July 4, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEGAL DEFENSE FUND TO DEFEND DIRECT FARM SALES
Washington, DC: Small farmers - and the consumers who support them - celebrated Independence Day with the launch of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. The non-profit organization was founded to protect the rights of farmers to provide meat, eggs, raw dairy products, vegetables and other foods directly to consumers.
"We hope to restore family farms to the prominent place they once held in American society," says Taaron Meikle, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and a fifth generation member of a Colorado farming family. "Our Founding Fathers saw family farms as the very backbone of American society. Yet today small farmers are an endangered species because of government laws and regulations that serve big agri-business and make it difficult for small farms to be profitable."
The opening celebration, held at a Lancaster County Amish farm, was attended by over 500 farmers and consumers who believe in the constitutional right to obtain raw milk and other foods directly from family farms without interference by federal, state and local governments. "Farmers across the land are either being forced into producing factory-quality industrial food and selling it through a corporate channels or just closing down the farm," says Minneapolis activist Will Winter, DVM. "Some who've tried to do it the old- fashioned way have found themselves faced with huge fines and even jail time."
"When the rights of farmers and consumers are in question, we're here to give them professional legal support and advice at any time of the day or night," says Columbus, Ohio, attorney Gary Cox, legal counsel to the Fund. "Our lawyers have prior experience working for state governments and so are familiar with the many types of administrative and enforcement actions likely to be taken by governments against farmers, private citizens and families. Our educational services will include up-to-date information on legal and regulatory issues as well as model contracts for cow-share, herd-share, farm-share or other contractual agreements that may be needed in order for consumers to obtain raw dairy products and other nutritious foods directly from farmers."
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund will also lobby at the state and federal level toward the passage of laws favorable to raw milk sales, on-farm processing and grass-based, organic and sustainable farming methods. "The Fund was modeled after other highly successful legal defense organizations that have succeeded in creating a supportive, less restrictive and more respectful relationship between local, state and national government agencies. We look forward to similar success for our nation's small farms," says Meikle.
"As we celebrate today, we hold a great vision for the future," says Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which has sponsored the creation of the legal defense fund. "We see small farmers prospering as they provide the raw milk and other nutrient-dense farm foods that people want and need. We see families enjoying radiant good health because they have access to these fine foods and communities thriving because of the commerce in farm-fresh food."
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Taaron Meikle, President, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
703-208-FARM (3276) or 703-537-8372
Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, Media Liaison, Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund