The trial of Vernon Hershberger for the crime of selling healthy, unprocessed milk to informed and willing customers is sadly a damning commentary on the times in which we currently live.
This humble yet learned Amish farmer faces the ruin of his farm, his family, and jail time in a trial that highlights the utter depravity of the so-called authorities who claim the right to rule over the rest of us.
Over and over thugs raided the peaceful Hershberger's farm, destroying his property and terrorizing his ten children. His crime was selling a product that has been consumed from time immemorial and which thousands upon thousands of families (including this writer's) increasingly swear by as healthful and wholesome: unprocessed, fresh milk.
Hershberger was caught up in a hell of Kafka's worst nightmare:
"The state is arguing that Hershberger violated the law by selling milk (raw) while he was not licensed. But here's the problem: licensing requires that milk producers sell to a licensed processing plant. If you don't sell to a plant, you aren't licensed. At issue is not the fact that Hershberger failed to obtain a license, but that he cannot get a license, period, to sell milk because he was no longer shipping to a plant. Instead, he was attempting to sell raw milk directly to buyers or buying club 'members' who had purchased shares in cows. But no one is allowed to say that."
His trial is a repulsive, Darkness at Noon, mockery of justice, where the judge forbade the words "raw milk" from even being uttered in the courtroom where the very "crime" is that Hershberger sold raw milk to willing customers! Every time this forbidden phrase was about to come out of the mouth of either side in the trial, the judge ordered the jury to be quickly removed from the courtroom to protect them from even hearing this dangerous term.California raw milk entrepreneur and activist Mark McAfee was forbidden from entering the courtroom due to a mere suggestion of the banned term:
"McAfee was not allowed to wear his organic pastures t shirt in the courtroom because of its reference to raw milk."
A woman wearing a t-shirt that read "Got Initiative" was likewise banned because of the milk implication of her chosen attire.
A teen-aged girl was forced by the court to remove a button that simply said “Raw Milk Me.”
Hershberger's children were forced to listen to the dedicated father that they no-doubt idolized being portrayed as a dangerous criminal for selling unadulterated, natural, healthy, chemical-free meat and dairy products to grateful customers.
Here is an actual exchange between a defense witness, the defense attorney, the prosecuting attorney, and the judge:
Defense testimony from one of Vernon Hershberger's buying club members since 2004, Joseph Plasterer, as to how he came to seek out farm's food.
Plasterer: "We were looking for some natural milk sources, in early 2004."
Defense lawyer: Did you come and meet the Hershbergers?
Plasterer: "Yes. We asked if we could be part of the farm…
Defense: Did you have a reason?
Plasterer: "My son was not thriving…"
Judge Guy Reynolds: "Sustained"
Plasterer: "We wanted access to unprocessed food that was higher quality that would not be available from the stores."
Judge Reynolds: "Sustained. Strike the answer. The jury is to ignore that."
As it happens, we took a brief break today to travel to a rural farm not far from the artificiality of suburban life to pick fresh strawberries from a young farm family who was trying to transform their 100 year old family farm to meet the exploding demand for fresh, wholesome, local food. They set aside some of their barley fields to grow fresh local produce with no chemical applications. But the county, they informed us, had fought them every step of the way. Their planned farm shop was delayed at least year (at enormous financial loss) due to bureaucratic resistance to their wishes. Any value-added product is strictly forbidden, forcing them to only sell the peach rather than a delicious pie made from the raw materials. It is absolutely inhuman.
The food freedom movement is rapidly becoming the most fundamental issue of our time, as there can be no more central issue than the state demanding to approve the very sustenance with which we chose to nourish ourselves. Cannabis decriminalization, wiretapping, IRS thuggery, and other issues are indeed important to the struggle for individual liberty. But if we surrender to the state the authority to dictate what we are allowed to feed ourselves and our families then little else matters afterward.