Opt Out, a New Frontier?

Opt Out!

When we moved to Tennessee we knew that farmers markets would be a large portion of our income. They are a fringe economy, the last frontier in an increasingly commercialized society. Farmers markets aren’t perfect but they are something we like to do and it fits our lifestyle. When I say it fits our lifestyle I think I should clarify how that is important for us. I want our readers to understand our philosophy and the reason why we have been leery to share our life with others.

The best way I can explain this is a quote relayed to us by an acquaintance of ours.

“We don’t need a law against McDonald’s or a law against slaughterhouse abuse–we ask for too much salvation by legislation. All we need to do is empower individuals with the right philosophy and the right information to opt out en masse.”

-Joel Salatin

We feel strongly about this, it is important for us to communicate that we have our reasons for feeling this way. We aren’t crazy, or preppers or anarchists. We just see the writing on the wall for people like us. How do I mean? Both Allie and I loathe red tape, I have filled out so many forms in my life that not only felt useless but as it turns out they were.


During the rule of Barack Obama well over 20,000 regulations were written and enacted. Just in food how many of these regulations are necessary?  If I have a cow, I can’t sell you raw milk! If I raise chickens for meat in Tennessee then I can safely process 10,000 chickens a year, but 10,001… not okay. Apparently that last one would be the one that carries salmonella, but the first 10 k are fine!

I’m aware that there are contradictory feelings regarding our stances on regulations. “Raw milk can kill you” would be an example of that. Let me be clear, if you want to be regulated that is your choice. We want the choice to opt out of regulations. If I decide to drink a gallon of raw milk and choke down two pounds of farm processed bacon (illegal in most places) and a half dozen un-refrigerated eggs, that should be my choice or yours if you want.

Choices-Mine to Make?

We understand the implications if people get sick from the food they eat. However a person makes a choice to trust the food chain they are engaging in. A lot of regulations regarding the production of food exist because of the industrialized process of production. The anecdote of the farmer taking great care in their food production is not a myth. I’ve witnessed it first hand. Being a farmer isn’t just hard work. The impediment of regulations prevent value added products, innovation and ability to scale a farm up.

I want those reading to relate to what I’m saying but some of you are skeptical. That is OK, be skeptical just don’t include me in your regulations. It isn’t for us, we choose to opt out. You don’t have to but we have chosen freedom of choice. Unfortunately that isn’t how regulations work, so we have to use a USDA processing facility. These facilities have challenges:

  • Six hour round trip (Twelve hours of driving total)
  • Has questionable delivery systems (you may not receive your own meat)
  • Costs a pretty penny
  • Is always booked up, up to four months out.

What is acceptable for you…

I am not here to lecture anyone about what they should do, I am just defining that some of us would prefer the freedom to choose. To opt out of the life that the elite class have defined as acceptable. This isn’t just about the food chain, there are many aspects that affect people all around the country who are consciously uncoupling from modern materialism, regulations and the commercialism of life. We see the catastrophic impact of that society is foisting on the populace.

“Americans… are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

I often fantasize about the virgin wilderness that the explorers found. I’m sure life was hard without modern conveniences and history has shown many died from the trials. They also didn’t have the impediment of government bearing down on every aspect of their life. They were as free as any person has ever been in the history of man. I for one would relish the chance to take the risk of a new frontier. To die an explorer, a maven or a frontiersman would a life worth living.


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