Food Raid?

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by KYprep, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. KYprep

    KYprep Guest

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    i found this on another site..
    On Monday, December 1, a SWAT team with semi-automatic rifles entered the private home of the Stowers family in LaGrange, Ohio, herded the family onto the couches in the living room, and kept guns trained on parents, children, infants and toddlers, from approximately 11 AM to 8 PM. The team was aggressive and belligerent. The children were quite traumatized. At some point, the “bad cop” SWAT team was relieved by another team, a “good cop” team that tried to befriend the family. The Stowers family has run a very large, well-known food cooperative called Manna Storehouse on the western side of the greater Cleveland area for many years.
    There were agents from the Department of Agriculture present, one of them identified as Bill Lesho. The search warrant is reportedly supicious-looking. Agents began rifling through all of the family’s possessions, a task that lasted hours and resulted in a complete upheaval of every private area in the home. Many items were taken that were not listed on the search warrant. The family was not permitted a phone call, and they were not told what crime they were being charged with. They were not read their rights. Over ten thousand dollars worth of food was taken, including the family’s personal stock of food for the coming year. All of their computers, and all of their cell phones were taken, as well as phone and contact records. The food cooperative was virtually shut down. There was no rational explanation, nor justification, for this extreme violation of Constitutional rights.

    Presumably Manna Storehouse might eventually be charged with running a retail establishment without a license. Why then the Gestapo-type interrogation for a 3rd degree misdemeanor charge? This incident has raised the ominous specter of a restrictive new era in State regulation and enforcement over the nation’s private food supply.

    This same type of abusive search and seizure was reported by those innocents who fell victim to oppressive federal drug laws passed in the 1990s. The present circumstance raises the obvious question: is there some rabid new interpretation of an existing drug law that considers food a controlled substance worthy of a nasty SWAT operation? Or worse, is there a previously unrecognized provision(s) pertaining to food in the Homeland Security measures? Some have suggested that it was merely an out-of-control, hot-to-trot ODA agent, and, if so, this would be a best-case scenario. Anything else might spell the beginning of the end for the freedom to eat unregulated and unmonitored food.

    One blogger familiar with the Ohio situation has reported that:

    “Interestingly, I believe they [Manna Storehouse] said a month or so ago, an undercover ODA official came to their little store and claimed to have a sick father wanting to join the co-op. Both the owner and her daughter-in-law had a horrible feeling about the man, and decided not to allow him into the co-op and notified him by certified mail. He came back to the co-op demanding to be part of it. They refused and gave him names of other businesses and health food stores closer to his home. Not coincidentally, this man was there yesterday as part of the raid.”

    The same blog also noted that the Ohio Department of Agriculture has been chastised by the courts in several previous instances for its aggression, including trying to entrap an Amish man in a raw milk “sale,” which backfired when it became known that the Amish believe in a literal interpretation of “give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:42)

    The issue appears to be the discovery of a bit of non-institutional beef in an Oberlin College food service freezer a year ago that was tracked down by a county sanitation official to Manna Storehouse. Oberlin College’s student food coop is widely known for its strident ideological stance about eating organic foods. It seems that the Oberlin student food cooperative had joined the Manna Storehouse food cooperative in order to buy organic foods in bulk from the national organic food distributor United, which services buying clubs across the nation. The sanitation official, James Boddy, evidently contacted the Ohio Department of Agriculture. After the first contact by state ODA officials, Manna Storehouse reportedly wrote them a letter requesting assistance and guidelines for complying with the law. This letter was never answered. Rather, the ODA agent tried several times to infiltrate the coop, as described above. When his attempts failed, the SWAT team showed up!

    Food cooperatives and buying clubs have been an active part of the American landscape for over a generation. In the 1970s, with the rise of the organic food industry (a direct outgrowth of the hippie back-to-nature movement) food coops started up all over the country. These were groups of people who freely associated for the purpose of combining their buying power so that they could order organic food items in bulk and case lots. Anyone who was part of these coops in the early era will remember the messy breakdown of 35 pounds of peanut butter and 5 gallon drums of honey!

    These buying clubs have persisted and flourished over the years due to their ability to purchase high quality organic foods at reduced prices in bulk quantities. Most cooperatives have participated greatly in the local agrarian economies, supporting neighborhood organic farmers with purchases of produce, eggs, chickens, etc. The groups also purchase food from a number of different local, regional and national distributors, many of them family-based businesses who truck the food themselves. Some of these food cooperatives have become large enough to set up mini-storefront operations where members can drop in and purchase items leftover from case lot sales. Manna Storehouse had established itself in such a manner, using a small enclosed breezeway attached to their home. It was a folksy place with old wooden floors where coop members stopped by to chat and snack on bags of organic corn chips.

    The state of Ohio boasts the second largest Amish population in the country. Many of the Amish live on acreages where they raise their own food, not unlike Manna Storehouse, and sell off the extras to neighbors and church members. There is a sense of foreboding that this state crackdown on a longstanding, reputable food cooperative operation could adversely impact the peaceful agrarian way of life not only for the Amish, but homeschoolers and those families living off the land on rural acreages. It raises the disturbing possibility that it could become a crime to raise your own food, buy eggs from the farmer down the road, or butcher your own chickens for family and friends – bustling activities that routinely take place in backwater America.

    The freedom to purchase food directly form the source is increasingly under attack. For those who have food allergies and chemical intolerances, or who are on special medical diets, this is becoming a serious health issue. Will Americans retain the right to purchase food that is uncontaminated by pesticides, herbicides, allergens, additives, dyes, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, radiation, etc.? The melamine scare from China underscores the increasingly inferior and suspect quality of modern processed institutional foods. One blog, commenting on the bizarre and troubling Manna Storehouse situation, observed that:

    “No one is saying exactly why. At the same time the FDA says it it safe to eat the 40% of tainted beef found in Costco's and Sam's all over the nation. These farm raids are very common now. Every farmer needs to fully eqiped [sic] for the possibility of it happening to them. The Farmer To Consumer Legal Defense Fund was created just for this purpose. The USDA just released their plans to put a law into action that will put all small farmers out of business. Animals for the sale of meat or milk will only be allowed in commercial farms, even the organic ones.” December 3, 2008 7:09 PM

    Swat Team conducts food raid in rural Ohio
     
  2. Laddyboy

    Laddyboy Guest

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    Wow, hadn't heard this story. Everyday this world gets a little more rediculous.

    "I suggest we learn to love ourselves before it's made illegal."

    ^^^That's a line from one of my favorite Incubus songs "Warning". This story reminded me of it.
     

  3. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

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    Wow.....that's just insane!
    Anyone get the story to Alex Jones?
     
  4. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    one of the sick things is... this was NOT reported by ANY local news station or paper! I live 40 miles away & had to hear about this from someone on Jericho Rally Point that lives HUNDREDS of miles away!

    this fascist crap makes me want to puke :mad:
     
  5. skip

    skip Old hillbilly

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    Just another reason to raise your own food. So sad to see Guberment turn against it's own people.:(:eek:
     
  6. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    Seems like we are missing a huge chunk of the story. Tax evasion maybe?
     
  7. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

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    My guess is that's what the agents had in mind since they allege they didn't have a business license, but if it's a private coop, which in all appearances, it was, they didn't need one. Unless they caught them selling to non-members, I think it looks pretty bogus.
     
  8. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Why the SWAT team for a business license or tax evasion issue is what should be troubling to everyone to say the least! If the rights of one individual are trampled on, then it is a problem for the rest of us. I am curious though if this story is genuine or not, considering the almost total lack of news coverage. Is the news that 'managed' in that locality?
     
  9. skip

    skip Old hillbilly

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    According to what I have read elsewhere, it boils down to the meat was not USDA approved.
     
  10. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

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    I just read some more on this issue yesterday, and things may not be what they seem. There apparently was no SWAT nor auto or semi-auto weapons displayed. Several Sheriff's deputies were sent along to enforce the search warrant, which was issued at the request of the health dept.. because Manna House was acting as a retail business (no license) selling uninspected meat.

    I've been told that there are three sides to every story. As in this case, its Manna House's, the county's, and the truth.
     
  11. WakingUp

    WakingUp Member

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    So... I grew up in the country. My family ran the general store in our community. We bought produce from large "approved" (I suppose FDA approved sources) for exotics like bananas and other fruits, etc., and we bought produce from local farmers for every day staples.

    Our community was not wealthy. Not by a long shot. We had a meat market that sold USDA approved beef and pork. And behind the store we kept chickens (which I had the honor of killing myself as the youngest in the family - and honor passed down from junior to junior), which we sold for both meat and for their egg production.

    On Sundays, when the store was closed, my grandfather took down deer in the meat market for our neighbors / local hunters. We made sausage and flayed backstrap and all kinds of good cuts, and never a word was said about any of it. Bones went into bags for the dogs and heads were saved for mounts (if they had racks) or again given to dogs (if not.) The game was not sold in the market - as it was certainly a family's salvation for a month or more. Papa never took money for this, but we did get a good venison roast about two Sundays a month during hunting season.

    I am forty-four years old. Has the world changed so much?

    I just do not understand.

    If we are dependent on the government to certify and approve every bean we eat, when we are starving what good are we to them? Does our inability to fend for ourselves make them stronger? I don't understand? We can't work for slave wages if we starve on an acre of land we're prohibited from collecting runoff on, raising poultry on, growing vegetables on.

    Someone please help me put this together.
     
  12. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    Jezcruzen, could you please post a link to the article you read with that in it, because I have been rabidly searching for articles & have come up with nothing...

    kthanx
     
  13. skip

    skip Old hillbilly

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    I did have links to local news agencies reporting this story, but am unable to find them. But it does seem this story is true. Supposedly, the law says it is because they were selling non-USDA approved meat. They seized not only the food of the co-op, but the family's personal food out of their home, along with all computers and cell phones.

    The family was keeping mum at the advise of an attorney.

    Below is a link to the political forums from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and the story is being discussed in there, but I will say the discussions get very heated at times.

    http://idigmygarden.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12730&highlight=USDA

    another link
    http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/swat-team.htm
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  14. Bearman405

    Bearman405 Member

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    Big government - Big corporations.............once they get their claws into you, they never want to let go.

    Governments want everything you eat, drink, etc.................to require "inspection".

    Corporations want you to have to buy everything from them.

    If you listern to them, the average person does not have the wearwithall to think for himself. There was a movie some years ago..."something".... GREEN.
     
  15. tortminder

    tortminder Well-Known Member

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    Soylent Green - WARNING Spoiler revelation of ending

    Soylent Green was the movie.

    The world population had grown so much that there was a severe food shortage. All food was government produced and government supplied.
    A main character was Edward G. Robinson, and older man.

    Part of the government strategy for population survival was to encourage euthanization. Robinson chose to be euthanized. His remains were processed and his friend followed the process only to find that WE are Soylent Green.:confused::mad::eek:
     
  16. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    I think he was being facitious... ;)

    also, an Ohio precedent was established in the 70s in Wadsworth,Ohio that a food co-op is NOT a 'retail food establishment' as the executed warrant states... this seems like a 'slam-dunk' to me. :mad:

    didn't there used to be 'company stores' that were set up to essentially 'own' the employees (legalized slavery) that used them? Is that what this country is going back to? :mad:
     
  17. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    The big question remains: why was such a show of force deemed necessary?
    It's pretty simple, the raid was intended to instill fear not only in the Stowerses and other co-op owners... but in their suppliers. They were apparently trying to threaten and intimidate people who are farmers or butchers who are selling the grass-fed beef or the free-range chickens or whatever to the Stowers and trying to set up controlled purchases as though the conduct itself was illegal. It has to be about more than a retail license. Because of the ODA’s involvement, you can reasonably assume it was about sending a message… and that message has to do with concern about the growth of private groups, like herdshares and co-ops, to ensure access to organic, nutritionally-dense foods. Let’s see if the courts will stand up to the police-state gestapo tactics that the ODA has grown so fond of. Whatever the reason, the Stowers' constitutional rights were violated over grass-fed cattle, pastured chickens and pesticide-free produce. Americans 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.
     
  18. DrewDrew

    DrewDrew Guest

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    Well, you just can't be selling yucky meat to people who are obviously dumbg enough to purchase it! Someone has to stop the it. I guess it could have been handled in a different matter though. The grocery store is probably just mad that the family was taking their money and raising hell. You know how people are. Did this happen in a small town?