Farmarazzi! Action Alert: Take Photos of Farms While You Still Can

{photo taken by moi as part of my senior project at Cross Island Farms}

“A well managed farm has nothing to hide.” – Josh Viertel, President of Slow Food USA. But if Daniel Imhoff’s book CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories tells us anything, it’s that most farms do have something to hide.

{image courtesy of http://www.cafothebook.com}

So it’s no wonder that certain states are now considering a law that would make taking pictures of farms a criminal act. Yup, you read correctly: Legislators in Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota have proposed laws that claim unapproved photos of farms (i.e. the images in whistle-blowing outlets such as CAFO) misrepresent the industry and prove detrimental to the public’s perception of food production.

This is just plain horse manure. As Mark Bittman pointed out in an opinion piece for the Times, if farms were well-managed and humane in the first place, there wouldn’t be a need for such a reactive piece of legislation, “Videotaping at factory farms wouldn’t be necessary if the industry were properly regulated. But it isn’t.” The sad fact is that many of the farms that supply our supermarkets participate in the horrific abuses seen in CAFO.

On a wholesome farm, farmers revel in photographs of their healthy, happy animals and crops. Such were the reactions of the women farmers I interviewed and photographed last semester for my senior project. All the women happily agreed to not only having me and Noah snoop around their farms, but also allowing us to take photos. You can check out all my farm photos here.

In order to fight back against the pending legislation, Slow Food USA has started the tongue-in-cheek campaignFarmarazzi.” They’re encouraging individuals to get out to a farm, take a photo and then submit the photos to the Slow Food USA facebook page. From their blog:

Step 1: Sign the petition. Even if you’re you don’t live in Florida, Minnesota, or Iowa, your voice matters. These state laws would set a dangerous precedent that other states may choose to follow.

2. Join the farmarazzi! Head out to a farm, take a photo, and if the farmer is available, spend a few minutes getting her perspective on the impact this legislation would have if passed. Then upload your picture to our Facebook wall (or email it to campaigns@slowfoodusa.org) and take a look at what other people have posted there. You can also encourage your friends to “like” your photo—we’re working on a prize for the most popular shots.

So sign the petition, and get out and take some photos of farms!

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