This is the speech by Elisa Berry at last Monday’s rally at the start of the criminal trial of a farmer who shepherds a food buying club. The trial actually begins next Monday, due to a full docket.
Today I am here because I support Alvin Schlangen. Alvin and I are both a part of a private buying club. We members own a portion of the animals and pay certain farmers to care for them and to produce milk and other food for us. This is a wonderful way to support sustainable agriculture and local farmers, and to be more respectful to the environment.
Alvin has been peacefully facilitating this private buying club through connecting people like me with the farmers, and giving us the ability to choose the high quality foods that we want. My family depends heavily on Alvin’s contribution to our food supply.
This all started for me when I discovered that my children could not tolerate pasteurized milk, even of the organic kind. However, after switching to the nutrient dense raw milk that Alvin helped us find, these problems do not affect us anymore. The improvement in my children’s health has been obvious to everyone who knows us.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been relentless in its harassment of Alvin. They have entered Alvin’s property without a search warrant. They have stolen over $5000 of food that belonged to us, the members of our private buying club. They have used our very own tax dollars to criminalize a man that is simply trying to do what is right. This is wrong and it needs to change. We are demanding that the government STOP attacking Alvin Schlangen.
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE THE FOODS OF OUR CHOICE FROM THE PRODUCERS OF OUR CHOICE!!
Alvin Schlangen is my friend. He is an honest, hardworking and kindhearted farmer. The government has no business prosecuting him. What Alvin does for our private buying club is between him and us. The Commercial Food Handling statutes do not apply to Alvin’s case because our buying club is between friends, it is a private contract. Food is a gift from God and WE HAVE THE God-given RIGHT TO CHOOSE THE FOODS OF OUR CHOICE FROM THE PRODUCERS OF OUR CHOICE!!
I leave you with a message from my four-year old son who insisted I should share this with you: “Alvin can’t be persecuted because this milk is good for us to drink.”
This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival, see more food activism on Kelly the Kitchen Kop blog.