By guest blogger, Natasha Simeon
Alvin Schlangen is a peaceful farmer and volunteer manager of Freedom Farms Coop (FFC). This venture serves to connect people with the food sources that meet their high standards for health by providing private access under lawful ownership of farm animals- for dairy food access: the member owners pay the Amish farm family for labor to milk the leased 100% grass-fed cows, manage the pasture, store the feed, etc. This is sustainable farming in reality- where the value of food supports the cost incurred…without government subsidies or harm to the environment. The balance of food options are purchased by the club, for the members. FFC has multiple farm sources providing real food to member families- very efficiently, with lots of volunteer effort.
State Food Police Go After Freedom And Private Contracts
On June 15th 2010, The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) brought armed police and inspected, closed, and embargoed the Traditional Foods Warehouse in Minneapolis, of which Alvin had recently become co-owner. The Warehouse was members-only and contained food from local farms. In addition the MDA illegally trespassed, without warrant, on Alvin’s personal property space in this same building and removed records and food samples. The results of this illegal search and seizure resulted in the MDA obtaining a search warrant eight days later and searching and embargoing the Schlangen farm under allegations that Alvin was engaged in retail food handling.
Then, on March 9th 2011, Alvin’s van was blocked by the MDA, again with armed police, while he was delivering his eggs to college students. They illegally entered the van without warrant, then, after visual inspection, called for a warrant to search, and seized the food inside that was owned by private food club members, then towed the van to the MDA Complex for dissemination. The same day, they used the van raid to get a warrant to search the private space that Freedom Farms Coop leased at the Traditional Foods warehouse, raided and removed food and packing materials; the total value of what was taken that day exceeded $5000. If an individual had stolen what the MDA did that day they would be charged with grand larceny.
Family Farmer, Alvin Schlangen Facing Serious Fines, Jail
Instead, in the March 2011 case that is going to trial in May – Alvin was charged with 4 counts of criminal misdemeanor food handling without license and related issues – for his efforts to supply quality farm foods to his community and the growing number of Minnesotans who desire real milk and, more importantly, desire their autonomy to choose their own foods. If convicted, he could face serious fines or up to a year imprisonment.
Commercial food handling is controlled by statutes that define how our food regulators keep track of food in each state. These statutes pertain to Uniform Commercial Code and do not apply to our private food supply (like you, picking up a loaf of bread for your neighbor and being repaid for it). What Alvin is doing is simply not any of the government’s business.
There is now a June 23rd case scheduled regarding the farm raid and involves another 6 counts. A third action in administrative court includes 11 counts. It is obvious that there is an agenda to bury this farmer and all of our rights for a long while.
Please do your part to not let that happen….
What You Can Do
As the state of Minnesota continues to prosecute Alvin Schlangen, farmer, and founder of Freedom Farms Co-op, we need to rally to his defense! Please join the Raw Milk Freedom Riders for a Two Day Event in Support of Food Freedom
To learn more visit: http://rawmilkfreedomriders.com
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/344200692304757/
Donate to the event here: https://www.wepay.com/donations/minnesota-food-freedom-event
Sunday, May 13, 2:00pm: Know Your Rights Workshop & Mother’s Day Dinner
Monday, May 14, 7:00am: Food Freedom Rally in support of Alvin
The Rally is 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 four misdemeanor charges related to raw milk distribution. We must pack the courtroom. Sign up here to take your place in history! No registration required to attend the rally. To reserve your seat in the courtroom, please register here today:
Natasha Simeon lives in the Twin Cities and originally sought out raw milk to heal her family. Along the way she realized where the food she was feeding her family comes from and how the animals are treated, and is thankful to have found a different way. Like most people on this path, now that the truth is known she will never go back, and her greatest moment as a mother was the day when her daughter turned to her after watching a documentary on how industrial animals live (if it can be called that!) and swore she would never eat anything from animals treated that way again. And she’s never gone back.
This post is part of the Fight Back Friday blog carnival, see more action items on Food Renegade.com!