Minnesota Aims--Again--to Jail Peaceful Farmer

Schlangen Found Innocent by Hennepin Jury, Now Threatened with Jail in Stearns County

Falls Church, Virginia, UNITED STATES

Stearns, Co, MN, Aug. 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stearns County, MN--(August 6, 2013)-- Peaceful farmer, Alvin Schlangen, faces five criminal charges with a possible penalty of up to 15 months imprisonment and $5,000 in fines at his trial slated to run August 13-15, 2013, in St. Cloud. Schlangen is no stranger to the inside of a courtroom having already been prosecuted--and found not guilty by a jury--in September 2012 in Hennepin County on three charges related to delivering food to members of a private buying club. See Jury Finds Farmer Not Guilty

Attorney Nathan Hansen, in St. Paul retained by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), is representing Schlangen. Hansen also handled the Hennepin trial. 

Schlangen offers members of the private buying club, Freedom Farms Co-op, the benefit of his volunteer delivery service as he picks up members' food items, including raw milk, from other farms and delivers it along with products from his Freeport farm. Horse-and-buggy farmers, who otherwise would have difficulty getting their farm products distributed, especially appreciate Schlangen's delivery service.

Mothers, handicapped people, and blind customers are some who rely on Schlangen's food and delivery service. They are irate at the prospect of losing their food supply if he is jailed on the five misdemeanor charges.  The charges include not having a food handlers license, delivering adulterated and/or misbranded food, and failure to maintain the proper temperature requirements for eggs, which are considered crimes according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the agency pushing the Stearns County District Attorney the charges against the peaceful farmer. For additional background on the case:MN Cases: Alvin Schlangen.

"It is downright disturbing that the state I call home would spend any time or resources prosecuting a peaceful man for essentially picking up groceries for me. It is a travesty to what I once called the Justice System to even bring charges against my friend and farmer for these alleged 'crimes'; and if he is found guilty on any of the charges, it will be beyond tragic on so many levels," says Schlangen's friend and buying club member Elisabeth Berry.

This case is similar to a recent case in Wisconsin where farmer Vernon Hershberger was tried and acquitted on 3 of 4 charges related to operating a private buying club for the products from his farm; FTCLDF has filed an appeal on the fourth charge. Both farmers enjoy vibrant support from their customers, their wider communities and fresh food advocates from around the nation.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of family farms and artisan food producers while protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient-dense foods.Those concerned can support the FTCLDF, a U.S. based 501(c)(4) nonprofit, by joining or donating online at farmtoconsumer.org or by calling 703-208-FARM (3276).


For additional information on raw milk: realmilk.com and farmtoconsumer.org/map


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