Daily Archives: February 6, 2009

Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt and the former Ontario farm boy who grew up to be a famous radical nutritionist

Lovers of freedom and farm fresh food the world over are watching the Michael Schmidt trial, as are farmers, consumers, environmentalists, federalists, libertarians, conservatives and liberals. The extensive news coverage and the highly anticipated outcome of the proceedings, makes this the Scopes Monkey trial of sustainable agriculture. The fate of all small farmers truly hangs in the balance of this court decision, which is expected August 1. Schmidt, a highly educated farmer, has stood up as his own defender against a battery of eight government attorneys, and he has amassed incredible support from the general public, turning many raw milk skeptics into believers.

World-famous nutritionist Dr. Weston A. Price got his start as an Ontario farm boy.

World-famous nutritionist Dr. Weston A. Price got his start as an Ontario farm boy.

Coincidentally, an Ontario farm lad born nearly a century ago is intimately connected to the Michael Schmidt case.  Dr. Weston A. Price carried out research in the 1930s and 1940s, research that provides the rationale for the contemporary raw milk movement.  Weston A. Price was a curious dentist who studied the traditional foodstuffs of pre-moderns.  His research demonstrated the importance of nutrient-dense foods—of which raw milk is a quintessential example—in the human diet. Many raw milk drinkers today have been inspired and motivated by Dr. Price’s research. The U.S.-based Weston A. Price Foundation advocates the consumption of whole, raw milk from pasture-fed cows through A Campaign for Real Milk.

In his dental practice, Dr. Price observed an alarming degeneration of the dental health in his patients, namely rampant tooth decay and, in the younger generation, dental deformities resulting in crowded teeth. Continue reading

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More on B.C. medical marijuana case: Grower is “guilty”, but judge rules that the law is unconstitutional

Here’s an excerpt from a Tuesday Feb. 3, 2009 report by Keith Fraser of The Province:

Sooke pot-grower Mathew Beren was found guilty of growing and possessing pot for the purposes of trafficking the drug. But Beren, who grew the marijuana for medicinal purposes, was given an absolute discharge by the judge who ruled some provisions of the federal law are unconstitutional.

Sooke pot-grower Mathew Beren was found guilty of growing and possessing pot for the purposes of trafficking the drug. But Beren, who grew the marijuana for medicinal purposes, was given an absolute discharge by the judge who ruled some provisions of the federal law are unconstitutional. Photo by Jason Payne, The Province

“A B.C. judge has struck down as unconstitutional provisions of a federal law that restrict the supply of marijuana to patients authorized to use the drug.

B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg also found the man at the centre of the ruling, a worker for a marijuana compassion club on Vancouver Island, guilty of producing and possessing for the purpose of trafficking the drug, but gave him an absolute discharge.

In May 2004, the RCMP raided a “research” facility being run by the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, seized a quantity of marijuana and charged Mathew Beren, 35, an employee at the facility.

Lawyers for Beren argued that access and supply of the drug through the federal medicinal-marijuana program violated patients’ rights.

The judge found that access restrictions requiring patients to get a doctor’s approval were constitutional, but found that restrictions on the supply to be arbitrary. Continue reading

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“Right to self-medicate” established in recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling on access to medical marijuana

Here’s a report from Gordon Watson, in Vancouver:

Below is a report of the verdict on a charge of supplying marijuana for medicinal purposes. This decision, along with another one where self-medication was at issue, are of great importance in the Campaign for REAL MILK in British Columbia. Arising from the right to security of the Person, now established as a core value in Canada is  ‘the right to self-medicate’.  

Where the government has not accommodated the availability of something – such as a drug deemed necessary to maintain a person’s health —  if some people can have it legally, then there must be ‘an equal avenue of access’.

Our claim that raw milk is a “nutriceutical” falls under this doctrine. Continue reading

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Sweet, “risky”, raw milk, fresh from the cow is LEGAL in Britain and Europe

Advert above is just for a little “British” cultural flavour, to set the mood for this story. It features former lead singer for that seminal British 80s Punk rock group, the Sex Pistols, in his new starring role in a butter commercial. It’s actually pretty funny. Word is that this commercial is actually selling more butter and in case you’re interested, you can read all about that here.

Here’s an excerpt from a story on raw milk in the U.K. from Caroline Mallan, special to the Toronto Star:

“LONDON – In defending his right to distribute raw milk to his “cow-share” co-owners in Ontario, where he is on trial on 20 charges, Durham dairy farmer Michael Schmidt pointed to the availability of the product in most European countries, including his native Germany.

And while raw milk is available in many parts of Europe, it remains far from mainstream and is not readily available on supermarket shelves.

“I would say it is very much a niche product,” said Dr. Ken Spears of the London Food Centre at Southbank University, which specializes in food safety issues and conducts research for the industry on factors such as safe shelf life.

“It goes along with the fine foods emphasis out there right now but overall raw milk sales have declined steeply and I think that will continue.”

Raw milk sales in Germany mirror practices across other member states of the European Union – it is mainly sold directly from the farmer to the consumer, via what are known as “farm-gate” sales. Continue reading

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