By Bob Unruh
(WND) Moms in Minnesota are preparing to defy state dictates over when and
how they can access food supplies for their families, with a rally
scheduled Monday to coincide with the beginning of the trial of the
manager of a farm buying club, according to the Farm Food Freedom Coalition.
WND previously has reported on disputes between farmers and consumers
on one side and federal regulators on the other. They have involved the
purchase by consumers of raw milk, the rights of consumers to access
milk from their own cows, a radio program that offered natural products
and a blogger who wrote about his battle with diabetes and was
threatened with jail.
The newest development comes from the Farm Food Freedom Coalition,
which is assembling a protest at the Minneapolis trial of Alvin
Schlangen, a farm buying club manager.
The group said that mothers in the state who act as hosts for “drop
sites” for farm buying club members now have been threatened with
The May 14 protest will be at 7 a.m. outside the Minneapolis courthouse where Schlangen’s trial is scheduled, officials said.
“At the rally supporters will sign a ‘Declaration of Food
Independence’ and demonstrate non-compliance against what they deem
‘unjust’ regulations,” the organization announced.
Another supporting organization, the Raw Milk Freedom Riders,
said that Schlangen founded the Freedom Farms Coop, which simply
connects people with the foods of their choice from local producers.
“Over the past two years the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has
illegally raided Alvin’s van, warehouse, and farm. The state has now
brought four charges against Alvin related to food distribution; all are
misdemeanors counts. If convicted, Alvin faces up to a year in jail and
hefty fines … just for helping to connect consumers to the producers
and foods of their choice.”
Organizers confirm that “several Minnesota mothers who organize
community access to local fresh farm foods plan to risk criminal charges
by openly and publicly defying warnings from the Minnesota Department
“The MDA has threatened several mothers, conducted investigations
against them and sent them warning letters that if they continue helping
provide fresh food to their friends and neighbors, they will be subject
to criminal charges and prosecution. The MDA alleges the mothers are
violating food-handling regulations.”
Hundreds are expected to join the rally, organizers estimate.
“It is absolutely outrageous that during this time of economic crisis
our state government is investigating and sending warning letters to
mothers and putting farmers on trial who are helping provide communities
with fresh foods. It is my right to contract privately with a farmer
for the food of my choice just as it is the right of every American,”
said Melinda Olson, a mother and recipient of one of the MDA’s warnings.
“The MDA’s harassment against mothers will not work. We plan to
ignore this warning and continue operating as we are. MDA should not
waste taxpayer money investigating, prosecuting and jailing peaceful
farmers and mothers for helping their communities secure fresh foods.
Our time to stand up against this tyranny is now!” she said.
Pete Kennedy of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund,
who tracks such issues nationally, said, “Nowhere in the country at
this time is state action against food freedom and consumer choice more
oppressive than in the state of Minnesota...” (continued)