Meeting with Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor

I had a serendipitous chance to speak with Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor today at lunch, and all I can say is that we, as Coloradans, should be making time to actually sit down and have a conversation with our sheriff. Because it is incredibly informing and powerful.

 

When I asked Sheriff Taylor if he would be willing to answer a question for me he said, “Yes, that’s my job – I work for you”. He then proceeded to answer more questions and explain many of his challenges and hurdles as a Sheriff and what is so important for us, as citizens to understand – that, “it’s complicated”. And it is – and when the executive power of the county has the gumption and willingness to be honest about those challenges – it is informing and powerful. It is exactly the discussion we need to be having.

 

Sheriff Taylor expressed his willingness to sit down and speak with me again, and his willingness to speak to any citizen in Pueblo County. I asked about Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and he explained his support for the El Paso County resolution, but also expressed the fact that although this resolution expresses the position of the County, that the interpretation and enforcement coming from administrative agencies within the federal government can be quite complex.

 

What’s the solution? Take time to get to know your Sheriff. I was in awe of the fact that Sheriff Taylor sat down next to our table and spent his entire lunch answering my questions and expressing his desire to be a representative to all of the people of Pueblo County (not just Republicans, not just Democrats). I was impressed, and now have a much better grasp of some of the inherent issues for our Sheriff, and how down the road we can work harder as a community to solve these issues with our popularly-elected executor, Sheriff Kirk Taylor.

Food Freedom, Let's Fight Back!

When it comes to food freedom, and being able to eat whatever we like, as well as grow food for ourselves, our families, and our community, we have to be cognizant of the many (and increasing) regulatory agencies that are causing issues. Most of these regulations are statutory law (not common law or constitutional law), and therefore we can easily work at a local level to nullify (or get rid of) bad laws that make it impossible to eat good, healthy food.

 

Here are some examples of what we have come up against – do you have more to add and share with others?

 

 

An entrepreneur, who has been working on growing her dedicated following of people who want natural prepared meals and healthful alternatives to the central food supply, has encountered multiple hurdles when trying to both start and expand her operations.

 

  1. (LOCAL LICENSING FEES) She purchased a retail food license for a place ($250), but ended up having to move into a new location and was told she was going to have to purchase ANOTHER retail food license ($250) – this was after the Pueblo City County Health Department told her she would have to “get the facility up to code” even though it was a restaurant previously (the previous operators were operating for TWO YEARS not in code and were never fined or questioned).  And then, the license expires at the end of the year!  So she will have to purchase ANOTHER retail food license in January of 2013 ($250)!  That is a total of $750 for a retail food license for a small business that has not even technically started selling to the public through this retail food establishment yet!

 

  1. (FEDERAL REGULATION) She has a source of naturally-raised and USDA-processed chicken that her customers are eager to purchase.  The people who process these chickens are certified by all of the agencies necessary to show that the chickens have been handled and processed up to “code”. HOWEVER, she is not allowed to re-sell these chickens to her customers.  Why?  The Pueblo City-County Health Department has told her that the people raising the chickens themselves would have to be certified by the USDA (the time and cost for this is extensive – likely in the thousands of dollars/and months of delay by the end of it).  We are talking about between 20 and 30 chickens, raised by small-time farmers on their own land, taking them to a USDA-certified processing facility, with this type of regulation, no small farmer could ever afford to raise chickens.

 

  1. (LOCAL and FEDERAL REGULATIONS) She wanted to buy italian sausage from a local market and use it in her tortellini soup. That was NOT POSSIBLE! The local market can sell directly to the consumer, but as soon as they sell to this small-business-owner starting her business they need a wholesale license and to be inspected by the USDA – something that costs more and will take more time than what it is worth to either the small market or to the entrepreneur.

 

  1. (LOCAL and STATE REGULATIONS) Farmers can sell their eggs directly to the consumer on their farm, however, as soon as the farmer goes to take these eggs to a market (e.g. a farmers’ market), then there is a requirement for a license from the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), which includes the need for a home inspection. Even if it is one dozen eggs – 12 eggs – being taken to market – this licensing requirement exists and takes more time and money than the potential revenue and/or profit from selling the eggs. Our entrepreneur can sell those certified farm eggs in her storefront, but IS NOT ALLOWED TO USE THE EGGS IN HER RECIPES – the State says that all eggs served to the public must be pasteurized – a process that is not part of the regular operations of selling eggs from the farm directly to consumers.

 

  1. (LOCAL REGULATION) Another, separate entrepreneur was interested in starting a co-op, or community-supported-agriculture (CSA) operation in town (Pueblo). She went to the Pueblo Regional Building Department to be “approved” to have this. She also went to purchase the required business license to be able to operate. She was told that she could not be approved to do have this type of operation in the City, but to keep trying. She would have been able to grow local food for 10-15 families, but it was determined by the City that she could not grow food in town. She was never able to start her small urban farm.

 

Small, local, micro producers should never be held to the same “laws” as large multi-national companies that lobby Congress to create these atrocious rules and regulations (what they call “law”) that eventually stop small producers from producing.  Follow the money.  You can see that most of our representatives in Congress have got there through the very money that ends up creating “laws” that hurt small farmers, entrepreneurs, and producers of food products.  It is people’s natural and unalienable right to consume products that they want to and exchange those products amongst each other.  There are no laws that can stop people who grow food or raise animals from getting those to willing consumers who are willing to purchase those items.

 

It is our natural right to grow food, consumer food, and exchange food. If anyone EVER tells you differently, remind them that you have the power of the Constitution behind you, and that you are capable of acting locally, even getting your local county sheriff involved, to protect your food freedom.

 

In Food Freedom,

Tisha Casida – That’s Natural!

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