Dear Friend of Real Food,
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is now in its 6th year and I couldn’t be prouder of the organization’s many accomplishments–helping protect farmers engaged in direct farm-to-consumer sales and supporting farmers who produce the raw milk and the other nutrient-dense foods that nourish ourselves and our families.
I am excited to tell you about the many successes we have had over the last twelve months and to thank you all for the support that made these successes possible.
Remember, we founded FTCLDF to level the playing field, to provide our kind of farmer with the legal protection he or she needs to fend off any attacks from federal agencies or overzealous bureaucrats on the state and local level. And, indeed, this is exactly what has happened.
While our challenges are certainly not over, FTCLDF has become a force to be reckoned with–and will continue to be so. . . with your help!
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PAST YEAR
Here is a summary of some of the highlights from the past year.
- Acquittal of FTCLDF member Vernon Hershberger on three of four criminal charges for violations of the Wisconsin food and dairy code. The acquittals on three charges of not having the proper permits enable Hershberger to continue to provide raw dairy products and other nutrient-dense foods to members of a private buyers club that leases his cows. The case sets a major precedent in distinguishing those producing and selling food to the public from those producing and distributing food through private contract. It is the greatest court victory for the raw milk movement in the United States.
- Acquittal of FTCLDF member Alvin Schlangen on three criminal counts for violations of the Minnesota food and dairy code. The charges were related to Alvin’s delivery of raw milk and other nutrient-dense foods to members of a private buyers club, the Freedom Farms Coop, in the Twin Cities area. The victory galvanized the food rights movement with the jury’s refusal to convict someone helping others exercise their freedom of food choice.
- Victory of FTCLDF members Randy and Libby Buchler in a Michigan Right-to-Farm case. A judge held that the farming operation of the Buchlers who raise livestock and poultry on non-agriculturally zoned land, was protected from nuisance suits (for alleged zoning violations) under the Michigan Right-to-Farm Act.
- Favorable settlement for dairy farmers and FTCLDF members Armand and Teddi Bechard in their court case with the Missouri Milk Board, enabling the Bechards to continue delivering milk to the customers at a central distribution point. The Milk Board was attempting to limit the Bechards’ distribution of raw milk in a move that could have potentially reduced consumer access to raw milk from other Missouri dairy farms.
- Success in representing Amish farmer and FTCLDF member Christian Zook in a criminal action brought by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which was an attempt by the Township in which Christian resides to restrict him from selling farm products to members of a private food buyers club on his farm.
- FTCLDF members, State Representative Sue Wallis and her brother Frank Wallis led the effort to get a regulation issued ensuring the legality of herdshares in Wyoming, reversing an initial effort by the state department of agriculture to have herdshares banned.
There were a number of other significant cases with which FTCLDF has been involved over the past year. These cases include:
- Litigating against FDA to modify the ban on raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce. FTCLDF is representing Organic Pastures Dairy Company, which is seeking a court order allowing the shipment of raw milk from one state where its sale is legal to another state where its sale is legal.
- Providing representation in two other Right-to-Farm cases in Michigan to protect the rights of neighborhood farms to raise livestock and grow crops.
- Supporting the court challenges to overturn the Michigan swine ISO (invasive species order) issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Under DNR’s interpretation of the ISO, the agency could require almost any farmers of heritage breeds to destroy their own pigs. FTCLDF has provided financial support for the lawsuit filed by heritage breed hog farmer Mark Baker and has accepted a third-party grant on behalf of FTCLDF member Brenda Turunen for her litigation expenses.
- Consulting and/or serving as an information clearinghouse for raw milk, on-farm meat and poultry processing, and cottage food legislation in numerous states.
- Working with grassroots groups to get a favorable resolution to proposed raw milk regulations in Illinois and South Dakota.
- Setting up and administering a litigation fund for Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) to accept contributions to support DBOC’s lawsuit against the National Park Service (NPS). NPS refused to renew the agreement that let DBOC farm the waters off Point Reyes, California; the agency’s action threatens to put DBOC, which is responsible for 30 percent or more of California’s oyster production, out of business.
YOUR SUPPORT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Even more important, we can be grateful for what has NOT happened this year:
* Enforcement actions against shareholder dairies in California. FTCLDF helped through litigation and through involvement in a dairy workgroup looking to clarify the law on herdshares.
* State enforcement actions in Pennsylvania against private buyers clubs or farmers supplying them thanks, in part, to the success of FTCLDF General Counsel, Gary Cox, Esq., in the Pennsylvania courts.
With your support, we can continue the work of protecting and upholding the right to freedom of food choice.
FTCLDF is a true grassroots organization and receives the bulk of its revenue from membership fees and private individual donations. “Corporate” donations come from small businesses that support local food production; FTCLDF receives no funding from any government agency.
Donations to FTCLDF’s sister organization, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation [a 501(c)(3) nonprofit], are tax deductible and may be dispersed to FTCLDF as grants for public interest litigation (PIL).
No one benefits more from the work of FTCLDF than WAPF members. Please donate and join or renew your membership in the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. With thanks in advance for your support and generosity,
Sally Fallon Morell
President, Weston A. Price Foundation
P.S. Be sure to check out FTCLDF’s expanded selection of donor gifts this year, including my recent book The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care.
P.P.S. Remember, if you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, you can make a donation to the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation earmarked for “public interest litigation”. Visit farmtoconsumer.org/PILfor details.