From the December 2008 Idaho Observer:

Swat Team Conducts "Food Raid" in Rural Ohio

On Monday, December 1, a SWAT team brandishing semi-automatic rifles entered the private home of the Stowers family in LaGrange, Ohio. Police detained the family, including children, infants and toddlers, at gunpoint in its living room from approximately 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The team was reportedly aggressive and belligerent. At some point, the "bad cop" SWAT team was relieved by a "good cop" team that tried to befriend the family. The Stowers have run a very large, well-known food cooperative called Manna Storehouse in the Cleveland area since 1999 (go to

Agents, including Bill Lesho from the Department of Agriculture were reportedly executing a "suspicious-looking" search warrant when they began rifling through all of the family’s possessions, a task that lasted hours and resulted in a complete upheaval of every private area in the home. Many items were taken that were not listed on the search warrant. The family was not permitted a phone call, and they were not told what crime they were being charged with. They were not read their rights. Over $10,000 worth of food was taken, including the family’s personal stock of food for the coming year. All of their computers, and all of their cell phones were taken, as well as phone and contact records.

There is speculation that the incident was triggered by a county health official who discovered some organic beef in an Oberlin College food service freezer a year ago that was traced to Manna Storehouse. Oberlin College’s student food coop is widely known for its strident ideological stance about eating organic foods. It seems that the Oberlin student food cooperative had joined the Manna Storehouse food cooperative in order to buy organic foods in bulk.