Daily Archives: November 10, 2008

Raw milk runs on community support

Here’s the slightly edited text of a comment I made on David E. Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog, in response to his story about the showing of the raw milk movie in California (excerpted in the Bovine post below this one):

What’s our metaphor; what’s our narrative?

From folks like George Lakoff – author of “Don’t Think of an Elephant” — we learn how people think in metaphors, how “framing” developed in right-wing think tanks slants public policy debates almost imperceptibly — as in the phrase “tax relief”; we learn how communications work best when we can fit our message into one of the archetypal “narratives” of our culture, narratives that have already worn tracks, as it were, in the public mind. That’s why we have cultural theorists like Camille Paglia talking about how, in the public mind, Sarah Palin was playing the role of  “frontier girl”.

So what’s all this have to do with raw milk?

What I thought was most interesting about David Gumpert’s review of the Michael Schmidt raw milk movie was his view of the raw milk farmer as a solitary figure, fighting a lone and lonely battle. I’ve heard that before, but I’ve heard it as a criticism of this otherwise great movie – that it places undue emphasis on the heroism of Michael and fails to adequetely include the supporting community of cow share holders and others who’ve been instrumental and important in getting the story as far as it’s so far gone. Continue reading

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Canadian milk regulators sound like “Orwellian robotrons” to Californians watching raw milk movie at Weston A. Price Foundation’s “Wise Traditions”

Michael Schmidt at Planet in Focus festival, Sean Bennell photo

Michael Schmidt at Planet in Focus festival, Sean Bennell photo

Here’s an excerpt from David E. Gumpert’s report on the showing this past weekend of Norman Lofts’ prize-winning movie about raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt, down in California at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s “Wise Traditions” conference. Both Michael and Norman were on hand for the conference, and David was asked to introduce them to an audience of several hundred. It’s fascinating to see how the Canadian raw milk situation looks to someone who’s been around the U.S. raw milk scene as much as David Gumpert has. Here’s some of what he says in a post from Sunday on his “Complete Patient” blog:

“It’s difficult to imagine that there might be a country that is more inhospitable to raw milk than the U.S., but there is, and it is just across to the north–Canada.
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87-year-old Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion gets her energy from drinking raw milk — rumour or fact?

87-yr old Mississauga mayor cycling to work.

Does she or doesn't she? 87-yr old Mississauga mayor cycling near her home in Streetsville, Sept 2008. National Post photo by Peter J. Thompson.

Last weekend I overheard someone talking about how the famously energetic 87 year old mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion gets her get up and go from drinking raw milk as part of her diet. However I can’t find any stories on the web that support this assertion. Does anyone out there have more information on this? It would make a great story. If you know more, please comment on this post or email thebovine at gmx dot com. Thanks.

See the National Post story that the photo is from.

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“Stupid to drink raw milk from cows” — Mississauga man who says he caught TB from milk as a child in 1938

Here’s a well-written bit of counterpoint, which we are including here for journalistic balance. It’s from a blog titled “Dahn Batchelor’s Opinions”. The other day I was talking to a friend about raw milk and he suggested that the reason raw milk was such a tough sell with regulators in Ontario is because we in this province have some sort of collective memory of TB-related milk health issues from several decades back. Which would be the kind of thing this author is describing. Which is why you might find this worth reading, even though it’s so virulently anti-raw-milk. Here are some excerpts:

“Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt was in a Newmarket, Ontario court on September 10, 2008 fighting contempt of court charges for allegedly distributing unpasteurized milk in the area he lives in. York Region’s health services department first prohibited Schmidt from distributing raw milk in December 2006. Five months later, it served Schmidt with an order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice prohibiting him from contravening the 2006 directive. The authorities maintained that Schmidt, who runs an organic farm in the town of Durham in York Region, was in contempt of court because he failed to obey that previous court order to stop distributing raw milk within its borders. The court heard testimony from a private investigator who was hired to watch Schmidt and the activities surrounding a small bus-like vehicle which was usually parked at a Thornhill church lot. A 10-minute clip of video surveillance revealed people carrying coolers and bags from their cars onto the bus and then back to their cars.
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