By The Associated Press

LAKE ELMO, Minn. (AP) -- A national advocacy group plans to challenge Lake Elmo's ban on selling produce that's not homegrown.

The Virginia-based Institute for Justice contends the eastern Minnesota city's 30-year-old ban is a threat to family farms across the country. The group, along with some farmers, plans to file a federal lawsuit Tuesday.

The law protects local Christmas tree growers, for example, from competition from neighbors who import trees from other states.

City Manager Bruce Messelt had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

In December, the City Council decided to start enforcing the 1980 ban on farmers selling anything not grown within city limits. That was after discovering that the owner of a Lake Elmo farm and greenhouse was selling Christmas trees grown in Wisconsin.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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