Food, food wars, and ag-tech are a growing area of interest in cleantech.  So I’m on a bunch of ag and food related mailing lists. But when I first read the one email I got yesterday – texted post below – I thought I was reading a really bad version of The Onion.



What the hell are people doing on someone’s farm with their cameras that convinces an ag company to spend lobbying dollars getting an ag-gag bill passed?

Has no one heard of trespassing?  I have to say, if random people started stopping and wandering across my land without asking snapping pictures, I’d be mildly annoyed.  And if they then were taking pictures so they could use them to cause me some sort of economic losses.  Damn I’d be calling the police and using those pictures as evidence of the trespassing.

1) Doesn’t trespassing already cover most of this?

2) How bad have you been ticking people off that they want laws passed for photographs?

3) Why are you emailing me this crap from the SLOW FOOD USA list? I barely tolerate your normal emails.

4) Are you really emailing me asking me to go trespass?

5) Do you not think small farmers and ranchers would be as ticked about you trespassing just as much as large ones?


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Dear Supporter,

Last week 22,000 people told legislators that taking photos of farms should not be a crime. Since then, one of these “ag-gag” bills failed in Florida. But Iowa votes today, and Minnesota isn’t far behind.

Now is a critical time to voice our opposition to the legislators in those states.

Sign our petition and stand up for transparency and the right to take pictures of farms. »

You can read more about it below.

Imagine if taking photos of farms were illegal — and the photographer was subject to fines and possibly jail time. If Big Ag got its way, that’s exactly what would happen. Right now they’re pushing legislators in Minnesota, Florida, and Iowa to criminalize taking photos or videos of their facilities.[1]

I guess industrial agriculture has something to hide. Maybe it’s the way factory farms mistreat workers, animals, and the environment.

The clock is ticking — Iowa’s legislation could pass an important hurdle as soon as next week. If we can raise a big enough stink, we can stop this state-based legislation from spreading nationwide.

Sign our petition and stand up for transparency and the right to take pictures of farms. »

But that’s not all. We don’t just want to stop Big Ag’s attempt to restrict consumers’ right to know — we also want to use this as an opportunity to lift up the good, clean and fair farmers who like consumers to come and see exactly how their food is produced.

So join the farmarazzi! In the next few days we’ll be calling on you for help. Plan a visit to a nearby farm (or just step outside, farmers) because we’ll be holding a contest for the best farm photos, and sending a flipbook of the winning photos to the legislators in question. Can’t wait to get started? Share your favorite farm photos by uploading and posting them on our Facebook wall here:

Jerusha Klemperer
Slow Food USA

3 replies
  1. Brent
    Brent says:

    Transparency is the enemy of modern industrial food production – many fewer people would eat (factory farmed) meat, in particular, if they saw more images of how it was produced. Obviously current trespassing laws aren’t providing big ag with sufficient “protection” against the interlopers who would expose their operations to the world – a fact which in itself should tell you something about the dynamics at play here.

    My experience with small farmers, in general, is that they are happy to talk about what they do and show people where their food is coming from. For many farmer’s market customers, this connection to the farm and the farmer is a big part of the draw. It’s the big boys who have something to hide, and who have the deep pockets needed to buy tailor made laws to keep the grotesque images of their operations out of the public eye.

    And for what it’s worth, I’m not a vegetarian. I even eat factory farmed meat on occasion, though the majority of my meat comes from pastured operations or home production (chickens and rabbits). But I make my choices in full awareness of what they mean, and of what goes on “behind the scenes”. Everyone should have that opportunity.

  2. @ieatreal
    @ieatreal says:

    I started a small farm — it's open to the public. Farm photos? For farms on the up-and-up, that's called marketing.

    People snap photos of farms (and yes, trespass) to capture the grime, filth, abuse, neglect, and horror that happens. For me, the real moral trespass is the total disregard for our health & food safety of these so-called farmers.

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