store and you have the the ability to chose beef or beets, organic or conventional and locally raised or grown halfway around the world, all because of a modernized and diverse agriculture industry.
America is the most food-secure country in the world and we, as consumers, have the ability to enjoy what we like, when we like. Consumers must fight to keep those choices available and allow farmers to use the practices and technologies they know are best for their farms.
On this holiday weekend, we should celebrate the hard working men and women who made our BBQs, beers and pasta salads possible. We must continue to fight to retain our food security, product diversity and freedom to chose how and what we eat. Happy 4th of July all!