Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) was launched, Independence Day, July 4, 2007. The FTCLDF is a non-profit organization recognized under the Internal Revenue Code as a Section 501(c)(4) organization.
A (c)(4) organization is classified as a "social welfare" organization.
The FTCLDF protects the rights of the nation's family farms, artisan food producers, consumers and affiliate communities to engage in direct commerce free of harassment by federal, state and local government interference; it protects the rights of farmers and artisanal producers to make their products available and the rights of consumers to access the foods of their choice from the source of their choice. Read more about our mission.
FTCLDF is a true grassroots organization and receives no government funding and little or no corporate funding. Our main sources of revenue are membership fees, individual donations and grants for public interest litigation from our sister organization, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation a 501 (c )(3). Give us a call if you have questions about our funding.
MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES AND FEES
Annual memberships are $125 for farmers and artisan food producers, $50 for consumers. For affiliate communities such as buyers clubs and cooperatives, the annual fee is $250 minimum which covers up to the first fifty associated members; add $5 per person beyond the first 50.
For those who have religious or philosophical objections to becoming members in an organization that engages in litigation, FTCLDF offers renewable Non-Member Consulting Agreements (NMCA) at the same rates.
Membership costs and benefits are very reasonable especially when compared to the typical cost of a single phone call with an attorney. For more details, see Become a Member.
BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP
Unlimited consultation with attorneys on matters within its mission statement;
Any contractual documents FTCLDF provides, e.g., herdshare contracts, buyers club agreements, etc.;
Unlimited consultation with former FTCLDF board member and dairy farmer, Tim Wightman, on matters related to farm operations;
Toll-free emergency hotline to speak with an attorney if there is a surprise visit or inspection from a government agency;
The possibility of legal representation on matters that are within FTCLDF's mission statement at no additional cost.
FTCLDF levels the playing field, making it more difficult for the government to win wars of attrition that drag farmers through administrative and judicial hearings; membership enables members to spend their resources on farming instead of lawyers.
In addition to litigation, FTCLDF's work includes advising on state legislation, working at the administrative level on matters before federal and state governments, and day-to-day member services. Member services have included work on the following: zoning, complaints from neighbor(s), on-farm poultry processing, disputes with farmers market managers, and slaughterhouse regulations.
Emergency member services are available 24/7 through a toll-free paging system, the Emergency Hotline (1-800-867-5891). This benefit has been a legal lifeline to farmers, buying clubs and even consumers at the middle of a government enforcement action.
Some of the cases FTCLDF has been litigating in the past year include:
challenging FDA's ban on raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce;
defending Morningland Dairy in its efforts to prevent the Missouri State Milk Board from destroying 50,000 pounds of embargoed cheese when there have been no reports of illness against the dairy;
pursuing two Wisconsin dairy cases--Grassway Organic Farm Store and Zinniker Farm--to upohold property rights and expand access to raw milk in the state;
defending farmer Randy Buchler's right to raise livestock on his land in a case pitting local zoning regulations versus the Michigan right to farm law; and
serving as co-counsel for Victoria Bloch--one of the "Rawesome Three" arrested in 2011--charged with three counts of conspiracy related to her duties as the Los Angeles WAPF chapter leader in promoting access to nutrient-dense foods.
Other cases may be conducted at the administrative level and still others are subject to escalation by government agencies as in the case of Minnesota consumer Rae Lynn Sandvig who had a criminal search warrant executed against her home. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture may still be contemplating bringing criminal charges or administrative sanctions against Sandvig; her offense? letting her home be used as a distribution point for a raw milk farmer.