Farmer Charged Criminally for Providing Fresh Food to Mothers
Minneapolis, MN—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 of Agriculture (MDA). 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.
Dozens of individuals who are disgusted with what they regard as MDA’s overly aggressive tactics are expected to join in the same activity as these mothers.
“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,” says Melinda Olson a mother and recipient of one of the MDA’s letters. “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!”
In addition to the threatening letters the MDA sent the mothers, MDA has brought charges against two local farmers for supplying their communities with fresh foods. Mothers who rely on the food and delivery service of one of these farmers, Alvin Schlangen, are facing loss of their food supply if Schlangen is jailed on four misdemeanor charges for providing food to his community. The charges against Schlangen stem from alleged handling of food without a permit, mislabeling food, and handling unprocessed, fresh milk, which is a crime according to the MDA.
Customers and supporters from around the state and country have planned a rally for Schlangen on the first day of his criminal trial on Monday, May 14 at 7:00 a.m. outside the Minneapolis courthouse. At the rally supporters will sign a “Declaration of Food Independence” and demonstrate non-compliance against what they deem “unjust” regulations. The rally is expected to draw hundreds.
Alvin Schlangen, a peaceful Minnesota farmer and founder of Freedom Farms Coop, 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 misdemeanor 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. Sadly, these are not the only attacks happening in Minnesota. The video below show’s the same inspector that has led the attacks on Alvin leading a raid on another MN milk farmer:
Please join the Raw Milk Freedom Riders for a
Two Day Event in Support of
DAY ONE: “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS” WORKSHOP
Sunday, May 13, 2012 2:00 PM-5:30 PM followed by a Farm Food Dinner
Learn about a history of peaceful non-compliance, how to peacefully stand up for your
rights in confrontational situations, how to take responsibility for your freedom. Farm fresh
dinner to follow.
SPEAKERS and RIGHTS TRAINERS INCLUDE:
John Moody, Food Freedom Activist
David Gumpert, Author and Blogger
Mary Gerke & Mel Olson, Activists
Liz Reitzig, Raw Milk Freedom Riders/Farm Food Freedom Coalition Co-founder
Michael Badnarik, Freedom activist and Constitutional scholar
Space is limited. Reserve your seat today. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how
to exercise your right to the foods of your choice!
DAY TWO: FOOD FREEDOM RALLY IN SUPPORT OF ALVIN SCHLANGEN
Monday, May 14, 2012 7:00am Rally begins, followed by a peaceful sit-in of Alvin’s Trial at 9:00am
Hennepin County Government Center
300 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis, Mn. 55487
The court has allocated three days for Alvin’s trial for 4 misdemeanor charges related to raw milk distribution. We must pack the courtroom! Sign up here to take your place in history! No registration for the rally, but we need make sure every seat in the courtroom is filled:
PUT YOUR RIGHT TO DEMONSTRATE INTO ACTION
and show solidarity with independent farmers everywhere!
Check out the Facebook event page HERE