Daily Archives: October 6, 2008

The Bovine is one month old

And to celebrate, we’re publishing a whole bunch of post that we’ve been collecting and saving for dry days – as in when it seems like there’s no news, or no time to write about stuff. But we’re publishing them all now, in line with a philosophy that’s practiced by a lot of raw milk farmers: “That ‘risk’ is the best insurance”.

Thanks for taking an interest in this issue. Help spread the word.

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The occult significance of milk

The excerpts below are from a collection of lectures by Rudolf Steiner titled “The Effects of Esoteric Development“. Unfortunately this volume, which is one of the few places Steiner discusses questions of nutrition and diet, is currently out of print. I got my copy from abebooks.com (which is a great way to access the holdings of lots of small used booksellers around the globe).

For those of you who don’t know him, Steiner opens a whole new perspective on the world through what he calls “spiritual science”, a modern iteration of the mystery traditions of antiquity, and a path through which modern folk can open their spiritual eyes and ears to direct experience of, for instance, the angelic and elemental realms of existence. Yup, this is heady stuff, and there’s lots of it.

Sure, spiritual teachers are everywhere nowadays, but Steiner stands out, if only for the way he was able to bring his spiritual insights right down into the practical sphere of everyday life though, for example, Waldorf education and Biodynamic agriculture. Of course, there’s more than that; there are also anthroposophical (Steiner’s concatenation of anthropos (man) and sophia (wisdom)) approaches to realms as diverse as medicine, architecture, mathematics, sciences and organizational development.

But for now, this is just about milk, in comparison to other food groups. And of course, since this was from 1913 and pasteurization hadn’t been invented yet, he was talking about what we now call “raw milk”. Continue reading

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NPR: Raw Milk – Panacea or Poison

National Public Radio in the States has an online audio segment on Raw Milk Panacea or Poison, that you can listen to by clicking a link on the page this link takes you to.

There’s a story on that page of the NPR news website, written by Dan Pashman, about a couple who started a small dairy farm and were beseiged with requests to sell raw milk. The story, from June 25, 2008, quotes farmer Rick Vreeland:

“It was like we put a sign out there, ‘Free drugs for addicts,’ because the people come and come and come, you can’t believe it. Everybody wants raw milk.”

Win Rosenfeld

Raw milk farmer Rick Vreeland. Photo: Win Rosenfeld

This certainly seems like a well-researched story from a respected media outlet. Here’s an excerpt:

“Rick and Julie Vreeland opened Freedom Hill Farm last year as a place for kids, but quickly found themselves fielding an unexpected request: The people who came wanted to buy raw milk.In August 2007 the Vreelands began selling raw milk. In that first month they sold 13 gallons of it; last month, they sold more than a thousand.“It was just amazing,” says Rick. “It was like we put a sign out there, ‘Free drugs for addicts,’ because the people come and come and come, you can’t believe it. Everybody wants raw milk.”Raw milk hasn’t been pasteurized, meaning it hasn’t been heated to destroy pathogens that may lurk inside. But that’s just how raw milk lovers like it. They believe you can draw a wide range of health benefits from drinking milk raw and that in the process of eliminating potentially harmful bacteria, pasteurization kills good bacteria, too.
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Beta-casein A1 and A2 in milk & health

Could milk from Guernsey cattle be more healthy than milk from Holsteins due to genetic factors? — little known research from down under focuses on Beta-casein A1 and A2 in milk and human health.

“There are several genetically-determined variants of B-casein, the protein which constitutes about 25-30% of cows’ milk proteins. One variant, A1 B-casein, has been implicated as a potential etiological factor in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM-1), ischaemic heart disease (IHD), schizophrenia and autism. Another variant (A2 B-casein) has not been implicated in these diseases….”

The excerpt above is from a 2004 report to the New Zealand Food Safety authority by Professor Boyd Swinton, professor of public health nutrition, Deakin University, Melbourne. Read the whole 43-page report here.

While this story is not about raw milk specifically, it is about interesting research on an aspect of milk with major health implications, research that seems to have been largely buried or ignored.

Apparently, the predominance of A1 or A2 B-casein is related to the breed of cattle which the milk comes from. For instance, Holsteins seem to have mostly A1, while Guernseys have predominantly A2. Here’s a further discussion of the issue from Gordon Watson’s “Bovinity”. The excerpt below is from a story by Tom Valentine titled “A1 A2 milk gene story too important to ignore“. It looks like the story was originally from “True Health“, although searching now on the http://www.truehealth.com website for “A1 A2” or even “milk” yields no results. Curious.

“… It’s all about one ittybitty gene, and it’s driving me nuts

I know I should not let things get me so upset. After all, it isn’t as though there aren’t a myriad other irrational, illogical corrupt and asinine public positions taken in the health and food sector – so why should this one get to me more than the others? Continue reading


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Demand for raw milk increasing

So say abc news and the Associated Press. The story excerpted below is from AP writer M.L. Johnson, and was found on the abc news website. These are certainly not media one would associate with raw milk advocacy, so if they say demand is growing, chances are, they’re not just making it up. The story we’re quoting here is from April 2008.  Find the complete original version here.

“Despite potentially serious health risks, demand for unpasteurized, or raw, milk is growing among consumers concerned about chemicals, hormones and drugs.

With prices topping $5 per gallon, more dairies are selling raw milk — and finding themselves at odds with public health officials.

Kay and Wayne Craig from New Holstein, WI (AP photo)

Kay and Wayne Craig from New Holstein, Wisconsin. AP Photo Morry Gash

The federal government and a majority of states prohibit sales of raw milk to the public, claiming it is responsible for hundreds of people sickened in the past decade with salmonella, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and other bacteria….”

“…. People looking for raw milk began showing up at Kay and Wayne Craig’s organic farm in eastern Wisconsin five or six years ago. Many had digestive issues or other health problems. Continue reading

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A raw milk stand on every corner

These excerpts are from another great story on the Complete Patient blog. (we’ve now added them to our blogroll).

The piece is titled “A raw milk stand on every corner? Why pressure is building on herd shares“. Follow that link to read all the great comments that follow. This is from September 25th.

“Yesterday I was in New Hampshire, running a few errands, one of which was to pick up a new supply of fresh milk. The farm I buy it from is on a little-traveled side road, so I was more than a bit surprised to pull up and see, across the road, a brand new enclosed farm-stand. Inside was a refrigerated cooler about half filled with plastic jugs of…raw milk ($2 a quart, $4 a half gallon). A farm worker who saw me examining the jugs and not buying, quickly told me, “Everything here is legal.”

Kathy, the farmer I buy from, obviously has some competition. But the larger message was that the farmer across the street had decided, after watching Kathy grow her business over the last few years, that he wanted in on the action. (Since these farms are within easy driving distance of Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth, the situation isn’t totally incongruous.)

That scene on a quiet New Hampshire road also suggests an explanation behind another story: The government rumblings against herdshare/cowshare arrangements are becoming progressively louder. There can be only one reason: herdshares are becoming an ever more popular way to distribute raw milk to eager consumers….” Continue reading

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Public Discussions on Raw Milk?

The Complete Patient blog is coming up more and more as a place where significant discussions of raw milk issues are taking place. This excerpt is from a post they did last Saturday titled:

“It sure would be nice to have public discussions about raw milk but you do need to have someone to discuss with”

“… One of the vivid memories I have of Mark Nolt’s trial last May in Pennsylvania for selling raw dairy products without a license was of a scene that took place outside the courtroom early in the morning, before the trial got under way. As protesters in a parking lot waved signs supporting Mark, about 100 yards away, an official of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture waited in front of the small courtroom for the doors to be unlocked.

One of the protesters, a man who looked to be in his fifties, approached him, very politely, and tried to engage the official. “You know, we have to figure out a way to talk to each other, to solve this problem,” the protester said. “We are all people of good will. We can’t be going on like this.”

The PDA official nodded his head yes, but you could see in his body language that all he wanted was for the damned courtroom door to be unlocked, so he could get the hell away from this guy.

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Young dairy farmers of the future

Here’s a lovely little piece, written by Marc Stimpert, who is an attorney and former board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. These excerpts are from this page of the FTCLDF website:

I was reminded yesterday why we do what we do.

I signed up for a cow-share. The farmers were a cute young couple, she was 26, he was 28. They were both from the city, she from D.C., he from L.A. They met in college, and together fell in love with each other and with sustainable farming. After graduating with some very unrelated college degrees, they put everything they had into 22 acres of grass and some old, neglected apple trees. In two years they have managed to build a house, greenhouse, and barn, all from the ground up, all from scratch, on a shoestring. Their entire income has come from selling truly organic fruit and vegetables, and they now they have two cows as well. They also have two very young children. She was out working in the orchard with her baby on her back when I pulled up, dirt on both of their smiling faces. Continue reading

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