Now, we also offer annual memberships for Homesteaders, Artisan Food Producers, and Affiliate Communities. FTCLDF is committed to helping all of our members nationwide pursue their dreams, from selling nutrient-dense foods from the small family farm, to keeping backyard chickens, to marketing homemade ferments.
Annual Membership Fee: $125
Membership is open to farmers throughout the United States and its territories that engage in non-toxic sustainable farming practices.
To be eligible for this membership, farmers:
- Engage in non-toxic sustainable farming and
- Farm on owned, leased, or a combination of owned and leased land.
Note: If you sell or distribute raw milk, please become a farmer member.
- Unlimited consultation with attorneys on matters within the mission statement, including contractual documents such as herdshare contracts and buyers club setup and agreements
- Use of toll-free 24/7 hotline to speak with an attorney if there is a surprise visit or inspection from a government agency
- Unlimited consultation with our farm and dairy consultants on matters related to farm operations
- Possible legal representation if there is a court case on matters that are within FTCLDF’s mission statement, at no additional cost
- And more
This membership category was introduced in 2015, in response to the growing number of people producing their own food. Homesteaders face unique legal and regulatory challenges such as issues related to zoning, animal control, on-farm slaughter for personal consumption, and more. FTCLDF has provided representation for homesteaders in several zoning cases.
Membership is open to homesteaders and hobby farmers throughout the United States and its territories that engage in non-toxic farming and gardening.
To be eligible for this membership, homesteaders:
- Engage in non-toxic farming and gardening and
- Sell less than $15,000 per year in gross sales and
- Farm less than 10 acres (whether leased or owned; someone may own a great deal more land but still just be homesteading) and
- Do not sell or distribute raw milk or raw milk products (anyone selling or distributing raw milk needs to be a farmer member)
If 2,3, and 4 above apply to your operation, please sign up as a homesteader member.
Note: The primary purpose of a homesteader is to raise food and animals to provide for his/her own family with extra being sold to others within his/her community.
Homesteaders enjoy the same benefits as farmer members. View benefits here.
Annual Membership Fee: $50
We protect consumers’ rights to engage in direct commerce with farmers and artisan food producers to obtain nutrient-dense foods produced through non-toxic practices. We welcome those who are not selling any food or beverage products direct-to-consumer and not raising any farm animals to become consumer members.
Consumers enjoy these benefits:
- Supporting our dear farmers, homesteaders, artisan food producers, and affiliate communities
- Supporting our attorneys who work at steeply discounted rates
- Supporting our legislative and lobbying efforts
- Access to our attorneys on matters within the mission statement, concerning direct-to-consumer sales
- Possible legal representation in court cases to defend access to non-toxic foods from small farmers and artisan food producers, at no additional cost
Regulators have not come after consumers as they have farmers, food producers, homesteaders, and affiliate communities. However, the more members we have, the stronger we are monetarily and also the more weight we carry in our lobbying and legislative endeavors as well as in the food freedom movement.
4. ARTISAN FOOD PRODUCER
Annual Membership Fee: $125
This membership category was introduced a few years ago in response to the growing number of people making foods and beverages to sell directly to consumers. FTCLDF helps these members navigate the complicated regulatory challenges that only artisan food producers encounter and defend the distribution of artisan foods direct-to-consumer. Membership is open to artisans throughout the United States and its territories.
To be eligible for this membership, artisan food producers:
- Use natural, non-toxic ingredients in their products, often sourcing foods from small farms and producers in their area and
- Sell products like cheese, kombucha, fermented foods, sausages, and dairy products and
- Sell or distribute direct-to-consumer
Common artisanal food producers are cheese makers, butchers, kombucha brewers, yogurt makers, bakers, fermenters, canners, and herbalists.
Artisan food producers enjoy the same benefits as farmer members. View benefits here.
5. AFFILIATE COMMUNITY
Annual Membership Fee: $250 minimum
Amount depends on the number of community members. The $250 minimum covers up to 50 associated members of an Affiliate community. For communities with more than 50 associated members, add $5 per member beyond the first 50. The associated members of an Affiliate Community are invited to join FTCLDF and, for their first year of membership, receive a 20% discount (e.g., $40 instead of $50 for Consumers and $100 instead of $125 for Farmers). If you are part of an Affiliate Community, ask about the membership discount.
FTCLDF helps affiliate communities who seek to defend the rights of farmers and artisan food producers to provide foods direct to consumers.
A community qualifying for Affiliate membership is a formal or loosely organized group of farmers and/or consumers in the United States and its territories that engages in and/or supports direct-to-consumer distribution of non-toxic farm products and artisan foods. Affiliate Communities include buyers clubs, food co-ops, farmers co-ops, farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSAs), and sustainable agriculture non-profits.
Affiliate communities enjoy the same benefits as farmer members. View benefits here.
Please ask your tax advisor if your membership fee can be deducted as a business expense.
Our annual membership fee rates are very reasonable especially when compared to the typical cost of a single phone call with an attorney (easily $200 an hour). Membership enables our members to spend their resources on things like farming and producing non-toxic foods instead of hiring expensive lawyers.
Our goal is to keep our members out of trouble in the first place since we, too, want to avoid expensive and time-consuming court cases. Therefore, it’s very important to be a member before you run into trouble so that 1. we can try to keep you out of trouble and out of the courtroom and 2. we will have the resources to be effective in helping you and our many other members.
Each of these membership categories is not mutually exclusive. For example, we have several members who are both farmers and affiliate community members; as a farmer, she needs to protect her own farm and she also runs a buyers club that includes several other farmers, and they all need an affiliate community membership to protect the buyers club itself.
There are also Non-Membership Consulting Agreements available in place of each membership category for those who have a philosophical or religious objection to being a member of an organization that litigates, like Anabaptist supporters. To sign up for this option and obtain all of the services and benefits offered except legal representation, please call us at (703) 208-FARM (3276).
Gift memberships are also available for farmers, consumers, homesteaders, and artisan food producers.
Membership Disclaimer: FTCLDF reserves the right not to approve any membership application and the right to revoke membership for cause, including, but not limited to, the misrepresentation of any information. If your application cannot be approved, we will return your payment along with a letter of explanation. FTCLDF does not provide legal representation for members in matters involving personal liability where those matters are unrelated to FTCLDF’s mission statement. Consistent with the Internal Revenue Service regulations, FTCLDF cannot guarantee representation in every case and reserves the right to refuse or limit the scope of its representation in all cases. Membership fees paid to FTCLDF are not tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Consult with your tax advisor or attorney to determine whether membership fees paid to FTCLDF may be deductible as a business expense.
FTCLDF is a true grassroots nonprofit organization with the majority of funding coming from membership fees and individual donations. Any corporate funding comes from small, like-minded businesses. Over the course of our first decade, we have defended the rights and freedoms of farmers, homesteaders, artisans, and consumers to grow, obtain, share, exchange, and sell nutrient-dense, local, sustainable, and artisanal food. Please join or renew with us today to help the food freedom movement make strides through the next decade.
YOUR FUND AT WORK
Services provided by FTCLDF go beyond legal representation for members in court cases.
Educational and policy work also provide an avenue for FTCLDF to build grassroots activism to create the most favorable regulatory climate possible. In addition to advising on bill language, FTCLDF supports favorable legislation via action alerts and social media outreach.
You can help FTCLDF by becoming a member or donating today.
Anyone wanting to make a contribution to support the work of FTCLDF can make a donation or find out more info HERE.