By Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham
To the Editor:
People of Maine, I am writing to urge each of you to vote “yes” in support of Question 3 this Nov. 2. Question 3, or the “Right to Food,” as it’s called, is a constitutional amendment to protect the individual’s right to grow and produce your own food for you and your family’s well-being. It is a right we may be grateful to have in the future, just like our other constitutional rights.
For full transparency, this is how the amendment will read in Maine’s constitution if it passes:
“Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.”
As the bill’s sponsor in the Legislature, I can say with absolute fact that there is no “fine print” as some others have suggested. Truth be told, some of the claims coming from the opposition are at best a complete ignorance of the difference between a constitutional amendment and a statute, and at worst are specious lies. It’s one sentence long, explicitly enumerating our individual right to grow, raise, harvest and consume the food of our own choosing. There are even important provisions to explicitly outlaw harmful and illegal activities.
Thomas Jefferson famously said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
If you agree with me that our rights come from our Creator, then you should agree with me that we can’t rely on the fallacy of government or mankind to protect this God-given right unless we pass Question 3 this Nov. 2.
I wholeheartedly believe that this would be the First Amendment in the United States Bill of Rights if the forefathers could’ve ever foreseen the potential we see today for government infringement of our food rights. I could give you a thousand examples of the dangers our farming, hunting and fishing rights face. A few recent examples are the PETA protest of the Lobster Festival, or the former bear hunting referendum led by the Humane Society, or the latest assertion that cows are bad for climate change. These voices have been increasing in recent years.
The FDA, our own government, tells us, “There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”
They also say, “[The] assertion of a fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health … is unavailing because [consumers] do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”
We need to act now, so that our children have the protection of the Constitution for their food freedom in the future.
When the people say “yes” on Nov. 2, they are saying Mainers will always be able to:
- Save and exchange seeds for their own use.
- Raise animals as we do now.
- Protect hunting and fishing under state management.
- Grow gardens, orchards and berries.
- Produce and consume the dairy products of our own choosing.
Mainers can protect their food freedom once and for all by supporting our “Right to Food.”
Republican Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham is the state representative for House District 136 and a commercial fisherman from Winter Harbor.