For those of us with a passion for providing authentic food, how do we accomplish this in an age of ever-growing government rules, regulations, and restrictions? By going rogue. Now, rogue does not mean illegal, or illicit although many conjure this image when they hear the term. So, let’s define it. To go rogue: to start behaving in a way that is not normal or expected. Most dictionaries make mention of these behaviors causing harm. Joining this Rogue Food Movement will do damage, but only to the current power structure. They cannot control the people if they cannot control the food. The simplest example of this can be found throughout Texas.
Prohibition of alcohol ended ninety years ago, yet five counties in Texas remain completely dry, meaning sales are still prohibited. There are flourishing bars and restaurants selling alcohol of all kinds throughout these areas. How? Private Members Associations, also known as private clubs. Generally speaking, PMAs are outside the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal agencies and their rules and regulations, unless the PMA presents a clear and present danger of substantive evil. This legal exemption exists because a private club is comprised of citizens practicing their natural and God given right to assemble. This right is safe guarded by the first amendment to the constitution of the United States of America, and reenforced by Supreme Court rulings describing the right to associate as inseparable from the right to free speech.
PMAs are also afforded the same constitutional rights as citizens. Therefore, the goings on within and among the members of a Private Members Association have the prosecutorial protections of the fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments.
Some may question the categorization of providing authentic food as constitutionally protected speech and assembly. However, Mr. Justice Black made the argument in his opinion after ruling on Mine Workers V. Illinois Bar Association (389 U.S. 217) in 1967, that “rights of assembly are not solely religious or political ones and the rights of free speech and a free press are not confined to ANY FIELD OF HUMAN INTEREST.” Now recall, that the right to associate is inseparable from the right of free speech.
The last couple of years we have been witness to the fragility of our entire just in time food system. From labor shortages, product bottlenecks, cyber-attacks, and catastrophic shutdowns with no end in sight. The decentralized approach of private member associations would open up time slots in processing facilities that are booked up for years, would give farmers the freedom to soften the blow from losses should previously mentioned woes repeat themselves, and ensure our communities food security.
The shorter the supply chain, the more food security we have. The closer we are to our food, the closer we become as a community. Let us all become pirates and build the Rogue Food Network,