Mark McAfee is not only one of America’s leading exponents of raw milk, he also operates the largest-scale raw milk dairy in the United States and possibly the world. This is an excerpt from a piece recently published by Kimberly Hartke on the Hartke is Online blog, as part of her Michael Schmidt month:
“Consumer’s needs are driving the demand for raw dairy
Organic Pastures' Mark McAfee takes the podium at the International Raw Milk Symposium in Toronto, Jan. 2009
With the advent of the pasteurizer in 1893 (first called the par boiler) far more than bacteria were killed. The pasteurizer killed personal responsibility. The pasteurizer disconnected and marginalized the farmer and made his quality efforts irrelevant. The pasteurizer killed enzymes and good bacteria and nutritional values. The pasteurizer produced a dead partial food out of a once vital alive and complete whole food. The pasteurizer started milk markets toward a 100 year long slow death as more and more people could not drink dead milk and became sick from it.
This was a death marked by dairy lies that covered its own demise and cover stories of its false benefits and a racist blame game against broad categories of people for their innate deficiencies from a pasteurized dairy invented deficiency called “lactose intolerance” or “Lie” (abbreviated and very true in deed). Literally no one has lactose intolerance…instead it is “ pasteurization intolerance” and nearly anyone can drink raw milk just fine. Yet the dairy industry has invented a blame game that tells Asians and blacks and American Indians that they are not white enough to drink milk. That they have a deficiency. This is a false science and a huge dairy lie. It was their dead food product made toxic by their own shelf life extending technologies that was the problem. It was not the consumer’s fault, regardless of race. The pasteurized milk industry has created a racist blame game and this is the very tip of the iceberg….many more lies lay deep in the political and economic game of selling dead food from industrial farms that do not know any of their customers, personally.
Farmers benefit when they listen to their customers
Last month I was visited by a raw milk dairyman that for 30 years had milked a thousand cows but three years ago had decided to follow his daughters advice and started making raw goat cheese with many fewer animals.
He told me that listening to his daughter was the best thing he had ever done. By making and selling raw goat milk cheese he connected himself to the markets, the people, their taste and the value. He was no longer disconnected from the consumer, their money and choices as he once was for 30 years. He was one very happy guy and sold his cheeses nationally under his own brand. He was in California, visiting Cal Poly SLO. The very university that had preached the mega dairy dogma, “Get Big or Get Out” to so many California dairyman’s sons and daughters…was bankrupt and was now for sale. Yes, the University dairy had failed when it followed its own land grant, BST hormone, Monsanto based advice. The raw milk dairyman was going to visit the funeral and pick over the bones.
So goes the story of farm market systems in the USA. Farmers fail when they disconnect themselves from their consumers and their consumers nutritional needs. When pasteurizers and meaningless faceless brands get between the farmer and the consumer…there will be trouble and the trouble will rest on both the farmer and the consumers plates. The farmer becomes irrelevant and the consumer becomes malnourished. A bad food chain for all involved.
A new breed of farmer is beginning to emerge
What does this mean to the new farmer? This means that he must have marketing skills. That means people skills and the ability to write, speak with, and connect with people and listen to their needs and respond to those needs. This is radical speak. Aren’t farmers supposed to be conservative red necks stuck down on the farm tractor?…no way…. this is the route to certain disaster. Complaining at the coffee shop about the weather and the market is a pathway to losing the farm. Pushing the flesh at the farmers market with your ears wide open and a smile on your face is the path to an agronomically sustainable business plan. Practicallyanyone can learn to grow food but selling and education of others is a rare yet essential farmer’s skill. That’s the culture in agriculture and it is missing in America.
When ever a farmer connects with people and goes about meeting their needs he starts a raw revolution and all kinds of hell breaks loose. Look at the Amish that serve their communities with raw milk and other unprocessed whole foods. They have listened to the consumer and know that there is no lactose intolerance with raw milk and people want it raw.
A case in point, Michael Schmidt of Canada
Look at Mike Schmidt in Canada. He has been repeatedly beaten down by the politics of the Canadian milk system that bans raw milk not because of safety but because of market control. Look at us here at Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno CA, we have grown every year since 2000 and 50,000 California consumers love us…why? Because we have listened to what they say and we have responded by producing food that they can eat, food that nourishes the inner ecosystem and rebuilds the immune systems destroyed by antibiotics and sterile food. We, just like Mike and the Amish know that people are literally sick of pasteurized milk…because it makes them sick and triggers allergies and asthma. We listened and we are now connected to our consumers and bypassing the commercial dead food chain….”
Read the whole story here on the Hartke is Online blog.
See previous post about Michael Schmidt month at Hartke is Online blog.