Farmers should not be threatened with 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees grown outside city limits.

Yet that is the law in Lake Elmo, Minn. On December 1, 2009, the Lake Elmo City Council declared that it would begin enforcing a law that forbids farmers from selling products from their own land unless they were grown inside city limits. The citys politicians argue that they are protecting Lake Elmos rural character. In fact, they are destroying that character by making it impossible for their farmers to earn an honest living and making it more likely that family farms will fail.