December event cancellation and an important update

Over the last 9 months, the widespread interest in and awareness of the MPLS Swappers have allowed our food swaps to grow and our community to strengthen. Everyone involved has had the opportunity to feel empowered, excited, and passionate about producing high-quality and delicious food and sharing it with others.

Apparently, awareness of our event has even filtered up to the regulatory bodies of state government. Last week, organizers Mandy, A-K, and I were contacted by the Minnesota Minneapolis Department of Health. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health both have concerns over the format of our swap, the types of food being exchanged, and the unregulated nature of the event. The Department of Health informed us that they believe that under the current statue, the one-for-one exchange of homemade goods constitutes a sale, and therefore, the type of foods we are “selling” and the absence of regulation and licensing with which we are doing so is not legally permitted.

We are working to confirm this and clear up some of the grey areas in the law.  Because there is a chance that our swap format does not comply with state law, and being pressed on time to find an appropriate solution, we have chosen to cancel the December 11, 2011 food swap and postpone creating events for 2012.

This is deeply disappointing and unexpected, and we apologize to everyone that has registered and started planning or cooking for next week’s event.

We are currently working with our contact at the Department of Health and other legal sources to obtain as much information as possible about current laws and regulations so we are fully informed, and get the specifics in regards to which statues they feel are in violation. We plan to explore new formats for our food swaps that will allow us to exchange our lovingly prepared food items, grow our community, and maintain a strong grassroots spirit, all while keep us safe from further investigation.

Additionally, we want to express our gratitude to Open Arms of Minnesota, our gracious and generous host for our recent swaps. Open Arms has been incredibly supportive of our events and we deeply appreciate the space, materials, and friendship they have offered to us over the months. We sincerely hope that they have not experienced any negative consequences from their association with us during this investigation by the State. No matter what form our food swap takes in the future, we hope that our organizations can maintain a positive and mutually beneficial relationship.

All things willing, we will hold a food swap in January, and will share information as it is available. As we embark on this new path we will let you know when and how we will need your help. Thank you for supporting the MPLS Swappers from our humble beginnings to the lively, thriving community it is today and will continue to be in the future.

Yours in the fight!

A-K Thordin, Kim Christensen, and Mandy Ellerton

Organizers of the MPLS Swappers

8 Responses to “December event cancellation and an important update”
  1. But are you fighting by canceling? Instead, are you acquiescing to intimidation and government brutality? It is everyone’s Constitutional Right to engage in social community events of sharing and bartering. Applying statutes that were designed to control distribution to the masses is being misapplied to you. It is your 10th Amendment Right.

    I suggest that you claim individual sovereignty and opt out of your their governmental jurisdiction according to USSC Syllabus Bond v. United States, Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, No. 09–1227, that was argued February 22, 2011 and decided June 16, 2011, individuals have standing to challenge…laws as violations of state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment. “Federalism secures the freedom of the individual…through the enactment of positive law, to the initiative of those who seek a voice in shaping the destiny of their own times without having to rely solely upon the political processes that control a remote central power.”

    I am not an attorney giving legal advice. I am giving you facts of our Constitution and citing a case involving your situation that you can use to free yourself from the fascism that threatens us.

  2. Jacquelynn Goessling says:

    Time for a pro bono lawyer consultation. This has to have been an issue elsewhere, this can’t be a first. Don’t give up so easily! Don’t let Industrial Food win! Occupy Swappers!

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    Taxpayer dollars at work right there! I think we’re all adults and understand the (negligible) risks associated with eating food someone else has prepared. What’s next? The government stepping and banning dinner parties? Or birthday parties? Or Super Bowl parties? Why not? Food is prepared and eaten at those events…

  4. Brooke says:

    Thank you organizers for your care and consideration of food safety and the longterm vison of this fun event. As a participant, I thought we were excluded from licensing under MN Statute 28A. Perhaps we could consider complying more mindfully with these regulations. For example, I wonder if participants each posting required information outlined below would be enough for us to get started again.

    Here is part of the statute:
    (4) the seller displays at the point of sale a clearly legible sign or placard stating: “These canned goods are homemade and not subject to state inspection” unless the products were processed and canned in a kitchen that is licensed or inspected; and

    (5) each container of the product sold or offered for sale under this exemption is accurately labeled to provide the name and address of the person who processed and canned the goods and the date on which the goods were processed and canned.

    I also wonder if having educational materials from MN Extension available for participants would cover:
    (d) The commissioner, in close cooperation with the commissioner of health and the Minnesota Extension Service, shall attempt to maximize the availability of information and technical services and support for persons who wish to home process and home can low acid and acidified food products.

    Here is a link to the full statute:

    I’m happy to help, if needed.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] MPLS Food Swappers December Event Cancelled Tweet This entry was posted in News, Opinion by John. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  2. […] we discussed in this post, we were contacted by the Minneapolis Department of Health in November due to their concerns […]

  3. […] conversations with the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture (learn more about that here and here). We miss seeing your smiling faces and tasting your marvelous foods. Most of all, we miss […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: