Lake Elmo farm ban challenged in court


A recent challenge has been made to laws in Lake Elmo forbidding farmers from selling products grown outside of the city.

On May 18 a federal lawsuit was filed by libertarian litigators, Institute for Justice, on behalf of farmer Keith Bergmann and his family, who own Country Sun Farms and Greenhouses. The Bergmann's have been threatened for selling Christmas trees grown elsewhere. As the law stands, a farm selling items grown outside of the city could face fines up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail.

Per the Institute for Justice:

" If a Lake Elmo farmer grows some of his crops in another town or another state, he cannot sell them from his Lake Elmo farm. Products grown in town are allowed; products from elsewhere are not.

This prohibition is a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. One of the primary reasons the Framers gave us a Constitution was to stop trade wars between the states that prevailed under the previous Articles of Confederation. The Commerce Clause gave Congress the authority to regulate interstate trade in order to stop these protectionist battles. Our national economic union now allows every individual and business in this nation to reap the many benefits of free trade across state lines."

The Institute of Justice also released this video featuring the Bergmanns. Representatives for the city of Lake Elmo state that they are only trying to "preserve the area's rural character."