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                                                    December 19, 2009 
FTCLDF Files Suit In Wisconsin!!
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is protecting and preserving your freedom to distribute or buy food of your choice from a privately operated buying club. With this lawsuit, the Fund distances private buying clubs from retail stores, and government's regulatory reach over those establishments.  The Fund maintains that consumers and farmer/producers have the right to enter into private contract, without government interference, and that private buying clubs should not be regulated or categorized as your typical grocery store. 

On December 16, 2009 the Fund filed a complaint for declaratory judgment on behalf of Wisconsin farmers Kay and Wayne Craig and related entities against the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).  The complaint seeks declarations that the Craigs,  the farm store they operate (GrassWay Organics Farm Store LLC), and GrassWay Organics Association and its members who have invested in the LLC are not engaging in the illegal sale of raw milk in violation of Wisconsin laws, and that the farm store does not need to obtain a "retail food establishment" license in order to operate. 

"Kay and Wayne Craig, their LLC and their Association members have been harassed long enough by DATCP.  We are asking the court to declare that the Craigs, the LLC, and the Association are operating within the law," said Pete Kennedy, President of the Fund.  "We hope the Court issues an injunction that will prevent DATCP from taking enforcement action against what we believe to be lawful activity, "  Kennedy continued.
The complaint alleges that DATCP, over a period of several years, has been changing its interpretation of what constitutes an "incidental" sale of raw milk, which are legal under Wisconsin law.  The complaint also alleges that the LLC operated by the Craigs (the farm store) is not a "retail food establishment" because it does not sell to the general public.  The farm store is open only to members of the Association that has purchased an interest in the LLC. 
"In Wisconsin, it is legal for an entity that holds a Grade A  permit to sell interests or shares in the entity.  This is a legal arrangement that is lawful in all respects, yet it is being threatened by DATCP," said the Fund's General Counsel, Gary Cox.  "We hope the court agrees that DATCP cannot be arbitrary and capricious in their interpretation and enforcement of the law against law-abiding citizens, and try to force them out of business," said Cox.
The complaint was filed on December 16 in Dane County Circuit Court, Wisconsin and names the Secretary of DATCP as a Defendant, Rod Nilsestuen.  For a copy of the complaint, see the links below:

You can visit the Fund website for updates on this case.