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The War Against Local Food Rages On

A book everyone should read.

A book everyone should read.

Five years ago, my hero Joel Salatin (self-described as a “Christian libertarian environmentalist lunatic farmer”) published an article called Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal.

Last year, he published a book by that name (A Food Renegade Must Read).

Why would a farmer’s life be illegal?

Ask the feds.

From this press release:

On the morning of December 1, 2008, law enforcement officers forcefully entered the Stowers’ residence, without first announcing they were police or stating the purpose of the visit. With guns drawn, officers swiftly and immediately moved to the upstairs of the home, finding ten children in the middle of a home-schooling lesson. Officers then moved Jacqueline Stowers and her children to their living room where they were held for more than six hours.

The Stowers have been operating a small family farm and organic food co-op for 16 years, and on December 1st the government came in and seized thousands of dollars worth of property, including $10,000 worth of food. The Stowers, parents of eight children (including one son serving in Iraq), have been accused of violating retail food establishment licensure laws.

The feds not only took the co-op’s property, but also the Stowers’ personal property — including a year’s supply of food.

It’s no secret that the government is at war with small-scale farmers. Laws written to regulate giant agribusinesses strangle the little-guy’s ability to provide alternative, sustainable, wholesome food directly to consumers. Even a cursory reading of Salatin’s essay above makes that point clear.

But what really disturbs me is how oppressively the government seeks to dictate what we can and can not put into our bodies — all in the name of “safety” and protecting us from ourselves. Whether it’s raw milk, grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, or organic vegetables, they’re constantly thwarting local producers and consumers at every turn. They’re taking healthy, Real Food off our tables and giving us crap in return.

Watch the Stowers in this video interview, filmed 10 days after the government raid on their property:

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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10 Responses to The War Against Local Food Rages On
  1. Elisabeth
    December 22, 2008 | 1:25 am

    I am so shocked to read this story – really upset at this violation against a family. Small family farms are the backbone of every society. Shanty towns are made up of destitute people who used to work the land. Without family farms, the quality of our food, landscape and lives suffer.

    I work at the Soil Association, the UK organic food and farming charity, and I will do my best to let as many other people know about this outrage.

  2. KristenM
    December 22, 2008 | 2:32 pm

    I was equally as outraged. Part of the problem — in the U.S. at least — is that all the laws are written with giant agribusinesses in mind. Often small farmers and processors simply aren’t able to comply with the law because it doesn’t make any sense at their small scale. The regulations are too expensive or just outright ridiculous. And they’re just too numerous to keep up with.

  3. Elisabeth
    December 23, 2008 | 6:52 am

    Thanks for your insightful observation that the laws favour big business rather than the small guys.

    I was unable to download the video so I wonder if you could tell me – what were the Stowers actually charged with?

    I am getting the info out there! Elisabeth

  4. KristenM
    December 23, 2008 | 9:07 pm

    They were charged with operating a Retail Food Establishment without a license. What’s truly ironic is that they ARE NOT a retail food establishment. When they received a letter from the government more than a year ago that insinuated that they were, the Stowers responded with a letter of their own asking why the co-op was a retail food establishment. Their letter received no response. Instead, more than a year later, their home was raided.

  5. carrollbikes
    May 20, 2009 | 12:18 pm


    And this is the land of the free???? Outrageous actions by law enforcement, and I hope you sue them. See some of the legal-action sites, especially the one that is, or at least once was run by CBN.


  6. lawrence
    March 23, 2012 | 4:10 pm

    It’s interesting that most of the responses were not focused on the fact that law enforcement, entered the home with guns drawn for “suspicion” of operating a “retail” establishment with out a license.
    Prepared for use of deadly force for lack of a “retail license”?
    What is going on!

    This sort of thing is only supposed to happen in despot controlled third world countries.

    • Camille
      June 5, 2012 | 1:06 pm

      Sounds like the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS. They get cranky when they find out they’ve missed out on any taxes they feel they are owed. I’m sure they took all the food and computers so they could be auctioned off in order to generate back taxes due. They totally went overboard. What happened to simply sending out a letter before such drastic steps were taken.

    • CARRIE
      March 6, 2013 | 9:16 am

      There was a local farm raided and it was shut up. A elderly woman was selling goats milk for wild life and she was shut down and raided like a common criminal in Kentucky. The milk was raw… duh for wildlife! Anyway, it was alleged she was selling raw milk to the public. They had no proof, they had no evidence. Took all her milk, goats, feed, hay and equipment to milk them with(buckets she milked by hand). 2 years later they want to change the definition of milk to add aspartame to it… WTH

  7. Jay
    June 23, 2012 | 11:26 pm

    This is planned they only want you to consume genetically modified foods that have no nutritional value. They the Government control the seeds that are modified, if you are growing wholesome foods, and organic type food that is proven nutritious they will come after you. This whole NWO thing is real and it is u folding now in front of us all. Same with raw milk they cannot control the additives and process and that pisses them off. Educate yourself out of the mainstream media about how bad this has all gotten. Our freedom is a sham, they want us all dead. I’m not a nut, I just recently began finding the truth out and it will shock the hell out of you.

    March 6, 2013 | 9:12 am

    This scares the heck out of me. We are a local organic production farm although we will not carry the organic label because upon finding out what you CAN do to your crops and still be organic was disgusting to us. We also milk goats and a cow for ourselves and others. So we could get raided because we have goat shares that we sell and those people could get their milk or cheese taken from them. JUst because they say we are wrong… who says we are wrong.. this is like a headless organization that has no idea what the other hand is doing all of the time. Yet they can come on my property any time they want because they want to. Seriously , some day it is going to land me in jail because I am not pacifist like this poor family that was raided is. I will defend my family,property and my rights with the same means they use on me. Whatever those may be.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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