As 2019 nears an end, we would like to celebrate with you the many achievements we have made in the food freedom movement. It gives us great joy to continue to be involved in this movement and to fight for farmers, artisanal producers, homesteaders, and consumers across the country. FTCLDF was founded on the simple principle that all Americans should be able to eat the food of their choice from the producers of their choice. We continue to address the many barriers and struggles our members face including zoning restrictions, communities who prefer pristine lawns to good stewardship of the land, consumer members’ rights to their herdshares, and food rights legislation. We work tirelessly every day to address these issues and to make it easier for our members to produce and obtain the foods of their choice.
Below are several highlights of which we are especially proud.
The FDA’s Ban on Raw Butter
In October, we filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the FDA’s ban on the interstate sale of raw butter. Our lawsuit seeks to force the agency to act on FTCLDF’s petition to permit the transportation of raw butter across state lines. The FDA has improperly banned raw butter as part of the agency’s (wrongheaded) interstate ban on raw fluid milk.
Alexia Kulwiec Joined FTCLDF as our new Executive Director
After a nationwide search, we hired experienced litigator Alexia Kulwiec as our Executive Director.
We successfully defended a Michigan farm against a local government’s injunction and alleged nuisance action. Though the government backed down, FTCLDF continues to represent the farm in litigation from neighbors.
We successfully defended an Indiana member who ran afoul of a city ordinance that limited her ability to use regenerative agriculture techniques on her property.
North Dakota Food Freedom
We helped defeat a North Dakota bill that would have weakened the state’s food freedom law by banning the sale of refrigerated foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, and certain canned foods.
We sent over 20 action alerts to our readers, members, and nonmembers, alerting them to timely, legislative matters with easy steps for taking action.
We love it when we can gather with our food freedom community. This year we were able to attend several workshops and exhibit at conferences across the country, sharing the important work we do.
We also hosted a fantastic fundraiser with Joel Salatin at Reverence Farms in Graham, North Carolina in September. The farm, also a member of FTCLDF, provided tours of its 300-acre regenerative farming operation, with its share of roaming livestock, gorgeous dairy cattle, various pastures, and complete recycling and composting programs. The people who run this farm believe in respecting the land and its animals; it shows!
Helping members is at the core of our mission. Below are a couple stories that underscore this point.
Aja Yasir and her husband, Yasir Allah, grow hundreds of varieties of medicinal herbs, fruits, and vegetables at their home in Gary, Indiana. Aja practices regenerative agriculture and uses wood chips as a method to rebuild the soil, a practice of regenerative agriculture that focuses on using organic material to produce food. The City issued citations against Aja, alleging a nuisance for the use of the woodchips and other practices. FTCLDF attorney Susan Israel represented Aja in a hearing regarding the ordinance violation and eventually resolved the case with the City on terms that permit Aja to continue using regenerative agriculture practices.
Aja said, “My experience with Farm-to-Consumer has been great. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without them. This [case] is not just for us; it’s for other urban farmers, who may be nervous about starting a farm. I just want everyone to be left alone, to be able to grow food.”
We also successfully defended Michigan-based Hidden Creek Farm against a local government’s injunction and alleged nuisance action brought despite a strong state right-to-farm law. FTCLDF represented the farm in a hearing for a temporary injunction based on the farm’s plant sale and commercial practices selling products on-farm. FTCLDF successfully worked with the township in dismissing its case against the farm. Though the government backed down, FTCLDF continues to represent the farm in litigation brought by neighbors. This has included representation at depositions and working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, and continues to be in litigation.
FTCLDF will not stop until it wins!
FTCLDF is a true grassroots organization with the majority of funding coming from membership fees and individual donations.
Throughout 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.
We would not have made it this far if it weren’t for those of you who: read and share our posts; like us on Facebook; follow us on Instagram and Twitter; donate funds, food, or time; host events for us; and join and renew your memberships. We thank you for supporting our work and hope you will continue to do so in 2020 and throughout our second decade of protecting food choice.
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.