Originally published October 28 2010
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture race pivotal for national food and farm freedom
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) If you don't live in Iowa, the name Francis Thicke may not mean much to you. But the candidate for Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture has a lot in store for reforming industrial agriculture in the "Food Capital of the World" if he's elected. And whatever happens in the Midwestern state's seemingly-localized race will make all the difference in steering the political climate of the entire U.S. as it concerns food and farm freedom.
An organic dairy farmer for the past 27 years, Francis Thicke (pronounced "Tick-ee") knows a thing or two about local, sustainable farming. His famed Radiance Dairy is loved by locals and others for its fresh and highly-nutritious milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream, that comes from cows that graze on pastures. He is a scientist with a PhD in agronomy and a masters in soil science. And he and his family love raw milk, even though the taboo food is illegal in his home state.
So why should Thicke's bid for Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa matter to those who live in the other 49 U.S. states? According to Robert Kenner, director of the movie Food, Inc. (http://www.foodincmovie.com/), Thicke will be "a game changer who can fix our agricultural system," which is largely influenced by what happens in Iowa. And this makes sense when considering that Iowa is heavily dominated by corporate agriculture (Big Ag) that squelches competition, encourages monopolistic control over food and farming, and destroys the environment with toxic pesticides and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).
Iowa's current Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, is a good friend of Big Ag, having narrowly won his last election for the seat with the help of his buddies at Monsanto, Syngenta, Archer Daniels Midland, and others (http://www.followthemoney.org/database/State...). And while Francis Thicke was working hard to produce local, farm-fresh food that continues to strengthen the local economy in Iowa, Northey was busy leading a team that invested $1 million in ethanol production endeavors in Brazil -- which has nothing to do with the economic and agricultural interests of Iowa.
According to a recent piece in The Huffington Post, Iowa currently imports 90 percent of its food, even though the state is one of the largest agricultural producers in the nation. Many of Iowa's agriculture policies favor this type of system, and have been ushered through because of crooked politicians like Northey that pander to corporate interests -- and these same policies have become a national standard as well. That's primarily why this current race is so important, because if things change in Iowa, they change in the U.S.
Thicke's vision for Iowa -- and for the nation -- stems from the very same things he is already doing on his own farm. Besides utilizing a unique cow pasturing program that "mimics the prairiegrass/bison ecology that contributed to building the Midwest's deep, fertile prairie soils," Thicke's dairy farm also powers its water system with solar energy. Thicke's entire ideology stems from principles that promote good land and animal stewardship, natural and sustainable methods of production, and localized economic growth through small-scale farming -- all things that serve the best interests of real people rather than corporate giants.
Thicke even wrote his own book that deals with these subjects called A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century. You can download the e-book version for free and see what this guy is all about: http://c2494932.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspaceclou....
One of the most important things Thicke will bring to the table if elected is fresh blood in agricultural politics. Agri-giants like Monsanto are known for placing their own people in key political positions that end up benefiting corporate interests rather than public interests. And Iowa's current Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, is one such tool in Big Ag's toolbox to maintain the status quo.
But if Northey is unseated, the local and national political climate concerning food and farming will be a significant step closer to real reform. In fact, one of Thicke's first priorities is to work towards legalizing raw milk in the state, a hot-button issue that sets an important precedent for food freedom in general.
"Iowa has one of the most restrictive laws against raw milk in the nation. No raw milk sales are allowed, even on the farm. If I am elected, I intend to work with the legislature to try to get a bill passed to allow raw milk sales to consumers who come to a farm to buy the milk," he said. "If we could get that passed, it would be a big step forward."
Getting Francis Thicke elected as Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture will benefit not only Iowans, but all Americans. His vision to restore the food and farm freedom that has been lost and bring new vitality to local farming and the "slow" food movement has the potential to revolutionize America's current, toxic system of unsustainable agriculture.
One way you can help Francis Thicke get elected is to donate to his campaign (http://www.thickeforagriculture.com/how-to-d...). And if you donate $20 or more, Thicke will send you a free hard copy of his book.
And for the next 48 hours, all contributions to Thicke's campaign up to $25,000 will be doubled, thanks to a generous offer from one of his campaign supporters (http://www.thickeforagriculture.com/2010/10/...).
But most importantly of all, spread the news about Francis Thicke to everyone you know who cares about health and food freedom. Help Thicke to go "viral" by sharing this article with friends and family, or directing people to his campaign homepage (http://www.thickeforagriculture.com/), which contains information and YouTube videos about him.
If you're looking for a practical way to promote food freedom and ultimately influence national policy for the better, this is it. Far more powerful than simply signing a petition, helping key candidates like Francis Thicke get elected is the bread and butter of instigating real reform. Whoever wins this important election will have considerable influence on Congressional decisions concerning food and farming.
Sources for this story include:
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