Food Rights at Stake in Minnesota

A small, family-owned farm in Grand Marais, MN is facing excessive fines by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) because the family is refusing an unconstitutional inspection of their farm.

“On October 14, 2014 the MDA demanded to do an inspection of the farm, which the family refused on the grounds that the Minnesota Constitution acknowledges their right to peddle the products of their farm. Now the MDA hopes to fine the small operation a crippling $500 per day after the March 9, 2015 hearing if they are found to be in contempt,” according to blog Nourishing Liberty.

This is not only another case of farms being unjustly targeted by local and state departments of agriculture but, more importantly, it is a case about food rights. This community farm provides nutritious, locally raised meats, dairy products and baked goods to their neighbors. Don’t community members have the right to privately obtain foods of their choosing from local farmers without interference of regulators? Why is it okay for regulators to excessively fine a family for feeding their neighbors?

Read more about how you can support this family farm here.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Minnesota Judge Criticizes MDA’s 10-Year Harassment of Farmer Michael Hartmann

Farmer Michael Hartmann has been battling the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for close to a decade. On October 7, 2013, Hartmann received a little support from an unexpected source when a Minnesota judge ruled that the December 2012 search-and-seizure of Hartmann’s raw milk and cheese truck was illegal.

Judge Erica MacDonald ruled that the state trooper who stopped Hartmann’s dairy truck because he couldn’t see the rear license plate was obligated to send Hartmann on his way once he realized the plate was just dirty and that, additionally, Hartmann had a front license plate, since there was no violation of motor vehicle or traffic laws. Instead, the trooper called the MDA, which instructed him to search the truck and confiscate his product.

She condemns the illegal search-and-seizure in a 30-page opinion and notes that the instance is just one in what has been a decade of harassment by the department and investigator James Roettger, who “…has been investigating Defendant’s possible violations of food laws for approximately ten years.”

Beyond the search-and-seizure, Judge MacDonald endorsed the 2005 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling of a previous case involving Hartmann that upheld his constitutional right to sell products of his farm, including meat, cheese and butter.

In her ruling, the judge makes it clear that she felt obligated to uphold Hartmann’s constitutional rights despite her personal dislike of the defendant and his blatant disregard for the terms of his probation. As journalist David Gumpert notes, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Judges are supposed to back the constitutional rights of all Americans, despite the judges’ own personal prejudices.”

Read more about Judge MacDonald’s opinion on Gumpert’s blog here:

http://thecompletepatient.com/article/2013/october/31/overreach-mn-judge-puts-crimp-mda%E2%80%99s-10-year-pursuit-raw-dairy-farmer

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Minnesota Farmer, Alvin Schlangen, Convicted in Second Trial

Alvin Schlangen, a Minnesota farmer who was charged with five criminal misdemeanors relating to the handling and distribution of food, was found guilty on August 15th of all five counts. This is Schlangen’s second jury trial relating to violations of the state’s food and dairy code; he was previously charged and acquitted of three similar charges in a neighboring county in September 2012. Continue reading

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Call To Action For Alvin Schlangen Trial

****CALL TO ACTION****

Please broadcast

Criminal trial for peaceful farmer Alvin Schlangen
August 13-15, 2013
11:00 am
Stearns County Courthouse
St. Cloud, MN

Background:  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), through the efforts of compliance officer Jim Roettger, is successfully choking the main supplies of raw milk in Minnesota. In 2010 MDA shut down Traditional Foods of Minnesota, a private food club that was a primary food source for many families in Minnesota. Another farmer, Mike Hartmann, has been facing prosecution and harassment for years. Continue reading

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