URGENT ACTION ALERT FOR SMALL FARM THREATENED BY REGULATORY SILLINESS!
Please send emails to the people listed at the end of this post. A few minutes of your time can make a real difference for Ken and Kathy Lindner and their small family farm. Thank you!!
**** LINDNER BISON URGENTLY NEEDS YOUR HELP! ****
After 10 years of trying to find affordable cold storage in L.A. County, on Sunday 7/14 Lindner Bison was banned from selling in farmers markets. Verny Grajeda, the inspector issuing the ban, must personally approve any new storage location. Until he does, Lindner bison cannot sell in LA farmers markets. Further Mr. Grajeda has indicated legal action against Lindner Bison.
As a 2-person company with a spotless quality and public safety record, and impeccable reputation, Lindner Bison uses interim commercial chest freezers that we've been told by Environmental Health meet county requirements. If the freezers were on the ranch and we brought our meat directly to each market from our ranch, 12 hours (600 miles) away, though impossible this too would meet county requirements. Most of the meat is in an affordable state licensed facility in Bakersfield, Kern County. For interim storage, L.A. County regulations state the meat must be in an "county approved storage" facility.
What is 'an approved facility?' It's hard to say. The question has been asked and the answer seems to be 'pay the fee, submit your plans and we'll get back to you.' Since April we've worked with someone who has done just that. Over $800 non-refundable license fees and countless resubmittals later, he gave up saying the latest requirement was installing a floor drain and creating a painted ceiling where a flourescent light and ceiling panels exist. This just to place 4 self-contained commercial chest freezers in a warehouse office space. In frustration he abandoned the effort.
A 10-year search for space in existing approved facilities has also proven fruitless. Not only are they cost prohibitive for a small company like us, but without weekend access, precisely when we need them. Compounding the issue is that county regulations are clearly written for commercial sized food distribution companies, making it virtually impossible for any small business to become established, much less get started. Though Lindner Bison has repeatedly explained the requirements are impossible for us to afford, no solutions, compromise or help has even been offered. This includes any recommendations of an approved facility that met their requirements and ours. They know nothing exists.
Just to miss one market's income is financially devastating. It is no exageration when we say that without immediate help Lindner Bison will be bankrupt in 1-2 months. Our company will cease to exist and our meat will be unavailable. We will need to sell our animals and ranch.
Most of you know us by our work and our reputation. You've known us for over a decade and you know the quality of everything we stand for. Not just about our love for the animals and 100% grassfed (non-GMO) bison meat, but our commitment to having our meat there for you rain or shine, and our commitment to other ethical small farmers struggling to do the right thing.
NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, LINDNER BISON URGENTLY NEEDS YOUR VOICE!
Please call and/or email ask the ban to be immediately allowing Lindner Bison to sell until suitable and affordable cold storage can be secured, and/or the regulation rewritten to allow small farmers to survive.
Suggested e-mail text:
Lindner Bison followed the spirit of the public safety law by using commercial chest freezers. They cannot afford commercial space inaccessible on weekends. A one-size-fits all regulation grossly penalizes small farmers and businesses. This regulation was written for huge food distribution corporations like Ralphs or Safeway, not two small farmers who have consistently brought safe, healthful meat to L.A. for a decade. Please immediately lift the ban and stop all legal action against them. They deserve far better than this for their spotless reputation in bringing superior quality meat from humanely raised animals to Los Angeles families, as well as their heartfelt and caring efforts to restore a heritage animal to the state. Thank you.
Please call or email:
1. Anjelo Bellomo, Director, Environmental Health
626-430-5100 ( NOT-6100 as prev. posted)
2. Michael Antonovich, LA County Supervisor
3. Senator Steve Knight
4. Assemblyman Scott Wilk