Friday, 17 August 2012

Food Freedom Fighters Organize Lemonade Freedom Day

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Selling lemonade, raw milk, or any other comestible is not a crime. That is the message of the second annual Lemonade Freedom Day. The event, to be held at the U.S. Capitol’s reflecting pool at noon Saturday, is being organized by the groups Lemonade Freedom Day and the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, both of which want the government to stop interfering in voluntary exchanges between food producers and food consumers.

The Lemonade Freedom Day organization is drawing attention to the increasing number of incidents in which local officials have shut down children’s lemonade stands because the kids hadn’t obtained the proper permits or were otherwise violating ordinances known only to the bureaucrats.

“Police in Midway, Georgia shut down a lemonade stand run by three girls trying to make money for a trip to a water park in Savannah because the youngsters didn’t have the license and permits required for their fledgling enterprise,” The New American reported last summer. “City ordinances require a business license, a peddler’s permit, and a food permit for the vending of food or beverages, even on residential property.”

The Freedom Center of Missouri has an entire page devoted to these ongoing assaults on liberty, including a U.S. map showing where each incident took place.

The Raw Milk Freedom Riders, meanwhile, are challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk. While a number of states and localities have restrictions on the sale of raw milk, the FDA does not have the authority to prohibit it outright. It has, however, become increasingly strict in its enforcement of the interstate-sale prohibition, conducting armed raids and sting operations on farms and food-buying clubs. The government even managed to force Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer out of business altogether for the “crime” of providing raw milk to willing customers in Maryland.

While Lemonade Freedom Day is concentrating on local ordinances and the Raw Milk Freedom Riders have trained their sights on Washington, they are coming together for the larger purpose of food freedom.

“This issue is not just about raw milk and it’s not just about lemonade. It’s about every individual’s right to consume the food of their choice,” Robert Fernandes, founder of Lemonade Freedom Day, told the Washington Times.

Neither group is a complete novice at the Capitol Hill protest game. The first Lemonade Freedom Day took place a year ago; three participants were arrested for selling lemonade on Capitol grounds without a permit. Raw milk enthusiasts held a rally outside the Senate in May 2011 featuring a live cow providing fresh moo juice to attendees.

This year’s Lemonade Freedom Day is a loosely organized affair described on the group’s website as “a peaceful picnic to celebrate our right to peaceful exchange of food.” In keeping with the theme of the event, “Fernandes said they didn’t get a permit, and are just showing up and hoping others do too,” according to the Times.

“In some ways it may be considered a protest but I like to look at it more as a celebration,” he said. “We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to barter, sell. It’s going to be kind of grass roots. We’re encouraging others to bring things to sell, so it’s going to take its own shape and form.”

Lemonade Freedom Day is also encouraging those who can’t make it to Washington to show their support for the cause by setting up their own lemonade stands at home. They’ll even be able to see what they’re missing in D.C. via the website’s live feed.

You have to hand it to these folks. Instead of just sitting around grousing about the lemons government has handed them, they’re making lemonade — and, one hopes, progress toward food freedom.

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