The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Government Raids on Family Farms

The Stowers, parents of eight children (including one son serving in Iraq), have been accused of violating retail food establishment licensure laws.

They describe the events of December 1 in the following video:

The Buckeye Institute's 1851 Center for Constitution of Law announced yesterday that it is filing suit on behalf of the Stowers family against the against the Ohio Department of Agriculture, citing:

... seizure of private property without compensation, unlawful exercise of administrative authority and unlawful application of state police power, among other violations of freedoms guaranteed by the Ohio Constitution.

This case appears to be similar to that of Mark Nolt, who had been selling his farm products to his eager customers for years. When he neglected to renew his state issued permit, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture began to harass him and his family, raiding his farm several times and confiscating over $50,000 dollars worth of food, including stores of personal family food.

This kind of aggression is disturbing on several levels. On one hand, the state is at war with small-scale farmers: the health and agriculture departments work to discourage farmers from providing alternative food directly to consumers. On another is the degree to which these same agencies are uber-controlling in what we are and are not permitted to put into our bodies all in the name of safety and protecting us from ourselves, or even worse, protecting children from their parents.

In his book, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, Joel Salatin discusses the plight of the small farmers and all the cumbersome regulations and laws surrounding the sale of food direct to consumers. In an ironic twist, PDA officials took this book during one of the raids on Mark Nolt's farm in Pennsylvania. The title of the book begs the question "why is a farmer writing a book titled Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal?"

It is unfortunately all too clear to our country's small-scale farmers, as in the cases above, that they are the targets for much government aggression. At this point in the local foods movement, it is clear that the state is doing whatever they can to discourage consumers from using their purchasing power to support small, local farms that provide healthy foods to people; however, when that tactic ceases to be effective, they go after the source.

Update: the Stowers family can be reached at Manna Storehouse, 43565 State Route 303, LaGrange, OH 44050 or at

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