Sedgwick, Maine is first town to declare total food sovereignty, opposing state and federal laws


There is a food revolution taking hold all over America, whether it is in the  form of demanding labeling of GM foods, the right to produce and sell raw milk  and other commodities, or – in the case of Sedgwick, Maine – declaring all local  food transactions of any kind free and legal.

According to the website, Sedgwick is the first city in the U.S. to free itself  from the constraints of federal and state food regulation. Published reports say  the town has passed an ordinance that gives its citizens the right “to produce,  sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing,” regulations be  damned. The ordinance includes raw milk, meats that are slaughtered locally, all  produce and just about anything else you might imagine.

And what’s more,  three additional towns in Maine are expected to take up similar ordinances soon,  said the

Gee – good, ol’ fashioned  buyer-seller agreements?

Observers of the Sedgwick ordinance say it  is much more than just “statement” legislation. Writes blogger David Grumpert,  at

This isn’t just a declaration of  preference. The proposed warrant added, “It shall be unlawful for any law or  regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the  rights recognized by this Ordinance.” In other words, no state licensing  requirements prohibiting certain farms from selling dairy products or producing  their own chickens for sale to other citizens in the town.

What about  potential legal liability and state or federal inspections? It’s all up to the  seller and buyer to negotiate. “Patrons purchasing food  for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or  processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that  food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and  inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in  effect.” Imagine that-buyer and seller can agree to cut out the lawyers. That’s  almost un-American, isn’t it?

According to Deborah Evans, a Sedgwick  citizen, the ordinance further states:

(1) Producers or processors of  local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection  provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a  patron when the food is sold for home consumption.

(2) Producers or  processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and  inspection provided that the products are prepared for, consumed or sold at a  community social event.

For those questioning the legality of the  ordinance – as in, it obviously circumvents state and federal  food laws – she notes:

[W]e the radicals who concocted this mutinous  act of infamy believe that according to the Home Rule provisions of our State  Constitution, the citizens of Sedgwick have the right to enact an ordinance that  is “local and municipal in character.”

‘It’s about  time’

Many of the local farmers say the ordinance is just what is  needed.

“This ordinance creates favorable conditions for beginning  farmers and cottage-scale food processors to try out new products, and to make  the most of each season’s bounty,” farmer Bob St. Peter told the website “My family is already working on some ideas we can do  from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going.”

“Tears of joy  welled in my eyes as my town  voted to adopt this ordinance,” said Sedgwick resident and local farm patron Mia  Strong. “I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our  fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.”

St. Peter, who is a  board member of the National Family Farm Council, a food  freedom advocacy group, notes that small farmers have a much tougher row to  hoe, especially in today’s economy, so they need the ability to sell their  products more freely.

“It’s tough making a go of it in rural America,” he  said. “Rural working people have always had to do a little of this and a little  of that to make ends meet. But up until the last couple generations, we didn’t  need a special license or new facility each time we wanted to sell something to  our neighbors. Small farmers and producers have been getting squeezed out in the  name of food safety, yet it’s the industrial food that is causing food borne  illness, not us.”


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