In 2006, 59% of the voters of the state of Wisconsin passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This month, a US District Judge issued a ruling striking down that amendment. There was an emotional rush of same-sex couples heading to the county clerk’s office to get marriage licenses. Numerous marriages were performed on the spot, without the customary 5 day waiting period.
Here is the problem (don’t worry… I’m not going political on you) – the judge had not issued an order when the announcement about the ruling was made public. Judges express an opinion in their ruling. Following that is an order which tells interested parties what to do. Without that order, there is no clear direction as to what action should be taken. That’s where the patience comes in. The judge issued an order the following week allowing same-sex marriage. But wait, there’s more.
The judge then issued a stay to her order, effectively halting the marriage process pending appeal by the State Attorney General. The point here is that law has a process which is followed to provide expected and orderly outcomes. When emotion gets in front of the process, and the process gets ignored, bad things happen. These county clerks who did not wait for the order to be issued married people only now to find that they marriages will not be recognized.
What does all of this have to do with produce? We have the same issues regarding food safety. There is a process that is in place to protect everyone in the industry by asking/demanding best practices be followed. When the emotion of “small farm, local or not me” gets in front of that food safety process, we all lose. Having witnessed the dramatic food-borne illness issues we have been faced with over the past decade, it is time for all of us to slow down and follow the proper procedures. Patiently.