Will proposed national legislation kill the farmers market?


The Internet is abuzz with concern about the fate of farmer's markets under the newly proposed House Bill 875: Food and Safety Modernization Act of 2009. Many are alarmed that organic growers of local produce and even those gardening for themselves could be lumped in with commercial food vendors, calling them to meet new requirements for processes, record-keeping, and inspections.

I spoke with a spokesperson for Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro of Connecticut, who introduced the bill. The spokesperson assured me that the bill does not apply to vendors at farmer's markets, and therefore will not change the way this business runs. It is meant to address food sold in supermarkets.

A press release from DeLauro's office states, "There is no language in the bill that would result in farmers markets being regulated, penalized by any fines, or shut down. Farmers markets would be able to continue to flourish under the bill. In fact, the bill would insist that imported foods meet strict safety standards to ensure that unsafe imported foods are not competing with locally-grown foods."