Sedgwick Maine declares local food sovereignty for raw milk, meat etc.

From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:

Painting by Cheryl Bartley. Click image to go to her website. (via Food Freedom blog)

“…On Friday evening, they became perhaps the first locale in the country to pass a “Food Sovereignty” law. It’s the proposed ordinance I first described last fall, when I introduced the “Five Musketeers”, a group of farmers and consumers intent on pushing back against overly aggressive agriculture regulators. The regulators were interfering with farmers who, for example, took chickens to a neighbor for slaughtering, or who sold raw milk directly to consumers.

The proposed ordinance was one of 78 being considered at the Sedgwick town meeting, that New England institution that has stood the test of time, allowing all of a town’s citizens to vote yea or nay on proposals to spend their tax money and, in this case, enact potentially far-reaching laws with national implications. They’ve been holding these meetings in the Sedgwick town hall (pictured above) since 1794. At Friday’s meeting, about 120 citizens raised their hands in unanimous approval of the ordinance.

Citing America’s Declaration of Independence and the Maine Constitution, the ordinance proposed that “Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.” These would include raw milk and other dairy products and locally slaughtered meats, among other items.

This isn’t just a declaration of preference. The proposed warrant added, “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.” In other words, no state licensing requirements prohibiting certain farms from selling dairy products or producing their own chickens for sale to other citizens in the town.

What about potential legal liability and state or federal inspections? It’s all up to the seller and buyer to negotiate. “Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.” Imagine that–buyer and seller can agree to cut out the lawyers. That’s almost un-American, isn’t it?…”

Read it all on the Complete Patient blog.

What happens when the next two towns in Maine try this? (follow-up story)


Filed under News

56 responses to “Sedgwick Maine declares local food sovereignty for raw milk, meat etc.


    I like this news. I just heard last night on an internet radio that the local laws can supersede the State and your Federal Laws. The Host gave what part of the American Constitution this was in. Can anyone on States side find it and post it. I am sorry I did not write it down.

  2. 10th Amendment

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    • I think whether or not a town can supersede state law is dependent upon the state constitution and statues.

      For instance some states allow local towns to outlaw open carry and some some states do not.

  3. Bob W.

    I think you’re referring to the 10th Amendment and/or the Enumerated Powers (Article I, section 8). The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
    The powers delegated by the Constitution to the Federal Government are supposed to be the “Enumerated Powers” (which are always skewed and misinterpreted in Congress). They are listed here:

  4. thebovine

    More on the story from


    March 7, 2011

    Sedgwick becomes first town in Maine to adopt protections

    SEDGWICK, MAINE – On Saturday, March 5, residents of a small coastal town in Maine voted unanimously to adopt the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance, setting a precedent for other towns looking to preserve small-scale farming and food processing. Sedgwick, located on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Western Hancock County, became the first town in Maine, and perhaps the nation, to exempt direct farm sales from state and federal licensing and inspection. The ordinance also exempts foods made in the home kitchen, similar to the Michigan Cottage Food Law passed last year, but without caps on gross sales or restrictions on types of exempt foods.

    Local farmer Bob St.Peter noted the importance of this ordinance for beginning farmers and cottage producers. “This ordinance creates favorable conditions for beginning farmers and cottage-scale food processors to try out new products, and to make the most of each season’s bounty,” said St.Peter. “My family is already working on some ideas we can do from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going.”

    Mia Strong, Sedgwick resident and local farm patron, was overwhelmed by the support of her town. “Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance,” said Strong. “I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.”

    St.Peter, who serves on the board of the National Family Farm Coalition based in Washington, DC, sees this as a model ordinance for economic development in rural areas. “It’s tough making a go of it in rural America,” said St.Peter. “Rural working people have always had to do a little of this and a little of that to make ends meet. But up until the last couple generations, we didn’t need a special license or new facility each time we wanted to sell something to our neighbors. Small farmers and producers have been getting squeezed out in the name of food safety, yet it’s the industrial food that is causing food borne illness, not us.”

    “And every food dollar that leaves our community is one more dollar we don’t have to pay for our rural schools or to provide decent care for our elders,” adds St.Peter. “We need the money more than corporate agribusiness.”

    Three other towns in Western Hancock County will be voting on the ordinance at or ahead of their town meetings in the coming weeks. Penobscot, Brooksville, and Blue Hill all have the ordinance on their warrants.

    Click here to view a copy of the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011.


    Bob St.Peter
    Saving Seeds Farm
    Sedgwick, Maine

    Mia Strong
    Local Stock Food Cooperative
    Sedgwick, Maine

  5. Pingback: Food Sovereignty « Blog

  6. Statist

    This is simply too much freedom. The freedom-hating terrorists will undoubtedly put Maine on the top of their hit list now that Sedgewick has taken back its food rights. And by terrorists, I mean federal government regulators.

  7. thebovine

    This is our top story “du jour” thanks to linking to it.

  8. James

    Way to go Sedgwick! Now if the rest of this country would nullify that horrible, parasitic pack of thieves, liars and murderers that infest the halls of D.C. like satanic vermin, we would be much better for it.
    Raw milk and grass-fed, non-factory-farmed animal meat are the best foods one can consume.

  9. David

    Huzzah! Good on ya Sedgwick! Now for the rest of the country to do likewise.

  10. Way. To. GO! Bottom up, people driven.

  11. D'ern

    As a Maine ex-pat, I couldn’t be more thrilled to read this news. Between this and New Hampshire’s proposed law to charge TSA agents as sex criminals for “doing their jobs”, I see a glimmer of hope from my former home in Yankee America. Well done, and keep it up!

  12. Ben

    I too am a Maine ex-pat, and I am delighted and inspired to see that this town has attempted to throw off the shackles of oppressive state and federal regulations that destroy small farmers and producers. I hope that this is the first of a large number of similar measures around the country to overthrow the monopoly of the American food cartel.

  13. thebovine

    Food for Maine’s Future
    3 Flower Farm Lane
    Sedgewick*, Maine 04676 207 244 0908

    *Note: Sedgwick is the same town that is the subject of this article!


    Section 1. Name. This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the “Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.”

    Section 2. Definitions.

    As used in this ordinance:

    “Patron” means an individual who is the last person to purchase any product or preparation directly from a processor or producer and who does not resell the product or preparation.

    “Home consumption” means consumed within a private home.

    “Local Foods” means any food or food product that is grown, produced, or processed by individuals who sell directly to their patrons through farm-based sales or buying clubs, at farmers markets, roadside stands,
    fundraisers or at community social events.

    “Processor” means any individual who processes or prepares products of the soil or animals for food or drink.

    “Producer” means any farmer or gardener who grows any plant or animal for food or drink.

    “Community social event” means an event where people gather as part of a community for the benefit of those gathering, or for the community, including but not limited to a church or religious social, school
    event, potluck, neighborhood gathering, library meeting, traveling food sale, fundraiser, craft fair, farmers market and other public events.

    Section 3. Preamble and Purpose. We the People of the Town of Sedgwick, Hancock County, Maine, have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions. We recognize that family farms, sustainable agricultural practices, and food processing by individuals, families and non-corporate entities offers stability to our rural way of life by enhancing the economic, environmental and social wealth of our community. As such, our right to a local food system requires us to assert our inherent right to self-government. We recognize the authority to protect that right as belonging to the Town of Sedgwick.

    We have faith in our citizens’ ability to educate themselves and make informed decisions. We hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute a usurpation of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice. We support food that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, nourishes individuals and the community, and sustains producers, processors and the environment. We are therefore duty bound under the Constitution of the State of Maine to protect and promote unimpeded access to local foods.

    The purpose of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance is to:

    Provide citizens with unimpeded access to local food;

    Enhance the local economy by promoting the production and purchase of
    local agricultural products;

    Protect access to farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm based sales
    and direct producer to patron sales;

    Support the economic viability of local food producers and processors;

    Preserve community social events where local foods are served or sold;

    Preserve local knowledge and traditional foodways.

    Section 4. Authority. This Ordinance is adopted and enacted pursuant to the inherent, inalienable, and fundamental right of the citizens of the Town of Sedgwick to self-government, and under the authority recognized as belonging to the people of the Town by all relevant state and federal laws including, but not limited to the following:

    The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, which declares that governments are instituted to secure peoples’ rights, and that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.

    Article I, § 2 of the Maine Constitution, which declares: “all power is inherent in the people; all free governments are founded in their authority and instituted for their benefit, [and that] they have therefore an unalienable and indefeasible right to institute government and to alter, reform, or totally change the same when their safety and happiness require it.”

    §3001 of Title 30-A of the Maine Revised Statutes, which grants municipalities all powers necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Town of Sedgwick.

    §211 of Title 7 of the Maine Revised Statutes which states: “it is the policy of the State to encourage food self-sufficiency for the State.”

    Section 5. Statements of Law.

    Section 5.1. Licensure/Inspection Exemption. Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the food is sold for home consumption. This includes any producer or processor who sells his or her products at farmers’ markets or roadside stands; sells his or her products through farm-based sales directly to a patron; or delivers his or her products directly to patrons.

    Section 5.1.a. Licensure/Inspection Exemption. Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that their products are prepared for, consumed, or sold at a community social event.

    Section 5.2. Right to Access and Produce Food. Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.

    Section 5.3. Right to Self-Governance. All citizens of Sedgwick possess the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent.

    Section 5.4. Right to Enforce. Sedgwick citizens possess the right to adopt measures which prevent the violation of the rights enumerated in this Ordinance.

    Section 6. Statement of Law. Implementation. The following restrictions and provisions serve to implement the preceding statements of law.

    Section 6.1. State and Federal Law. It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance. It shall be unlawful for any corporation to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance. The term “corporation” shall mean any business entity organized under the laws of any state or country.

    Section 6.2. Patron Liability Protection. Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.

    Section 7. Civil Enforcement. The Town of Sedgwick may enforce the provisions of this Ordinance through seeking equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction. Any individual citizen of the Town of
    Sedgwick shall have standing to vindicate any rights secured by this ordinance which have been violated or which are threatened with violation, and may seek relief both in the form of injunctive and compensatory relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.

    Section 8. Town Action against Pre-emption. The foundation for making and adoption of this law is the peoples’ fundamental and inalienable right to govern themselves, and thereby secure their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Any attempt to use other units and levels of government to preempt, amend, alter or overturn this Ordinance or parts of this Ordinance shall require the Town to hold public meetings that explore the adoption of other measures that expand local control and the ability of citizens to protect their fundamental and inalienable right to self-government. It is declared that those other measures may legitimately include the partial or complete separation of the Town from the other units and levels of government that attempt to preempt, amend, alter, or overturn this Ordinance.

    Section 9. Effect. This Ordinance shall be effective immediately upon its enactment.

    Section 10. Severability Clause. To the extent any provision of this Ordinance is deemed invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such provision will be removed from the Ordinance, and the balance of the
    Ordinance shall remain valid.

    Section 11. Repealer. All inconsistent provisions of prior Ordinances adopted by the Town of Sedgwick are hereby repealed, but only to the extent necessary to remedy the inconsistency.

    Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011

    [101222 RMLF]
    page PAGE 2 of 4

  14. dogismyth

    Excellent and good luck. I’m sure Obama will be in touch with do-nothing AG Holder so your local representatives can be intimidated and bribed to change their minds. And if that doesn’t work, they’ll send in the DEA, IRS, SWAT, FDA, Homeland Security, and of course, Monsanto. You think I’m kidding don;t ya??

  15. Pingback: Stiri scurte: 10.03.2011 « George Valah Blog

  16. God bless and keep the Mainers! Om.

  17. The Watcher

    The quiet revolution begins!
    Law by law, the People patriots of America will take back their country. No need to have civil war to regain lost freedom of choice….just use the system that’s in place. Also, just keep the graft, corruption, lobbyists and lawyers out of it!

    The Federal and Sate Governments are not to regulate our lives. We decide how we want to live! Bureaucrats are liars, theives, killers, sellouts, tratiors, all around bad people. What would they know about living a decent life and what it takes to be successful at it? Nada!

  18. russ

    dogismyth, you are spot on. our enemies in the govt. hate this sort of democracy. we can only pray that more people wake up from their chemical-media-pharmacutical induced stupor. i’m sending this link to all my local town council members.

  19. MSgirl

    No share button? Needs a share button…good article here. Will be passing the word. This needs to be passed everywhere!

  20. Pingback: New England Nullification Tradition Marches On – Tenth Amendment Center Blog

  21. connalto

    Bravo!!! Let this anti-virus of freedom spread town by town.

  22. People, don’t stop here. These tyrannical and oppressive regimes in the so called civilized, western world need to be swept from power even more then those of the Middle East. They steal, pollute and regulate the food we eat. They force unwanted vaccines on us and on our children. They usurp our property rights. They tax us to death. They wage illegal wars using depleted uranium in order to kill and oppress other people around the world with the blood of our children, all the while denying us the right to choose the life we want. All politicians, bureaucrats, and a lot of law enforcement people are either parasites or goons there to only oppress us. We must begin to break the chains of this tyranny before it totally devours us and our children.

  23. BRAVO! These citizens have taken back control of their lives and give us a valuable example of how to do so. The food wars must start in the small town, with small-real farms and be supported by citizens in the area.

    Real people must have real food and they must reject all synthetic foods & engineered GMO poisons.

    Vote with your dollars every time you go to the store!



  25. thebovine

    What the backlash to this sort of thing might look like, if and when it arrives:

    “Republican Michigan governor Rick Snyder, along with the state’s Republican house and senate, have passed a controversial bill that allows the governor to dissolve the elected governments of Michigan’s towns and cities, replacing them with unaccountable “emergency financial managers” who can eliminate services, merge or eliminate school boards, and lay off or renegotiate unionized public employees without recourse. Republican senator Jack Brandenburg — who supported the measure — calls it “financial martial law.”

    While local governments are subject to electoral recall by residents, the “managers” the governor appoints will answer only to the state legislature….”

    • GadsdenGurl

      Nothing to do with this! And everything to do with telling the FEDS to take a hike because if you don’t, they will take over everything else like they have the educational system.

  26. thebovine

    Local food ordinance template (in pdf format):

    Click to access localfoodlocalrules-ordinance-template.pdf

  27. Thomas

    KICK the Federal gov. out of our lives!! They have NO business creating laws on what we can eat!!!!

  28. Pingback: Sedgwick Maine declares local food sovereignty for raw milk, meat etc. « Truth2Freedom's Blog

  29. Pingback: declares local food sovereignty « Authentically Wired

  30. Editor

    Great start…why not apply to your schools next?
    Great Model for all new emerging Republics.

    • GadsdenGurl

      Yes indeed… they have no business, and this is why the evil UN is running some schools… look what happened in NH!!!!!

  31. Andree Bella

    Best news I’ve heard in a long time! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

  32. Pingback: Pro Active Activism….Get Local-Lesson 1 | Truth Farmer

  33. Pingback: Sedgwick Maine Becomes First US Town to Declare Food Sovereignty | Central Vermont Food Systems Council

  34. Andrew

    This law seems necessary and important, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like it will pass Constitutional Scrutiny. Unfortunately neither the Declaration of Independence nor Maine’s Constitution can supersede the US Constitution. And although the 9th and 10th Amendment of the Constitution do leave some power to the people and to the States, those powers were not enumerated in the Constitution. Conversely, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (Commerce Clause) has been interpreted by the Court to give Congress the power to regulate this kind of commercial activity. Although the the clause gives the power to regulate interstate commerce, the Court has concluded that purely intra-state commercial activity has an effect on interstate economy when that activity is analyzed in the aggregate. Gibbons v. Ogden 22, U.S. (9 Wheat.) 1 (1824). And the Courts have recently upheld this reasoning. Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005). Here, local food markets are a commercial activity and they can therefore be regulated by Congress regardless of their local nature. Since Congress has the power to regulate, there is no State or Federal Constitutional Power that can prevent them from doing so. Even if Maine passed a Constitutional Amendment saying the Federal Government could not regulate their local food economy, that Amendment could not prevent Congress from regulating.

    I hope that either that nobody challenges this law in the courts, that the County has some pretty creative and persuasive lawyers working for them, or that my understanding of the law is completely off. But many thanks, whatever happens, for actually taking a stand for local food markets.

    • GadsdenGurl

      Fed intrusion is not constitutional.. state sovereignty rules!

      • Andrew

        I would point you to the constitution, which says otherwise. Art I. § 8, Art. VI, Cl 2, and as to the 10 Amendment see Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528 (Federal government able to regulate States as long as regulation does not “commandeer” or overly “coerce” resources, officials, etc.)

  35. Andrew

    Oops, meant Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) in addition to Gibbons.

  36. dangermaus

    I wonder if this law will stand up, specifically the liability aspects of it, if someone decides to sue despite the liability agreement. I certainly hope so, but I somehow doubt it. Hopefully they’re not “that kind” of people.


  37. Granny Good-Food

    Following your lead in Lockhart, Texas. Re-wrote the ordinance to fit our situation. Will also write one for the County to include outlawing GMO/GE crops.

  38. GadsdenGurl

    The feds need to be put in their place…. otherwise, you will not be able to have home gardens anymore…

  39. Jeff T

    Good job sedgwick,, tell the feds to stuff it. I hope a lot more communities also tell the Fed to bugger off.

  40. D Costa


    Please watch out for false flag terror attacks as revenge for your courage as well as for manmade HAARP created disasters to destroy your nice town.

    God bless Sedgwick and all her residents!

  41. Hi everyone, I just wanted to pass on the word that a FOURTH Maine town has just passed the Sovereignty Ordinance as of this morning. This town would be Trenton, joining Blue Hill, Penobscot, and of course, Sedgwick.

  42. Pingback: Civil Eats » Blog Archive » The Shareable Food Movement Meets the Law

  43. Pingback: Uranus square Pluto: tiny towns in Maine show us the way | Exopermaculture

  44. Tommy Jefferson

    Can someone tell me where I can get copies of the bills that were used to pass this? I will be attempting to do the same in North Carolina should I get elected county commissioner in 2012!
    The website called is down

  45. Pingback: Seymour MO town council meeting – October 27th « ThingsYour Local Paper Will Never Tell You

  46. Pingback: The Mack Truck in Sedgwick |

  47. Pingback: The Shareable Food Movement Meets the Law | Sightline Daily

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