Be there . . . or . . . not. As you choose. But, if you believe in freedom of food choice and are able to be in Minnesota on May 21, I wanted to share the change-of-date so that you could consider it.
The Raw Milk Freedom Riders’ web site has additional details on the “when”/”where” of the trial. Here’s an excerpt from their site, which I think helps explain the ”what”:
Alvin Schlangen, a peaceful Minnesota farmer and founder of Freedom Farms Coop, connects people with the foods of their choice from local producers. Over the past two years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has illegally raided Alvin’s van, warehouse, and farm. The state has now brought 21 charges against Alvin related to food distribution; all are misdemeanor counts. Four of the misdemeanors are in trial next week. If convicted, Alvin faces up to a year in jail and hefty fines… just for helping to connect consumers to the producers and foods of their choice.
This is just the introduction – see the Raw Milk Freedom Riders’ website for more.
While we cannot and should not be able to affect the outcome of a particular trial by a show of popular support for the accused, this trial presents a good opportunity to communicate to the powers that be in Minnesota – and beyond - that this trial never should have happened – not because the state is necessarily wrong on the facts (that will be determined at trial), but because because the law being applied to those facts is seriously flawed. There is always the remote possibility of jury nullification (that is, the jury determining that the state’s version of the facts and law is correct, but deciding not to apply them in this case), but this rarely happens and should not be the primary hope of those attending the trial.
Put another way, if you are planning to attend this trial in hopes of affecting the outcome of it, you may leave very disappointed, not to mention bored (with all of the procedural rituals observed in hopes of ensuring a fair trial, trials are rarely as exciting as their outcomes may suggest). However, if you attend in hopes of educating others and changing public policy, that is quite appropriate and may well be effective.
The more people who stand up and show the state they aren’t going to accept the state’s paternalistic “protection” of them from their own food choices, the more likely states are to heed our cries of food freedom in the future.
- The Real Food Lawyer