People’s image of farming is a complete fantasy

From Lucy Siegl in The Guardian:

“[Patrick] Holden’s day job, for 15 years, was heading the UK’s premier organic food charity, the Soil Association, with Prince Charles among his green pals during critical years for British food. While he was in charge, the charity’s staff rose from five to over 180, and sales of organic produce in the UK grew from £50m to £2bn. But when he retired in 2011, handing over the reins to fellow farmer Helen Browning, he’d had his fill of that organic binary system where you’re either certified, or you’re not. He astounded conventional farmers when – on his way out at the Soil Association – he more or less apologised for an ‘us’ and ‘them’ system of food production. “Perhaps we have upset the conventional farming community by continually saying we were right and they were wrong,” Holden said at the Wales Organic Producers’ Conference in October 2010. “We should not be out there thinking and talking of ourselves as organic farmers, because that separates us from the rest of the farming community.” Continue reading

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Canada’s supreme court refuses to hear appeal of Michael Schmidt milk case

From Global News “Mon, Aug 18: Raw milk advocate talks about how plans to continue to fight for the right to drink and sell unpasteurized milk.”

Click image to go to Global News page to watch video interview.

From The Canadian Press, in the Toronto Star:

“OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal from an Ontario farmer who has long championed the right to sell and drink unpasteurized milk, but he says “it’s not the end of the road.”

The top court’s refusal to hear Michael Schmidt’s case — as is usual it did not provide reasons — means his 2011 convictions of 13 charges under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act that saw him fined $9,150 stand.

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Food freedom fest celebrates local hero

From Kimberly Hartke:

Staunton, VA–July 25, 2014—Farmers, foodies, politicians and others dedicated to advancing food freedom unite for a weekend festival in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on September 5-6, 2014.  Organized by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense (FTCLDF), Food Freedom Fest is a fun, educational gathering for anyone who appreciates freedom of choice in food and agriculture. The funds raised will help defend the rights of small farmers and artisan food producers, as well as consumers and buying clubs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is trying to control all food regulation and poses a threat to the local food movement.  The September gathering is a meeting of people who see the benefit of a direct farmer to consumer relationship. This is relevant to anyone who wants to make a living off the land and keep the government out of their kitchen. Continue reading

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Reducing the danger of raw milk

From Marsha Johnston, on The Modern Farmer:

Erwin Shank, of The Family Cow, in his bottling plant

“Since establishing a risk assessment management plan and an on-farm raw milk hygiene testing lab after a campylobacter outbreak in early 2012, raw milk from The Family Cow in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is cleaner than pasteurized, says owner Edwin Shank. “We are doing what I call test and hold. We test every lot of bottles and hold them in the cooler until the test results are finished. Pasteurized milk has no regulation that requires you to hold it back until the test result is in. As raw milk producers, we are considered guilty until proved innocent, so we have to go over and beyond what is expected,” he says, adding that it is quite normal for his coliform counts to be zero or 1 per milliliter. Continue reading

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FDA the odd man out on raw milk?

Of course Canada’s not mentioned here. Still, David E. Gumpert reports some fascinating news from the wider raw milk world. From his “The Complete Patient” blog:

“A few weeks ago, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency came out with an eye-opening report on raw milk. This agency, the UK’s equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, acknowledged and accepted, at least on a minimal basis, the reality of raw milk, including the following:

* The FSA sought out the opinions of more than 100 raw milk consumers via “an innovative consultation event” on “options for controls for RDM (raw drinking milk).” “The overarching conclusion from the event is that there is an appetite among producers and current RDM consumers for increased consumer access to RDM…” Continue reading

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Antidepressant microbes in dirt?

From Bonnie L. Grant, in Gardening Know How:

“Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has, indeed, been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.

Serotonin has been linked to such problems as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt. Continue reading

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Six months of legal marijuana in CO

From Ultraculture:

“Colorado made history in November 2012 when voters passed Amendment 64, making it one of the first two states to approve legal regulation for the cultivation, sale and use of medical and recreational marijuana to adults aged 21 and over. Since the amendment went into effect on January 1 of this year, the Centennial State has become a proving ground demonstrating the positive impact of regulation over prohibition.

Despite the warnings and hysteria from opponents to legalization, Colorado hasn’t descended into lawlessness and disorder. In fact, many conditions seem to be improving in the state, with crime rates down and a sound economy to boot. Continue reading

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