Maine

Maine officials violate local food freedom ordinance by suing man for selling raw milk from farm

Friday, November 18, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: food freedom, Maine, health news

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(NaturalNews) In response to the escalating food tyranny against American farmers by state and federal officials, the town of Blue Hill, Maine, passed a local ordinance back in April that asserted the right of its citizens to grow, sell, buy, and consume the food of their choice (http://naturalnews.com/032142_food_freedom_M...). But state officials in Maine apparently have no regard for Blue Hill's sovereignty law, and are now suing a local Blue Hill resident for selling food and raw milk from his farm without an official state license.

The State of Maine and Walter Whitcomb, Maine's Agricultural Commissioner, recently filed a lawsuit against Blue Hill farmer Dan Brown of Gravelwood Farm for allegedly violating state laws concerning the sale of food. The three-count civil summons claims that selling raw milk and other farm food items directly to customers violates state laws.

But Brown's actions are in full compliance with the Blue Hill's Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance, which protects small farmers from having to jump through the laborious and excessive regulatory hoops designed for large-scale factory farms. And the vast majority of Blue Hill's residents have expressed support for the type of food freedom that Brown has embraced with the sale of fresh food from his farm.

A Selectmen's meeting is set to be held in Blue Hill on Friday, Nov. 18, to enforce the local ordinance over the state's demands. Brown and his supporters are petitioning town officials to send a letter to the Maine Department of Agriculture requesting that the state withdraw its lawsuit and recognize the authority and validity of the local ordinance. There will also be a rally and press conference at Blue Hill Town Hall in his defense.

Both Sedgwick and Penobscot, two other Maine towns, have also passed similar food sovereignty laws within the past year. And according to CBS News, Brown is the first farmer in any of them to be targeted by state officials for complying with these ordinances, which fly in the face of highly-restrictive state and federal laws concerning food.

"I think if Dan loses this suit and the state is able to require licenses from him, then anybody in our ordinance towns will be forced to comply," said Bob St. Peter, a farmer in Sedgwick who heads a group called Food for Maine's Future, to CBS News. "That's a concern to people."

Farmer Dan Brown has released a short video on YouTube explaining the situation, which you can view here:
http://www.facebook.com/wearefarmerbrown

You can also support Farmer Brown by contacting those that are suing him and expressing your thoughts. Remember to be polite but firm in your discourse:

Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
Commissioner's Office
28 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0028
Walter E. Whitcomb, Commissioner
(207) 287-3871

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