Lake Elmo farmer plants lawsuit vs. the city
A longtime Lake Elmo farmer sued the city on Tuesday over an ordinance that restricts local farmers from selling products grown beyond city limits.
Richard Bergmann, owner of Country Sun Farm and Greenhouse, alleges that the ordinance is a restraint on trade. He is joined in the federal suit by farmers in Nebraska and North Carolina who supplied him with pumpkins and Christmas trees.
They are represented by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian group that pursues what it refers to as “economic liberty” cases.
Bergmann and his family sell farm goods grown both inside and outside his Lake Elmo property. He grows some pumpkins on his land in Wisconsin and buys some from other growers, including one in Nebraska.
Almost all the Christmas trees Bergmann sells also come from out of town, mostly from a supplier in North Carolina. Lake Elmo has a 30-year-old ordinance forbidding farmers from selling anything that’s not grown there.