June 2, 2015 Dear Friend of Real Food, The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. - Thomas Jefferson If vigilance is the price of freedom, the work of the Farm-to- Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and its members has been a beacon of vigilance helping restore basic food freedoms to people across the United States. I ask you today to start, continue or expand your level of support for this tireless defender of food freedom. This year marks a first: Farm-to-Consumer members in Wyoming helped pass the first Food Freedom legislation in the history of the nation. Members in Maine are working hard to follow suit. FTCLDF is supporting these efforts at all levels and in multiple ways: through counsel, financial support, and publicity. Without your financial backing, Farm-to-Consumer can’t spread the seeds of food freedom, and the government won’t respect our fundamental right to choose whom we get food from. Remember, it was just a few short years ago that the FDA claimed that there is no fundamental right to choose what foods we consume, logic that a Wisconsin judge soon also applied in a ruling against food freedom. Farm-to-Consumer is helping reverse those words, one state at a time. A prime goal of FTCLDF is to make raw milk sales legal in every state. The regulatory climate throughout the U.S. has taken a positive turn since FTCLDF launched in 2007; indeed, 2015 was the best year ever for raw milk legislation in the history of the Farm- to-Consumer and the best year in a very long time for food freedom for our nation as a whole. We still have a long way to go in safeguarding the most basic freedom--our freedom to eat the foods of our choice, from farmers and artisans of our choice, without government interference, but 2014 and 2015 have seen immense progress. Here are some Farm-to-Consumer activities from the past year: • Worked in support of member Frank Wallis for successful passage of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act, which Governor Matt Mead signed into law on March 3. The new law legalizes the unregulated direct producer-to-consumer sale of all food, other than meat products, that are produced on the farm or in home kitchens. The only requirement is that producers inform consumers that they are not licensed or inspected by the government. The new Wyoming law has energized the foods rights movement, and we expect a number of states to introduce similar legislation in 2016. • Provided funding for a Minnesota case which represents the judicial equivalent of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act. The Minnesota Constitution protects the right of farmers to sell and peddle the products of the farm without a license. Farmer member Dave Berglund--who sells raw dairy products, among other foods--is claiming that the provision exempts farmers selling the products of the farm direct to consumers from any government regulation. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is seeking to enforce an administrative inspection warrant against Berglund. A favorable ruling would be consistent with the historical context of the constitutional provision, which passed at a time when the government did not regulate farm-to-consumer direct sales. • Worked for successful passage of raw milk bills in South Dakota and Utah. The South Dakota bill eases the regulatory burden on producers while the Utah legislation legalizes herdshare operations for micro-dairies. • Funded grassroots activism and lobbying in Maine in support of food freedom measures at the state and local level. Thirteen Maine towns have now passed the Food Sovereignty Ordinance, exempting local producers selling direct to consumers from licensing and regulation. FTCLDF provided funding for a lobbyist to help member Heather Retberg and others in their efforts to pass a statewide version of the Food Sovereignty Ordinance and a “Right to Food” amendment to the Maine Constitution. • Served as an information clearinghouse for raw milk, cottage-food and food freedom legislation in numerous states, such as Montana, Illinois, Connecticut, Idaho and Virginia. • Worked to protect and uphold exemptions Congress granted small- scale producers from burdensome regulation by FDA pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA remains a major threat to food freedom of choice. • Worked to oppose federal legislation that would grant fast track authority on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)--a trade pact that would enable corporations to interfere with food regulation at all levels of government. • Litigated cases in Michigan to uphold the state Right to Farm Act (RTFA); FTCLDF General Counsel Gary Cox is currently handling four cases. Recent actions by the state department of agriculture have weakened the protections the RTFA provides urban and suburban families to raise livestock. FTCLDF funded a lobbyist to help the Michigan Small Farm Council in its work to strengthen the RTFA. • Provided advice and consultation through Interim Executive Director John Moody on the set-up and administration of private food buyers clubs around the U.S. More than ever, consumers are seeking out private models of food distribution that are free of government regulations. • Provided advice and counsel on zoning disputes. FTCLDF has received an increasing number of such cases during the past few year. The rezoning of agricultural land to strictly residential use is a major problem in many areas around the country. Gary Cox is representing oyster farmer Anthony Bavuso and others in a court challenge to the York County, Virginia Board of Supervisors which rezoned property so that agriculture and aquaculture land use is no longer permitted. • Provided legal counsel to farms seeking redress from pesticide/ herbicide drift. FTCLDF is currently handling three overspray cases; this is another area where we can level the playing field for those that can’t afford the great expense of litigating these types of cases. The work of General Counsel Gary Cox in securing settlements for farmer members was recently highlighted in Modern Farmer. • Started a program of financial support for activists working on local food legislation and policy around the country. Aside from Maine, FTCLDF directly funded efforts in Virginia, Idaho and Utah and hopes to significantly expand this program in the future. We are planting seeds that grow into “grass-roots” activists across the nation. As a true grassroots organization, Farm-to-Consumer receives the bulk of its revenue from membership fees and private individual donations-- none from government funding. Any “corporate” donations to FTCLDF come from businesses that support family farms and the local food movement. To protect our precious grass-based farms, backyard gardens and chickens, and our supply of raw milk and other nutrient-dense foods, we need the sound of marching feet--that means tens of thousands of members of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. That’s why I am a proud FTCLDF member and I hope many others will join me in creating a strong defense for our farmers. Please use the enclosed form to donate and join or renew your membership in FTCLDF. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, please call the Fund office at 703-208-3276. With thanks in advance for your support and generosity,
Sally Fallon Morell President, Weston A. Price Foundation
P.S. Be sure to check out the selection of donor gifts, including the new Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children!