Under the Dome

Don't call it "sustainable"

The N.C. Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council – sounds like a good idea, right? Created two years ago as part of the state agriculture department, the 26-member council represents a wide variety of interests coming together to promote a market for locally grown food.

But not so fast. That word “sustainable” has become an obscenity to Tea Partiers and others who say it’s part of a United Nations, one-world conspiracy. It stems from a 1992 U.N. resolution called Agenda 21 that encourages environmental stewardship. To them, sustainable means government control.

And so up steps Tea Party-endorsed state Rep. Glen Bradley, a Republican from Youngsville, with a bill – HB1094 -- that would strike the word from the food advisory council’s title and from each place in the legislation that created the council. Bradley explained the bill in the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, but the chairman pulled it from consideration for a week in the face of uncertainties about the implications.

Joy Hicks, a policy analyst with the agriculture department, told the committee the bill caught the council off guard. She said the word was taken from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “a base definition people were familiar with, not knowing this controversy existed.”

She said  some members of the council might be concerned if the word was edited out, because it represents interests they support. Rep. Phillip Haire, a Democrat from Sylva, called it “a non-issue.”

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