For more information about raw milk and food freedom please see Food Freedom: The Politics of Food.
“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
Last week I talked with Megan Turcato from Kamloops Radio NL. She wanted to do an interview about raw milk. She wanted a local person to give a reaction to Micheal Schmidt and Gordon Watson’s recent conviction of Contempt of Court. If you have been reading eatkamloops.org for any time, you know I am very unhappy with the Canadian Government using public resources to drag farmers through the courts under the pretense of “public safety”.
So, what am I feeling about the court case? I found myself full of sorrow at powerful people using their positions to oppress people weaker and less well positioned than themselves. I’m also very angry with the government’s deception that this is about food safety and not about protecting the government’s monopoly on milk quota.
I’m furious that my government can take away my autonomy to choose the types of food I put in my body and with whom I do commerce. I’m terrified that my children, or someone’s children, could be taken away. When are these officials going to start thinking we are bad parents because we feed our children a food they have legislated into a “health hazard”?
So what’s a Mother to do? This is not only about the loss of my personal autonomy but the loss of my parental rights to feed my children nourishing, traditional foods. I realize I am suffering from the grief of losing my autonomy and my rights as a parent. I am grieving over government officials using their privileged positions to oppress peaceful people whose?“only crime” is working to supply people with raw milk.
I found myself awake late into the night, praying for the people fighting for food freedom. But prayer does not seen enough for secular?problems. I don’t have the tools to fight these well-positioned oppressors. There are people who are more knowledgeable about the law, who have a better chance of beating these officials at their own game.
I found myself thinking about women’s long history of cutting our hair during periods of grief and times of loss. In more modern times, hair cutting has been used as fund raisers for charities. I vow to cut my hair myself until raw milk can be legally sold in Canada. I will send the money I would normally spend at the hairdresser’s and give it to the Canadian Constitution Foundation. (If you live in the US the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund also protects farmers from oppressive government regulation.)
I cut my hair every two months and spend $25.00 for my haircut. This means the Canadian Constitution Foundation will get about $150.00 from me each year until raw milk is legalized in Canada. I know if only one person does this, there will not be enough money in the “war chest” to beat the government officials. I’m making an open invitation to other women and men who believe in food freedom to make the same pledge.
So if you see me and I am having a bad-hair-day, you’ll know why. I’m mourning my loss of autonomy!
If you would like to learn more about the situation regarding raw milk in Canada please read Food Freedom: The Politics of Food.
I once thought that the government officials would be “reasonable”. I now know that was delusional thinking. The only way through is to fight.
When: April 6, 2013
Where: Ukrainian Cathedral, 154 East 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5T 3E5
Buy Tickets Here: Fresh Milk, Food Politics
Jackie Ingram and Alice Jongerden of Home On The Range invite you to Fresh Milk, Food Politics. “Please join us for a day of networking, activism and food politics. Dynamic speakers and food exhibits, followed by a wonderful local cheese and wine party to end the day!”
I will be running an information table for the Weston A Price Foundation. Please come and meet the people trying to ensure that you can have the food you want on your plate. If you would like to have some background history about raw milk and food freedom please read: Food Freedom: The Politics of Food.
Updated April 11, 2013: I wanted to share some pictures from Fresh Milk, Food Politics. Apparently, there will be videos of the lectures on the website soon. There were two lectures that I found particularly interesting. Karen Selick from the Canadian Constitution Foundation lectured on how the government uses children to restrict personal freedoms and Nadine Ijaz from the Pacific Rim College outlined the science behind the myths and truths around raw milk.
Mark McAfee from Organic Pastures runs the largest raw milk dairy in California. In California you can buy raw milk in stores. Micheal Schmidt is from Glencolton Farm in Ontario. Michael has been fighting the government for nearly twenty years for the right of herdshare owners to drink milk from their own herd. Jason Gratl is the lawyer for Alice Jongerden from Home on the Range. Alice runs Canada’s largest herdshare program.
Updated April 19, 2013: Here are just two short interviews with Karen Selick and Nadine Ijaz. There are many more interviews from Fresh Milk, Food Politics.
As I was making dinner last night, I heard on CBC Radio that the public hearings regarding the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project in Kelowna, BC will no longer be open to the public. Did I hear that right?
A public hearing not open to the public? Yes, I had heard correctly. Kelowna isn’t the first city to have its public hearings closed to the public. The officials are worried about safety. I guess the public’s halitosis regarding Enbridge is so toxic they are afraid the delicate constitutions on the Joint Review Panel will be offended.
So, what’s that got to do with food? Well, not very much. But it’s a sign, telling us how our government officials and elected members of parliament view public scrutiny. You can see by their actions, they are in love with this project! My shock over dinner got me to pull out this old post about food freedom, or the lack thereof. Learn and weep, as I have.
“Social libertarianism maintains that laws banning victimless acts have no rational or moral reason for existing, so they should be abolished. It also asserts that the harm caused by the prevention or prosecution of these activities is often far greater than any harm caused by the activities themselves, and would justify repeal of these laws on the same harm reduction grounds that were originally used to justify them.”
Wikipedia on Victimless Crime
When I first started this blog I never thought I would be talking so much about the politics of food. I had no idea of the powerful forces that control the food system. I never realized that farmers and ranchers face economic forces beyond their control. These forces make farmers discourage their children from farming and — in the end — the farmers give up and leave the land. As consumers, we are making choices every day about our food that will promote or slow this process.
The politics of food is about who is in control of your food supply. Unless you grow your own food, I can tell you right now, it isn’t you. Food politics could be about any food or food processing methods, but over the last few years I have closely watched the raw milk issue here in Canada.
Raw milk has become the whipping-boy for all food safety issues. I’ve had an education about the distribution of information and disinformation by following this one issue. I have become very disappointed with the mainstream media not getting the facts straight. Nor does the media stay with an issue long enough to really educate citizens about issues that will have far reaching implications.
I am not a disinterested person. I have my own cow and I want to drink her milk. At a minimum I want to maintain the legal right to drink raw milk and share it with my family members. I am concerned that it is written in BC law that raw milk is a “health hazard”. But what about people that want raw milk but don’t have appropriately zoned land or the skills to care for dairy animals? Are these people just fat out of luck? I’ve had people beg me to sell them raw milk. Should I continue to say no or become a lawbreaker?
I would feel better if government officials would stop pursuing cowshare or herdshare programs in the courts. Cowshare and herdshare programs are a way to cooperatively own a cow or herd so the owners can get a product not available for sale in Canada. I don’t understand why officials won’t allow individuals to contract directly with farmers. I can’t understand why the officials think they have a mandate to control this type of private contractual agreement. Furthermore, cowshare and herdshare programs are complicated for the farmer and expensive for the owners. These programs only involve a few thousand families in Canada and are a closed system, making them very safe. I resent that my tax dollars are going towards criminalizing and beggaring my farming friends. Doesn’t my society have better uses for tax dollars than dragging farmers through the courts for a victimless crime?
Over the years, I have pondered why the government even gives a damn about what my family chooses to drink. Is it their business what I have on my table? Apparently, it matters very much. The only answer that makes any sense to me is that the Canadian government has a monopoly on dairy production and sells quota — at a very dear price — to farmers.?This issue isn’t about food safety, its about the Government of Canada protecting its monopoly on milk quota. It’s about money and control, plain and simple.
The Government of Canada also promotes misinformation about raw milk, which is picked up and used by the mainstream media. The government uses tax dollars to criminalize and beggar people trying to help their neighbors acquire raw milk. Shame on you Government of Canada. The government’s deceit will become known and laws will be passed to stop the government from meddling in the households of the country.
Below is an index of my process of learning about the politics of food over the last few years. Most of the posts are about the raw milk issue in Canada. There is some information about regulations regarding slaughtering and supplements. There is some information about disturbing new trends involving regulations that would stop homemade treats being sold at school bake sales and how the government would like to control what’s in a homemade lunch your child eats at school.
Thomas Jefferson once said: “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” No government — regardless of how well intentioned — should have this kind of control over my household decisions.
Let’s Talk About Raw Milk Safety
Raw Milk Contamination?
Michael Schmidt, Raw Milk Activist, Acquittal!
Canadian Government Appeals Michael Schmidt’s Acquittal
BC Supreme Court Gives Injunction Against Raw Milk
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick
Helping Michael Schmidt, Raw Milk Activist
Ontario Court Reverses Lower Court Decision for Raw Milk Farmer Michael Schmidt
Call to Action: Raw Milk and Food Freedom
Weston A Price Foundation Urgent Raw Milk Action Alert
Michael Schmidt Ends 37 Days of Hunger Strike!
Why do we love slavery?
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)
Slaughtering in BC: Information You Need to Know
Regulations and Farmers
Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal
On April 15, 2012 Olivia had her third unassisted birth. This heifer has a pure breed Jersey dame. The sire was Patty’s (Georgia’s) adopted calf from Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm. He was a Brown Swiss Shorthorn cross. The calf looks more like a Jersey but will benefit from the grass-fed genetics from Gort’s Gouda.
Olivia was two weeks overdue and we had a busman’s holiday booked that could not be changed. The day after we left, Olivia had her calf. We were very lucky to have a neighbor watching her for us and a friend willing to come and milk for a few days. Having a supportive community is very important for any urban homestead.
What a treat to come home to a beautiful heifer that will make a wonderful family cow for someone. I enjoyed my first colostrum shake of the year. My girls went wild over colostrum shakes, experimenting with different frozen fruit flavors.