In the realm of youthful activism, Calvin stands out as a beacon of hope for the future of our food system. At just five years old, he’s already a card-carrying member of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and he’s got a thing or two to say about the PRIME Act. This legislation, often overlooked, holds the keys to a more sustainable, diverse, and resilient food supply. Join us as we dive into Calvin’s whimsical world of advocacy and discover why he’s championing the PRIME Act.
A Little About Calvin and the Weston A. Price Foundation
Calvin isn’t your average kid. He’s got a discerning palate and an uncanny knack for distinguishing between factory-farmed blandness and the vibrant, nutrient-dense flavors championed by the Weston A. Price Foundation. This group, named after a visionary nutritionist who recognized the importance of traditional, whole foods, is Calvin’s tribe. They’re on a mission to revive time-honored food practices and promote the well-being of both humans and the planet.
The PRIME Act: Unshackling the Meat Industry
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the PRIME Act. Current regulations dictate that meat can only be sold if it’s processed at a facility under the watchful eye of a state or federal inspector. This seemingly well-intentioned rule, born from the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, has unwittingly paved the way for beef and pork industry oligopolies. Enter the PRIME Act, a game-changer that could spell salvation for small-scale, custom slaughter and processing facilities.
Calvin’s Take on the PRIME Act
Calvin may be just five, but he’s got a keen understanding of the stakes. With a twinkle in his eye, he’ll tell you that the PRIME Act isn’t just about letting inspectors off the hook; it’s about unlocking a world of culinary creativity and nourishing our communities in the process. Picture this: local farmers and ranchers finally able to sell their custom-raised meats directly to their neighbors without navigating a bureaucratic maze.
A Taste of Freedom: Custom Meat, Custom Choices
Calvin isn’t one to shy away from making his preferences known. He’ll eagerly explain how custom facilities, which don’t require a physical inspector on-site, have been unjustly sidelined. Under current regulations, only the animal owners can lay claim to the meat processed at custom houses, leaving a tantalizing treasure trove of flavor inaccessible to the rest of us. The PRIME Act aims to change all that, making custom meat sales legal within state borders.
Why the PRIME Act is Crucial for Survival
Calvin’s eyes gleam with determination when he talks about the bigger picture. He knows that for humanity to thrive, we need more than just sustenance; we need a diverse, decentralized food supply. The PRIME Act, by unshackling custom facilities from overbearing regulation, empowers local farmers and bolsters the resilience of our food system. It’s a beacon of hope in a world dominated by industrial giants.
A Beacon of Light in a Sea of Sameness
In Calvin’s world, food should be an adventure, not a monotonous march through sterile aisles. He envisions a future where every neighborhood has access to a tapestry of flavors, each reflecting the unique terroir and traditions of its origin. The PRIME Act, with its promise of accessible custom meat, is the key to unlocking this culinary utopia.
Calvin’s Call to Action
Calvin’s support for the PRIME Act isn’t about rebellion; it’s about reimagining a future where food is celebrated, not standardized. The Weston A. Price Foundation and its youngest member are leading the charge, reminding us all that change, even in the form of a small but mighty bill, can be the spark that ignites a food revolution. Join Calvin, and let’s embrace a future where flavor knows no bounds!
Action to Take
Call and/or email your U.S. Representative and both your U.S. Senators and ask to sign onto HR 2814 / S907, if they have not already done so (tap the bill links below to see list of cosponsors). Calls are best.
You can look up who represents you at https://www.congress.gov or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
1. Passage of the PRIME Act would better enable farmers to meet booming demand for locally produced meat. Right now in parts of the country, farmers have to book a slaughterhouse slot as much as 1-1/2 to 2 years out. Moreover, farmers often have to transport their animals several hours to a slaughterhouse, increasing their expenses and stressing out the animals which could affect the quality of the meat. Passage of the PRIME Act would significantly increase access to local slaughterhouses.
2. Passage of the PRIME Act would improve food safety. Anywhere from 95% to 99% of the meat produced in the U.S. is slaughtered in huge facilities that process 300–400 cattle an hour. It is difficult to have quality control in the plant under those conditions no matter how many inspectors are present. The records bear this out. According to CDC statistics from 2005–2020, there were thousands of foodborne illnesses from the consumption of beef and pork. The big plants process more animals in a day than a custom house would in a year. There is better quality control in a custom slaughterhouse, inspector or no inspector. A 2020 FOIA request to USDA, seeking the number of foodborne illnesses from 2012 to 2020 attributed to the consumption of meat slaughtered and processed at a custom facility received a response from USDA that it had no record of any such illnesses. Custom operators have every incentive to process clean meat. Where a lawsuit against a big plant is just a cost of doing business, one lawsuit can easily shut down a custom house.
3. Passage of the PRIME Act would improve food security. Supply chain breakdowns and labor shortages have made the food supply more vulnerable. Passage of the PRIME Act would improve food security by increasing the local supply of quality meat, food that for most of us is critical for a healthy diet.
4. Passage of the PRIME Act would not be competition to the conventional meat industry; the meatpacker and small farms have mostly different markets. One sells mainly into the export market and big supermarket chains; the other sells into local communities direct to consumers and small mom-and-pop stores.
5. Passage of the PRIME Act would keep more of the food dollar in the state and community. The big food corporations send much of the money they earn out of the state; more of the money that local farmers, ranchers and custom house operators earn would circulate within the state and community, strengthening the local economy.
6. The PRIME Act would create jobs. More custom slaughterhouse operations would start up if meat from those facilities could be sold by the cut. Many of the people who would be starting up a custom operation are not interested in operating a federally inspected slaughterhouse; both expenses and red tape are much greater for the latter.
7. The PRIME Act would improve animal welfare; most farmers would not have to transport their animals as far a distance if they could take them to a custom house. This would result in less potential for injury. Animals overall are treated more humanely in custom facilities than in USDA facilities, in many of which thousands of animals are slaughtered and processed per day.
8. Passage of the PRIME Act would benefit the environment by reducing the carbon footprint in the transport of animals to slaughterhouses. The majority of farmers live closer to a custom slaughterhouse than to an inspected facility.