We at Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) are so grateful for all of our members across the United States. We love working for our members, whether that means helping a farmer member create a buying club contract, navigating the zoning laws in a homesteader member’s township, or pushing for state or federal laws that would benefit many members and beyond. FTCLDF is mostly funded by annual membership fees and individual donations.
Some of our members wanted to share what they’ve gotten out of their memberships; see some below. If you’re interested in joining our food freedom membership ranks or learning more, please click HERE.
I’m Jacy Vaughn with Like Wild Flowers Homestead. I joined Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund last year when I needed help navigating raw milk laws in Texas. Not only did they help me understand the laws, they even helped me come up with contracts for my herdshares. They’re so quick and easy to work with, and it really is such a relief knowing someone has my back who knows these laws inside and out. If you’d like to help improve our food system, please consider joining or donating today.
– Jacy Vaughn, Farmer Member
I would like to take this time to tell you why I joined Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. I currently live in Texas, and the legal statutes are just ridiculous, and the state prevents a farmer from making a living by placing all these constraints on the farmer. Because we are not the big conglomerates, which I believe are afraid that us little guys will put a major dent in their profits.
I used to get my raw milk from a Permitted Raw Milk Dairy. Well, the health inspector did not like the idea of raw milk and wanted them to pasteurize her milk for sale, and would come to test her milk, and stated her bacterial levels were too high, and would shut her down, month after month. Her husband would take the split sample to Texas A & M for lab testing and the lab results were always the same. Her bacterial levels were next to zero as expected. But she was required to pour ALL MILK down the sewer drain until the test results were taken to the health department, which meant she lost hundreds of gallons of milk. So, she stopped the raw milk dairy portion and found you guys.
Long story short, I wanted to raise cows for milk production, and [my previous raw dairy farmer] told me about Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. I was brand new at this endeavor. However, I wanted to provide a quality product to the people who wanted it, and there you have it, I contacted Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and have gotten to know Christine Dzujna. This woman has helped me so much with my Texas herd share documents and now with my Tennessee herd share documents. I could not have done this without the support and guidance from you guys.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund truly understands what us little farmers need. You guys give so much advice and guidance. I thank YOU all for all you have done for me and my farm! I give you permission to repost this for all to see. I hope more people will use the excellent service.
– Rick Tantlinger, Farmer Member
I’m Blaine Hitzfield with Seven Sons Farms and we joined Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund about 10 years ago because we wanted the peace of mind that someone would have our back in the event our business was threatened by regulatory overreach. Just this year FTCLDF came through in a big way as we navigated a serious threat to our business from local regulators. The attorneys and advisors at FTCLDF gave us the clarity, confidence and backing we needed. We encourage you to join or donate to protect and support small independent farms like ours that help strengthen our food system, and help us provide you with healthy food choices for your family.
– Blaine Hitzfield, Farmer Member
A few years ago, Vermont tried to ban raw milk for pets and we reached out to FTCLDF and got some great help. We ended up spending time in legislature and rewriting the regulation. There are a lot of different farming organizations we can be a part of, but Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is the most important one for us. Small farms won’t survive in our country without direct farm to consumer relationships, and these relationships are under constant threat from industry interest groups and regulators.
– Steve Fortmann, Farmer Member
We are a regenerative, beyond organic farm and we raise pastured pork, grass finished beef and lamb, pastured chickens/eggs, and continue to expand and add products. We believe there is a lot of fraud in the organic industry and as part of our transparency, we encourage people to come out to our farm and see what we are doing. This has been so fun! We joined the FTCLDF in 2018 in order to promote food freedom. We believe that the regulations that are in place at this time are not about food safety, but about big corporations controlling the market. We are so thankful for what FTCLDF is doing and plan to continue to support this amazing organization!
– Cory and Angie Mentink, Farmer Members
My county threatened me with a $10,000 fine and 2 years max in jail for putting my herdshare milk in my farm store. FTCLDF didn’t back down and did great at keeping me out of jail. I’m really thankful. FTCLDF has clout and authority. If it weren’t for them, I’d be finished farming. I’m still able to provide herdshare milk because of what FTCLDF did for me.
– Dan Messner, Farmer Member
With the support I have received from FTCLDF I have been able to create a West Virginia Meat Collective called The Honest Carnivore. The business idea specifically came from the guidance of The Good Meat Project and I double checked some of my material with a lawyer from FTCLDF. The Honest Carnivore offers farmers a better option for their animals via butchery classes and education on creative marketing using loopholes where their animals can be field harvested and still sold. FTCLDF gave me the courage and support to go for it!
– Elizabeth and Jimmie Riffle, Farmer Members
This is a great organization for those of you interested in food freedom and direct to consumer and farmer relationships. And it’s not just for producers. We ourselves have been consumer members to help support small farmers. With our own no-spray mini orchard we have upgraded our membership this past year.
– Angela and Zoran Zaev, Homesteader Members
We choose to support the FTCLDF because they are exactly what our small farmers, processors, artisan producers, and consumers need, and they were there in our time of need with presence, professionalism, and power. I encourage you—if you care about food produced with integrity—to support the FTCLDF today as we all work together to build a new, sustainable, and lasting food system.
– Nick and Wil Bailey of Grand View Farm, Farmer Member
When I brought my first milk cow home, one of the first things I did was become a member of the FTCLDF. Whenever I’ve had any emergency, such as the Dept. of Ag demanding I give them milk samples, FTCLDF has always been there to reassure me and walk me through it.
– Charlotte Smith of 3 Cow Marketing, Farmer Member
Food freedom is not only vitally important, it is the unifying thread between all nutritional approaches. Want access to raw dairy? Pastured meat? Non-GMO fruits and vegetables? The only organization that fights for your right to these foods is the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
– Robb Wolf The New York Times Best-Selling Author, Consumer Member
I joined the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund immediately upon hearing it was up and running. I am proud to be member #151! As a life-long raw milk drinker, I understand the importance of protecting my rights as a consumer to access the foods of my choice. As a Farmers’ Market shopper and former manager/vendor, I understand how important it is to protect direct producer to consumer sales. The annual consumer membership fee is a small price to pay to keep the foods on my table that I want to eat!
– Lynn W., Consumer Member
If you raise food of any kind for yourself or the community around you, you NEED to become a member of this organization! There will come a day when you need an advocate well versed in your legal and constitutional rights as an American citizen and farmer/homesteader. The annual fee is minimal, but the peace of mind is huge. Do not navigate the legalities of growing food in these times without their help!
– Mont Boone, Homesteader Member
It has been great having FTCLDF in my corner. Owning and operating my small farm can be difficult to navigate land use variances required by the county. FTCLDF has empowered me to be more informed and to be equipped to push back on county regulation overreach.
– Bradley Wood of Farmer Brad LLC, Farmer Member
We love FTCLDF’s mission of protecting farm to consumer activities and local farmers. As a member of FTCLDF, I feel valued, protected, and free to reach out to my community. Recently, I was rudely approached by the DSS licensing department, and FTCLDF had an attorney assigned in less than six hours to represent us. FTCLDF has my back, and they are there if we need them; we understand the value of this type of protection.
– John and Angela Aymin, Farmer Members
I might have found navigating the legal system overwhelming if a national group hadn’t been formed just as we were puzzling over our excess milk. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund was founded in 2007 to help small farmers keep legally safe when selling produce from their farms. This national organization provides the basic knowledge of state-specific laws, contracts, advice, customer information and even access to its lawyers if needed. The annual fee varies for farmers, consumers, artisans or co-ops; it is a great bargain to keep our small farms safe.
– Mary Lou, Farmer Member
I have been gladly supporting FTCLDF through my consumer membership since 2010. I have been buying organic since 1999 when I became aware of the critical role organic farming plays on the soil, my food, my health and the health of the planet. My ability to live this way depends on access to locally sourced, non-toxic foods from small farmers and artisan producers; but in the political culture of today, that access is threatened. FTCLDF works hard to protect farmers and artisans against these threats so they can not only survive but thrive. In other words, my access to locally sourced, non-toxic foods from small farmers and artisan producers is dependent on the work of FTCLDF.
– Karen D., Consumer Member and Volunteer
I was so grateful to have FTCLDF there to help me during this nerve-wracking time. They were quick and got me connected with a very knowledgeable lawyer. There is no question that if you are selling meat, dairy, or homemade foods that you need to have an FTCLDF membership. I have called several times in the past just to clarify with a lawyer what is legal/not legal and how to keep from getting in a tangle with the USDA. It’s a very cheap membership for the protection it gives!
– Elizabeth Cunningham, Farmer Member
It’s empowering to be a member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Joel Salatin said that he dreams for the day when the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is as powerful as the NRA, and I support that. It feels good to be part of something, to know you’re on a team, and that when you’re doing things the right way, you have someone that has your back.
– Jacob Stenger, Farmer Member
If it wouldn’t have been for the FTCLDF, we do not know what we would have done. As soon as we got a lawyer from them, the regulators changed their tune very quickly and knew they couldn’t bully us around on unfounded allegations. I would recommend anyone, farmer or consumer, to join the FTCLDF to help protect our freedom for food choice.
– Logan Peck, Farmer Member
We are a farm selling beef, poultry, and eggs. We spent over 20 years in the restaurant food industry owning up to 5 restaurant locations before starting up a farm business. We always have raised livestock and sold calves at the fall sales barns. Changing up to a customer-focused retail business was a change. We started up our small farm business after we sold and retired from restaurants. We started our farm enterprise to provide clean, healthy great tasting food for our family. We understood the importance of having a resource in our corner and signed up with FTCLDF right away. We have not had any issues or complaints; however, we continue to grow our client base and keep expanding our restaurant reach. Thank you for being there for us [FTCLDF]. It helps me sleep better.
– Debra Bruner of Little Cow Mountain Farm, Farmer Member
My experience with Farm-to-Consumer has been great. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without them [FTCLDF]. 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.
– Aja Yasir, Farmer Member