We Are All Farmer Brown! (Update)

We received this updated action alert from our friends at Food for Maine’s Future. As we reported a few months ago on this Blog, Dan Brown, a family farmer in Blue Hill, Maine, is being sued for doing what family farmers have been doing for generations: selling food to friends and neighbors. The cow’s milk that Farmer Brown and his family drink, and which he sells to others in his town when he has extra, wasn’t labeled “Not Pasteurized.” This is illegal according to the state, even though it is legal in his town and Farmer Brown’s customers know all about the cow that his milk comes from. His town, Blue Hill, recently passed a local ordinance which allows Farmer Brown to sell products in town without such labels. The safety or quality of Farmer Dan Brown’s food is not being questioned. What is being questioned, or rather challenged, is the right of the citizens of Blue Hill to sell food to their friends and neighbors.

From Food for Maine’s Future:

Food for Maine’s Future Needs You To Join Our Call For Maine Governor Paul LePage To Drop The Lawsuit Against Farmer Dan Brown SIGN OUR PETITION at www.change.org/petitions/governor-paul-lepage-drop-the-lawsuit-against-famer-dan-brown?share_id=pleQyHj…Vzn&

Dear Gov. Paul LePage,

We, the undersigned, call on you and your administration to withdraw the lawsuit against Blue Hill farmer Dan Brown of Gravelwood Farm.

Recent rule changes by the Maine Department of Agriculture – including poultry processing and raw milk sales – are making criminals out of hard-working Mainers who are growing and processing food to share in their communities. Now the Department of Agriculture and State of Maine are suing a man milking one cow and selling jams, pickles, and other prepared foods from his farmhouse kitchen. If successfully pursued, this lawsuit will have a chilling effect on Maine’s growing local food movement and the promise of real economic development in our rural communities. Shouldn’t Maine’s small-scale, diversified farms and cottage businesses have the same opportunities generations before us had, without the threat of lawsuits or armed raids as we are witnessing around the U.S.?

READ OUR FULL LETTER at www.savingseeds.wordpress.com.

AND CHECK OUT THE COVERAGE OF OUR GROWING MOVEMENT IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF SAVING SEEDS at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1221/images/Saving%20Seeds%20Winter%202012%20Web.pdf.

Please help support the effort by making a contribution in whatever amount you can afford.

Sincerely, Family Farm Defense Committee of Hancock County

These kinds of lawsuits are not just happening in Maine. Wisconsin farmer Vernon Hershberger is also being sued for selling raw milk. Read more…


Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau