Have you ever been afraid to stand up for your Constitutional rights? Do you hesitate to speak up in defense of liberty? America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Many patriots have sacrificially fought to protect our freedoms on the battlefields of war, giving us examples of courage. Now our rights are threatened on a different type of battlefield and we need a new type of courage from patriotic citizens who believe life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be protected for all. Larvita McFarquhar believes we can have freedom without fear and works to encourage everyone to boldly stand in defense of liberty. In her second interview with Linda, she updates listeners on the ongoing saga to simply keep her business open and to provide for her family amidst unreasonable mandates and lockdowns.
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Linda J. Hansen: Welcome. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics Podcast. My name is Linda J. Hansen. Your host and the author of Prosperity 101 - Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, and the creator of the Breakroom Economics online course. The book, the course, and the entire podcast library can be found on Prosperity101.com. I seek to connect boardroom to breakroom and policy to paycheck by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs.
My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement, and retention and to an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests and be sure to visit Prosperity101.com.
Thank you for joining us today. I have a repeat guest and I’m so excited to have her back, Larvita McFarquhar from Lynd, Minnesota is with me today. I featured Larvita in a previous episode entitled, Enough is Enough! Stand Up! Open Up! which we recorded in the fall of 2020. Larvita has been a brave business owner who has stood up to unreasonable, often unlawful and unconstitutional mandates regarding lockdowns in her home state of Minnesota. Larvita owns Havens Gardens Restaurant in Lynd, Minnesota and Prestige Gymnastics.
Her life has been turned upside down through 2020 and 2021 here, and I wanted to bring her back to bring an update to what she’s experiencing because not only is she representative of millions of business owners across the country, who have struggled under these unreasonable, unlawful, and unconstitutional COVID mandates, but she is a leader who has chosen to stand up and be a voice. So, I know she has been an encouragement to me, to many others, and with that, I welcome you Larvita. Thank you for being here again.
Larvita McFarquhar: Thank you so much for having me.
Linda J. Hansen: Yeah. Well, your story is quite inspirational. For those who maybe haven’t heard of you or haven’t followed this story over the months, you are a single mother, minority woman, business owner, who has been the David against Goliath in your state of Minnesota. You have been bold and brave, and unafraid. Well, I can’t say you’ve always been unafraid. But you’ve gone forward in spite of fear, which is true courage. And you have really tried to move the needle to provide more freedom for business owners in your state. So, when did your struggles with the state of Minnesota, local officials, and opening up your business really begin?
Larvita McFarquhar: The truth is from the beginning back in March. I had spoken to a lawyer about – they were doing a lawsuit against – for small businesses to sue the governor. And so, back then I – the truth is it’s just the Lord, you know, He’s been placing things on me. And for me, it’s not about – it’s just doing what He says. And so, I just – it’s hard for me not to understand why everyone’s not doing it. I know that makes no sense, truthfully, but it’s just when the Lord keeps you shielded, I guess, because I feel like I’m shielded and unprotected, and I know that. And so, it doesn’t feel like I’m really standing up. I’m just doing what He’s telling me to do.
And so, from the beginning, I could see that the whole thing was bogus. For me, I always say, all businesses are essential. All life is essential. And that’s what my premise for anything. And so, for the governor to try to pick and choose who’s a winner and who’s a loser in this day and age is crazy to me. And so, from the beginning, I’ve been fighting with the governor, I guess you would say, about him closing down small businesses.
Linda J. Hansen: Thank you for being a voice for small businesses. And I know that when we spoke before you said, you didn’t always feel brave but you just went ahead and do what you thought was right – and what you thought was right, to stay open and conduct your business. And you went ahead and did all of the sanitization protocols. You followed the distancing protocols. You did everything that was required of you, in terms of following health guidelines and yet they still wanted you to remain closed. And this is a devastating thing that’s happened to so many businesses across the country.
Before we were recording, we were talking about the case more recently. If our listeners don’t know, there’s a woman – another brave woman, business owner in Holland, Michigan, a restaurant owner, who is now in jail for keeping her restaurant open. And as we are watching states open all across the country, we’re watching illegals flood through our border without COVID testing, without COVID protocols, all these things, it’s hard for people to understand why the government would pick on a business like Havens Gardens or this lady’s business in Holland, Michigan, or many others across the country.
And the small business owners that have stood up and created information or have told their story and have helped people understand the unreasonable and inconsistencies of the lockdowns. I mean, they are really helping people to see through, I’d say, the facade that is all about health and safety. It is not about health and safety. I truly believe it’s more about power and control. And when they can have the power to close your business, then they make you dependent on government, and that is never a healthy place to be for a society that wants to be free and prosperous and have an environment where humans can flourish.
So, when you have been working with other small business owners, what have their stories been, both in Minnesota and across the country? I know you’ve talked to many people. You’ve done different interviews. You’ve really been a voice for the small business owner. So, tell me what you’re hearing from others?
Larvita McFarquhar: Well, thank you. The biggest problem is – I want people to understand, is that the government is using the full force, all the resources that they have to come after us, the small businesses. They are threatening us with jail time. They’re putting – they have a warrant out for a friend that has been open for her arrest. It’s not – it’s a day-by-day thing. We never know what’s going to happen. Are they going to send the sheriffs after us? Are they going to find us more money? I mean, they sent – they have OSHA right now, you know, people don’t understand that you have so much going on, that they’re just trying – they’re really truthfully trying to bully small businesses into complete compliance.
I mean, what people don’t understand is that at my last hearing, they said to me – and this is what they have given all the other businesses that have chosen to open – they said that you can sign a paper stating that you will obey every mandate, everything that comes out of the Governor’s Office without question – without question. And that’s the only way they will, I guess, leave us alone. I don’t know. So, right now, if we’ve been open, they said they’ve taken our licenses. They’ve taken on liquor licenses. They’ve taken basically anything, saying that we –whatever they can do to us that – that is what they’re trying to do, is throw the book at us. I mean, like with Marlena, she’s in jail for being open, running her business. I mean –
Linda J. Hansen: This is the woman in Michigan. This is a woman –
Larvita McFarquhar: Yeah.
Linda J. Hansen: – in Holland, Michigan. Yes.
Larvita McFarquhar: I’ve been really blessed because my local authority and my Sheriff’s Department have been supporting me. And I don’t know about – I know the ones that I’ve talked to, their sheriffs are not, you know, and they’re doing whatever the judge says, or whatever the courts say or whatever anyone’s – the governor says. And I’m like, “The sheriffs are there to stand up for we, the people.” That’s why we vote them in. You know, they’re the ones who are supposed to uphold the Constitution.
If someone is doing something unlawful, it doesn’t matter who it is – the governor, our mayor, city council – it doesn’t matter. It’s not their job to enforce unlawful, unconstitutional things. They’re not there to – the biggest thing for me right now is that the governor is trying to use small businesses, restaurant owners to be their Police Department, to make people follow their unlawful unconstitutional laws. People understand when I say that. It’s because I’m supposed to stop everyone that comes in to demand that they wear a mask. I’m supposed to stop everyone that comes in now what – the new thing is the vaccines.
I mean, we, as Americans, we need to, like you said, stand up. And as a small business owner, we have to stand up. We have to do what’s right, no matter what, no matter the cost, putting each other, you know, fighting against each other and really put it where it belongs and that’s on our government. And that’s the hardest thing right now, just knowing that other people are suffering for something that is ridiculous that they’re – and they’re not letting up. You would think, you know, they’ve opened up businesses here, you know, to like 75% for restaurants. But yet, they’re still coming after us, saying that we can’t be open, that we – they want us to close. They want us to lose everything and they’re okay with that.
Linda J. Hansen: You brought up a good point about how the local sheriffs in some areas you have been involved locally with your local officials, they’ve gotten to know you, you have created relationships with them, so they’ve been supportive. And one of the things that I think Americans are waking up to is the importance of being involved at the local level. These local sheriffs, the local city council members, local mayors, even the local school boards when it comes to things happening in the schools, these are very important roles for everyone to play when they – well, I shouldn’t say play – these are very important roles for people to fill if they care about creating constitutional laws within their communities.
And you brought up a really good point there that it’s the local officials who either will follow through on unconstitutional mandates or they will stand up and not fully enforce them, because they realize it’s not the law. And we’ve seen this all over the country that there’s been some brave people at local levels who have stood up to unreasonable, unconstitutional mandates that are hurting the people. And when you said that – you mentioned some other people in Minnesota that have suffered, you mentioned a friend in Albert Lea, is it? And what has been happening with her?
Larvita McFarquhar: Her name is Lisa Monet. So, if people could just reach out to her and just really let her know that she’s not alone, I don’t – they’ve closed her down, basically, and they are demanding that she turns herself in because they have a warrant out for her arrest. And I had to learn this then she had to learn this, that if you turn yourself in, that means you are saying you’re guilty and that you are agreeing to what – you know, to the terms of what they’re saying. And so, she’s not turning yourself in. It’s about, I believe, eight days now that she’s just been talking back and forth to our sheriff and, you know, she’s not hiding or going anywhere.
She’s in her house, but who wants to live like that where you’re constantly – of what – when are they coming? What are they going to do? And I know, it’s the same for me, like I don’t even want to leave my girls here and they help fend the restaurant by themselves because they never know who’s going to come in, who’s going to say something to them or do anything, and, yeah, it’s just –
Linda J. Hansen: This is not the freedom that we are used to in America. So, we do need to rise up against this. It has become a slow creep of overcontrol that has happened, especially during COVID. And it kind of came on fast for people and they don’t really know what to do. You are actively trying to educate people. You’re actively trying to work through appropriate channels. I talked to you many times over the last several months, and it’s not like you want to be a law breaker.
You’re not trying to be in their face. You’re trying to do things peacefully and through appropriate channels, through appropriate measures that are lawful and reasonable to actually plead your case and be able to keep your business open. You are working with your local officials to hopefully have a Freedom Without Fear! Festival, which sounds very exciting, April 24th, in your community of Lynd. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
Larvita McFarquhar: Yes, I’m so excited to be having this concert festival kind of thing. We’ve been blessed to have J360, Savannah, Forgiato Blow, Rocky Luciano, Jeremy Jensen who’s a representative and hopefully, Linda, and Erik Mortensen and other people that are going to be speaking and just helping the people again get educated on what we need to do to support each other and the officials who are doing the right thing.
And we will also have – everyone knows Sheriff [inaudible]. I love him. I’ve been blessed to get to know him and he’s come out here before to talk to my local sheriff and the commissioners to let them know what needs to happen, how do they stay above politics truthfully, and really just stand on the Constitution and our liberties. And so, he will be sending representatives to be speaking. And so, it’s going to be April 24th. And just really again, spreading the word and having a good time and really learning to live life again, you know, and stop living in fear with every little thing, fear of our government, you know, fear of the police, fear of this virus.
That is not what Yahweh has told us to do. He has told us to live and He’s given us one life, you know, and we have to live it to the best of our ability. And so, my whole thing is just to wake up. Everyone is to stand up and just come out and have a great time and learn some things and really just be together with other people because we know what isolation does. We know how it destroys our minds first of all, and it’s time to be around other people and let them know that they’re not alone because no one should be living alone in fear at this time. That’s the worst thing we could do for anyone and I’m not going to – I’m sorry, go ahead.
Linda J. Hansen: No, it’s fine. Exactly. We shouldn’t live in fear. And so, the title of your festival, Freedom Without Fear! is exciting because we have been blessed in America to be able to live lives in freedom. We’ve always had the freedoms afforded to us in our Constitution, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to pursue our businesses, you know, we’ve had, of course, there’s laws, regulations, things like that, that regulate commerce or things to a degree. But it has gone so far now into unconstitutional areas that are really impacting not only individuals, but then the economies of local communities and states and really creating hardship for all our citizens.
So, as we’ve looked at so many states that have opened up more, whether it’s their schools or they’ve opened up their restaurants or businesses, we’ve seen that the COVID numbers really aren’t that different, or in many cases, they’re better in the open states. It’s healthier. It’s healthier to be able to get out and get fresh air more and things but – so, if people want to sign up to attend this Freedom Without Fear! Festival, April 24th in Lynd, Minnesota, where would they go to see updates or to register to attend?
Larvita McFarquhar: They can go to my Facebook page. It’s at Havens Garden and then on there, there will be a link. There will be a cost for this because – artists. There will be a cost for this and we’re still working on all the details on how much it will be. And then – yeah, so if they go to my Facebook page, it’s where I update everything. And my – you can also go to my website, it’s HavensGarden.org and we will be putting more information on there also, but right now, you can go to mine.
Linda J. Hansen: Your Facebook page?
Larvita McFarquhar: Yeah.
Linda J. Hansen: Okay, that is great. And so, the Freedom Without Fear! Festival is really to encourage individuals and business owners to stand up and say, “Enough is enough,” that we can open up. We can live and work without fear, and to basically let the local and state and national officials – elected officials remember that they’re being held accountable. So, I know one of the things we talked about before this is that – really helping people understand that elected officials are not our leaders. They are not to be our tyrants. They are to be our servants. They are our servants. We elected them. They work for us.
So, for them to come down with these unreasonable lockdown mandates and inconsistent – inconsistent applications of those mandates is what is so egregious. And so, I thank you for standing up for those people, not only yourself, but for those who maybe are afraid to use their voice against such things and bringing it to light. I know you’ve done several interviews. You’ve talked with policy organizations. You’ve tried to be an activist in the sense for freedom and that is just great.
Larvita McFarquhar: We need to stand up and now’s the time to stand up and take back responsibility. Because the truth is, we have to be responsible for what our government is doing. It’s not the other way around. We are the ones who have led our government to close small businesses. We, the people, have to take responsibility for what is going on in D.C. And until we stand up and know what we’re supposed to be doing, coming together, this is what’s going to happen.
And I love that you say it’s – I always say it’s one voice. Because, for me, it’s always – it was really hard thinking that I had a voice, you know, that I even had a right to speak up truthfully and that was my biggest thing. You know that I hate speaking up and I get nervous, and it’s just – but the Lord really worked on me and said, “You know what, your voice is good enough.” We all have a voice. every last one of us because you don’t have to be brilliant in anything. You’re good enough as you are. And that’s what the Lord has really worked on with me, you know.
And so, we all have that one voice that we have to speak up and say, “Enough is enough,” and take back the power where it belongs. That’s in each of us, not in our government, not in the Mayor’s or the Sheriff’s Office. No, we know what we are supposed to do as Americans. We are free. Yahweh has blessed us with this land and we need to remember that. And we each have a voice and we need to take control of that voice. And that’s what I’m learning to do, trying to learn to do, and that’s what all of us – mothers, single mothers, stay-at-home moms because that’s what I was, doctors, lawyers, I mean, you see how they silence doctors. We all have a voice. We all have a say in what is going on. And we need to start using it and we need to all stand up. Sorry.
Linda J. Hansen: That’s – no, that’s a really good point. And, you know, you talked about being afraid to speak up. I was thinking about even in scripture, Moses was saying that he wasn’t worthy to speak up for the people and yet God chose him. So, you know, we all do have a voice. And the thing about our government, it is we, the people – we, the people of the United States. And so many people in elected office have forgotten about the people. And they’ve used fear to lead us to believe that we have to just comply to everything.
And I was looking at, you know, old clips of things that were said at the beginning of the pandemic when Dr. Fauci said, “Don’t wear masks. Masks aren’t good. They are ineffective in preventing illnesses like these.” And then pretty soon, it’s “Wear a mask.” And then pretty soon, it’s – after you have the vaccine, you won’t need a mask. And now we’ve had a lot of people with the vaccine and it’s, “You still need a mask. And in fact, you might need two masks.”
And so, you know, I find myself thinking, “Hmm, this seems rather inconsistent.” And it’s just a slippery slope and a constantly changing goal post in a sense of what it is we’re supposed to do. And, like you said, with your business, you never know which day, you know, what you’re going to face. They don’t warn you. They don’t tell you. They just want to intimidate you, and thank you for standing up to them.
But also to people listening, you don’t have to be intimidated. There are ways that you can stand up to this. I mean, think of the leaders across the country, who have stood up and made a difference. And for some people, it’s been really tough. Some of these, you know, gym owners or restaurant owners who have gone through hardship, people who’ve been canceled on social media or even organizations and social media apps that have had their whole platform taken off of the internet.
You know, we look at this and we say, “Well, no.” We have to stand up. We have to rise up against this. So, you know, I just appreciate what you’re doing and what you’re trying to do through this Freedom Without Fear! Festival. And I’m so thankful that your local community is willing to work with you on this. I mean, they seem like they want you to be open and they want you to be able to have this festival, but it’s the state of Minnesota, is that correct that’s, you know, maybe preventing this?
Larvita McFarquhar: Yes. And I also would like to say that actually, in Minnesota, there’s a law that you are not allowed to wear masks in public. Yeah, that’s literally – exactly everything they contradict themselves. Yeah, the biggest problem I’m having is –
Linda J. Hansen: Wait, let’s back up there a second.
Larvita McFarquhar: Yup.
Linda J. Hansen: There is a law in the state of Minnesota that you’re not allowed to wear a mask in public. Was that prior to COVID?
Larvita McFarquhar: Prior to COVID.
Linda J. Hansen: And that is still on the books.
Larvita McFarquhar: It’s still on the books.
Linda J. Hansen: That law is obviously not being adhered to and then the mask mandates are inconsistent. And, you know, just not consistently enforced or regulated throughout the state as well. So, it’s just kind of a hodgepodge of mask mandates. Right?
Larvita McFarquhar: Exactly. Exactly. So, they can – again, they pick and choose what laws they want to follow, what laws they don’t want to follow, and then we, the Minnesotans, we don’t have to, I guess, read their minds. I don’t know. [Laughs].
Linda J. Hansen: [Laughs] Well, and, you know, it’s tough in Minnesota, but obviously it’s tough in Michigan.
Larvita McFarquhar: Yeah.
Linda J. Hansen: Based – by this woman who was just put in jail and we’ve heard these stories from all over the country. But kudos to the governors and the local officials across the country who have opened up and allowed their citizens to conduct business, to earn their livelihoods, to keep their economic and financial independence solvent because, you know, people need to take care of their families and the mental health and emotional drain that COVID and all of the financial hardship has caused for so many people is really true. So, I think you’re right that this festival is an important event. And I hope that things like this will be happening around the country, so.
Larvita McFarquhar: Yeah.
Linda J. Hansen: Right.
Larvita McFarquhar: And I know you asked me – sorry and I went back to the mask thing, but you had asked me about our local. So, what has been wonderful for me personally, is because my local authority, the Southwest Health and Human Services, gave me back my license to serve food, and I had just applied for my liquor license. And the City Council agreed to give me my license and so, we sent it out to the state, you know, my city clerk has to send it out to the state. And so, I’m waiting right now to hear back if they will approve it, which they can because my city is the one who’s supposed to approve it. They approved it. They’re supposed to just give me the license.
But what happened is the state came in and said that we supersede your local authority and we are going to take your food handler’s license. So, right now, I’m in the process of fighting that with my lawyer and everything about that they – you know, about them taking my food handler’s license. And so – and again, I’m waiting to see what happens with my liquor license to see if it will be approved or what the state will do. So, again, we are, like you said, we do local – follow with the local says and then see what the state says, and go from there.
Linda J. Hansen: Right. It seems like it’s very inconsistent and hard to know which target to hit there –
Larvita McFarquhar: Yes.
Linda J. Hansen: – with what you’re doing, so. Well, thank you for continuing to try and actually, for the way you do it, too, which is, as I mentioned before, lawful, respectful. You tried to go through the proper channels. You tried to go through the legal channels and follow the law in how you’re trying to push back against this when you’re not trying to be a rebellious –
Larvita McFarquhar: Exactly.
Linda J. Hansen: – citizen, you’re trying to do so in a way that can really open up the path for all citizens. So, for that, I commend you. How can people help you?
Larvita McFarquhar: We have a Gifts and Go Fund that’s set up and it’s under Larvita’s daughters because what happened is my – sorry, it’s just unbelievable. The Attorney General’s Office threatened to say that any money that I raise, they will take it. And so, I took it out of my legal department's name and put it in my daughter’s name. So, it says under Larvita’s daughters because they’re threatened to take anything that I raised from my legal defense or anything. So, again, it’s a bullying tactic and what our Attorney General in Minnesota is doing, so if everyone could go to there or they can just call me or email.
Linda J. Hansen: And you can keep up to date on what is happening with her business and the local authorities, and the state authorities there. And if you live in the state of Minnesota, put pressure on your governor and your attorney general. And for anyone listening in any other state or country, put pressure on your elected officials to be more reasonable. And in the U.S., we have a Constitution that allows for freedom, and freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to conduct business. So, we can do this in America and we can do so in a way that protects everyone’s health.
Americans are smart and we know that if we just do simple protocols that help keep us safe. We don’t have to worry so much about COVID or anything else. And especially now many people are having the vaccine and many people may want to still wear a mask or may not want to gather together with people yet. Maybe they’re high risk. We understand that and we understand that COVID is a real thing that has, you know, brought grief to many people.
And there’s people who I know right now who are sick with COVID and struggling to get well. And you know, so we’re not diminishing COVID. We’re not diminishing the fact that this has been a serious pandemic. What we’re saying is there’s ways to manage it. There’s ways to deal with it that can still allow businesses to operate and people to earn their living, and not become financially destitute or totally dependent on the government. We just appreciate everybody who wants to stand up and provide jobs and create businesses and create great places for people to go. Is there anything that you’d like to say as a final word for our listeners?
Larvita McFarquhar: Yes. I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all the wonderful people that have reached out to me and just supported me, and just – it gives me the encouragement to keep going on and to know that I’m not alone. That has been so wonderful. And to all of the people, I just want to say thank you to all the people that have reached out to me and just show the love and the support. I have people coming from all over the state to come down on my Friday nights that we are open, and the love and support they have is just so wonderful.
I mean, we sit here until like 2:00 in the morning just talking., and just to know that there’s people out there that are on the same page, that are standing up and doing what’s right, and that they love our country, and that they’re willing to stand with me and with all other Americans is just so wonderful. So, again, I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone out there. And if we could show the same love you show me to all the other small businesses that are out there that are hurting, because they need to know that they’re not alone also, so.
Linda J. Hansen: Exactly. Yeah, support your local small businesses there. You’re supporting the families in your area. You’re supporting local government that way, too. You’re supporting your local communities. You’re supporting the people that you care about, your neighbors and friends. So, whenever you can, please support your local businesses. And also, I always like to put a pitch in to buy American. We’ve seen it in this last year how it can be hurtful for us to be dependent on other nations for critical products that we need to take care of American citizens.
So, whenever you can buy American and please encourage those companies that are committed to a domestic production. So, we just want a strong America. A strong America makes a strong world. And when we can have a strong America, we can have these states that are strong. We can have our businesses be strong, our families be strong, and individuals strong like you, Larvita. Thank you for being here. God bless you.
Larvita McFarquhar: Thank you for having me. Bye.
Linda J. Hansen: Thank you again for listening to the Prosperity 101 Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share, and leave a great review. Don’t forget to visit Prosperity101.com to access the entire podcast library, to order my newest book, Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, or to enroll you or your employees in the Breakroom Economics online course. You can also receive the free e-book, 10 Tips for Helping Employees Understand How Public Policy Affects Paychecks.
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