Vernon Hershberger Case Puts Food Freedom on Trial


The Tight Knit Hershberger Family Steels Themselves. The Government Wants to Close Their Family Farm.

Consumers’ Right to Opt Out of Conventional Food Supply is at Risk

by Kimberly Hartke

Wisconsin, the state of cheeseheads and dairy farms, is putting raw milk on trial. Rather, putting private buying clubs for raw milk on trial. Dairyman Vernon Hershberger is a symbol of food rights and freedoms for all U.S. citizens. Vernon, through private contractual arrangement with 200 educated consumers in his community, has built a solid business model that sustainably supports his large family.

In a day and age where we have way too many people living off government largess, we have to ask ourselves, is it not the over-regulation of even private commerce that is hindering families from supporting themselves?

For consumers who obtain raw milk through private contract, this case is very significant. If the state of Wisconsin succeeds in making this father a criminal for his private concern, some raw milk activists believe the precedent could be used to hinder such dealings elsewhere. Cowshares, goat shares, Community Supported Agriculture, even sharing produce from your backyard garden could fall under scrutiny or be prohibited.


Vernon Hershberger’s Privacy Rights and Right to Contract Under Seige

Vernon is providing life enhancing food to families who are partners in his farm. In many cases, these families have dire need of a pure, clean, untainted natural product. There are numerous health issues which caused families to sign a private contract to procure fresh milk.  Because of the heavily controlled dairy industry, fresh milk is hard to come by in a retail setting. Some of the farm’s members find raw milk to be helpful for weight loss, infant formula, allergies, lactose intolerance, allergies to commercial dairy, dermatitis. A number of members in the group found relief from asthma and arthritis symptoms after adding farm fresh milk to their diet.

A large percentage of members also invest their time and energy in the farm. Members do work on the farm, by sterilizing jars, stocking shelves, sorting and washing eggs, helping milk the cows and with other farm chores, organizing the pantry, etc.

“This is our farm, our animals, our food, we have a right to access this food”, says club member, Jenny Delonay.

Raw milk activists who have supported Vernon Hershberger throught this ordeal say the outcome of his trial could set precedent for all food clubs around the country. If Vernon is found guilty, this hardworking farmer may go to prison for more than a year.  It is possible that such a verdict will start a cascade of criminal charges, or the threat of criminal charges against other family farmers around the nation.

Be a Part of Raw Milk History!

Concerned citizens are invited by Farm Food Freedom Coalition (FFFC) to attend the trial, May 20-24, 2013. The courtroom will accommodate 80 visitors, and another room of the courthouse holds 200 for overflow. Across the street, another venue which holds 680 will be available where you will be able to view the trial.

Join FFFC for a Grow Your Food Freedom meeting and networking event happening in conjunction with the trial.  Notable speakers/activists from around the country will be sharing their knowledge at this community event.  There will be movie screenings in the evenings.  It will be at the Ringling Brothers Theater across the street from the courthouse.  (schedule forthcoming) Local/real foods lunches and dinners will be available to purchase.  Bring Your Own Raw Milk. Please join  the Farm Food Freedom Coalition and stand in solidarity for food and farmer rights.

While Vernon Hershberger is on trial in the courtroom, raw milk is on trial in the court of public opinion.  Make sure you facebook this post. Educate your friends. Make sure the world knows what is at stake for food freedom and consumer choice. Donate to support the Grow Your Food Freedom special event.

If you are interested in making a contribution to the legal defense of Vernon Hershberger please support the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Vice President of Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, Elizabeth Rich is co-counsel for Vernon Hershberger.

For more information see

We can’t let the dairy industry and other powers that be cut off access to the consumer’s food of choice!

Kimberly Hartke is a publicist for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Weston A. Price Foundation.


  1. Royal Morehead says:

    This is ridiculous! The government has no authority in where I get my food or whom I share it with!

  2. Linda Ellen says:

    This article is missing vital information — like when and where any of these events you speak so highly of are happening. Who/what/when/where/why — remember? You missed a few.

    • Kimberly Hartke says:

      Linda, you need to click on the links supplied in the article for greater detail. Sorry about that!

    • Kimberly Hartke says:

      Linda, I added the dates of the trial, May 20-24. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Is there a reason specifics aren’t posted here? 🙂 I was just wondering….here’s a link to the when and where :

  4. I’m all in favor of raw milk being available, but did Hershberger break the law? It’s easy to see this as a deliberate assault by Big Food (or even just an accidental side-effect of laws that favor Big Food), but if the law is clear and Hershberger was willfully violating it… the issue is that the law needs to be changed.

  5. Joy Kline says:

    It is unfortunate that things have come to this. My children (6) and myself drank raw milk for many years. We didn’t seem to have any adverse effects on us. Many people used the raw milk and never heard of anyone having any problems. It seems that things are out of control. Raw milk won’t cause DUI’s or wreck homes, why not control those things that need to be controlled?

  6. Thank You Kimberly!

    I’m a very happy member of Vernon’s club! Naturally I want him to prevail in this case, continue farming (just as he has been) and producing some of the very best dairy products that I think humanly possible! I order as much product as I can from Vernon on a monthly basis, sometime twice a month. I have absolutely no complaint about any of his products.

    Then there is the matter of the legal attack by the State of Wisconsin. This is not the first attack against a farmer for providing nutrient-dense foods for his community. These attacks have been occurring for several years. Much has been said and much more can be said about what is involved with these attacks. I generally agree with the assessments that the source of the attacks originate out of the interests of mega food. I don’t think that is difficult for people to understand (unless they refuse to hear about it). What may be difficult to realize is that the legal reality here (and in many other cases) goes beyond the issue at hand and it is this legal reality that needs to be fully identified so that can it be as clearly understood as “the raw milk controversy” (even though i have said there is no controversy about this real milk).

    As a friend of the farmers, a passionate American and a lover of humanity I am calling attention to the need to understand the true limits of governmental jurisdiction. That need can be revealed with the statement : “Dairyman Vernon Hershberger is a symbol of food rights and freedoms for all U.S. citizens”. This statement essentially identifies all Americans as “U.S. citizens”. As long as Americans (living in the United States of America) identify themselves as United States citizens they unknowingly volunteer into, what amounts to legally as, a foreign jurisdiction. That is because when we talk about the legal realm we must understand the legal definitions and not rely on conventional wisdom for terms and phrases that we may use in our everyday or non-legal conversations.

    The term “United States” has several distinct meanings. The one that is most pertinent for or regarding “United States citizens” is the one that properly identifies that term (AKA “citizens of the United States”) as per the “Fourteenth Amendment” (of 1868) in the “Constitution for the United States of America” of September 17, 1787. However, the “Constitution for the United States of America” of September 17, 1787 is the fourth Organic Law and like the pillars in a temple, they all stand together. Most Americans know the first Organic Law: “The Declaration of Independence” (DoI). However, there are two more Organic Laws that Ameircans need to become about as familiar with as the DoI. Otherwise the proper understanding for “United States” can most likely not be had. That is because the term has a very specific meaning given to it in the third Organic Law: “Ordinance of 1787: The Northwest Territorial Government” (which was originally intended to be a temporary government but was made permanent via the Constitution of September 17, 1787). So that is why I have repeatedly blogged on this particular subject at my CureZone Blogs (including “Son of Truth of Self”).

    We Americans have been schooled into believing that we are U.S. citizens because these individuals are legally subject to the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of Congress and by extension all the “states” that are under federal rule. Does Vernon live in such a (federal) state? It seems he thinks so and yet only he can say. If Vernon or anyone reads the four Organic Laws they can then follow the perfect logic that is articulated by my law professor Ed Rivera as to how the “United States” are actually the distinct federal territories, federal lands within the exterior boarders of the several states and other federal possessions that are subject to the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of Congress. As far as I know Vernon is not on federal land. He was born in Ohio not on a federal territory!. He is truly a red-blooded American and a “free-inhabitant” in Wisconsin. (You’ll find the term “free inhabitants” in the second organic law: “Articles of Confederation”.)

    The people parish for lack of knowledge. It is for this reason that the truth of the organic laws is deliberately not fully revealed to the American people. For with this knowledge we would realize that we already have all the rights that we were born with, including the right to be left alone (no trespassing by agents under color of law). But in order to assert those rights we need to know the proprietary limits of government that are written in the organic laws, otherwise we are fooling ourselves by believing the lies that every geographic location across the United States of America is what the government says it is.

    The truth will free you from all those lies! Read the organic laws and add substance to the stand for every farmer under siege.

    Chef Jem


  1. […] I had heard of the Hershberger case, it was Kim Hartke’s April 30th blog post, Vernon Hershberger Case Puts Food Freedom on Trial that really got my attention. My first inclination was simply to donate my travel money, rather […]

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