When I first read this article……I thought why is this happening in America? What’s wrong with selling your fresh produce, milk or pasture raised beef and chickens to people in your community ? We see that done daily in rural Tennessee. This is an unbelievable story here. A lawsuit has been filed by Buckeye Institute’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. I’m including an article by them below the Worldnet Daily article and a video from You Tube of the Stowers family.
Food co-op hit by SWAT raid fights back
‘Government basically engaged in intimidation
By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
A LaGrange, Ohio, family whose food co-op connecting local consumers with local farmers was raided by sheriff’s deputies is fighting back with the help of two organizations aimed at protecting the basic rights of Americans.
“We hope that the Lorrain County Court of Common Pleas recognizes that government is overreaching in this case and is basically engaged in intimidation tactics to frighten people into believing that they cannot provide food for themselves,” said Pete Kennedy, a spokesman for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
The organization, which is intended to protect and defend the rights of farmers and consumers to have direct commerce, has announced it is working with the Center for Constitutional Law at the Buckeye Institute, which has filed a court complaint alleging authorities “made a haphazard unannounced entry into the property with guns drawn, as other officers surrounded the property, with guns drawn,” then “confiscated the family’s personal food supply, personal computers, and personal cell phones.”
The complaint names the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Lorain County General Health District and the state’s attorney general. A spokeswoman at the Department of Agriculture said its officers were at the scene in an advisory role. A spokeswoman at the county health agency refused to comment except to explain it was a “licensing” issue regarding the family’s Manna Storehouse.
Kennedy said his organization works in support of allowing farmers and consumers to have “direct commerce with each other free from government interference and harassement.”
“This is an example where, once again, the government is trying to deny people their inalienable, fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice,” said Gary Cox, general counsel for the FTCLDF. “The purpose of our complaint is to correct that wrong.”
The organizations have reported the raid came at Manna Storehouse, a private food cooperative run by John and Jacqueline Stowers. In a video posted both on YouTube and on the Buckeye Institute’s website, the couple explained how they just wanted to provide a resource for both farmers and consumers.
The complaint also seeks a preliminary injunction against the Department of Agriculture and declarations stipulating that Manna Storehouse and the Stowers are not a “retail food establishment” under Ohio’s Food Safety Code. As a private cooperative, Manna Storehouse is exempted from the Food Safety Code, the organizations said.
Officials with the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit, said several of its members had been participating in the co-op, but now their food supplies are disrupted.
The Buckete Institute’s spokesman, David Hansen, said, “The use of these police state tactics on a peaceful family in simply unacceptable.”
He described the situation, “Officers rushed into the Stowers’ home with guns drawn and held the family – including 10 young children – captive for six hours. This outrageous case of bureaucratic overreach must be addressed.”
Read the entire article here:
Raid on Family’s Home and Organic Food Co-Op Challenged
Columbus – The Buckeye Institute’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today took legal action against the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Lorain County Health Department for violating the constitutional rights of John and Jacqueline Stowers of LaGrange, Ohio. The Stowers operate an organic food cooperative called Manna Storehouse. ODA and Lorain County Health Department agents forcefully raided their home and unlawfully seized the family’s personal food supply, cell phones and personal computers. The legal center seeks to halt future similar raids. The complaint was filed in Lorain County Court of Common Pleas.
“The use of these police state tactics on a peaceful family is simply unacceptable,” Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said. “Officers rushed into the Stowers’ home with guns drawn and held the family – including ten young children – captive for six hours. This outrageous case of bureaucratic overreach must be addressed.”
The Buckeye Institute argues the right to buy food directly from local farmers; distribute locally-grown food to neighbors; and pool resources to purchase food in bulk are rights that do not require a license. In addition, the right of peaceful citizens to be free from paramilitary police raids, searches and seizures is guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14, Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution.
“The Stowers’ constitutional rights were violated over grass-fed cattle, pastured chickens and pesticide-free produce,” Buckeye Institute 1851 Center of Constitutional Law Director Maurice Thompson said. “Ohioans do not need a government permission slip to run a family farm and co-op, and should not be subjected to raids when they do not have one. This legal action will ensure the ODA understands and respects Ohioans’ rights.”
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.
Such are raids are beyond the scope of the purely administrative authority delegated to ODA and county health departments. In enforcing licensure laws, these agencies are only permitted to contract for routine enforcement services. Forceful raids and sweeping searches and seizures are not routine, and exceed the authority granted to ODA and county health departments.
There has never been a complaint filed against Manna Storehouse or the Stowers related to the quality or healthfulness of the food distributed through the co-op. The Buckeye Institute’s legal center will defend the Stowers from any criminal charges related to the raid.
Read the entire article @ buckeyeinstitute.org