It was deja vu all over again for the good folks from Glencolton Farms at yesterday’s Feast of Fields at Cold Creek Conservation Area near Nobleton Ontario. Here’s the story from Elisa and Michael Schmidt:
“Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus….” — Ken Kesey, via Tom Wolfe, in “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”.
York Region health inspector Jody Hope has been “off the bus” for four years now and last Sunday she wanted badly to get on.
It was nearly four years ago in the Toronto Waldorf School parking lot, in November of 2006, one week after the infamous Ministry of Natural Resources raid on the raw milk operations at Glencolton Farms in Durham, that Jody Hope first demanded to get on to the Glencolton Farms blue bus while it was parked in the TWS lot just off Bathurst Street in Vaughan where cowshare members would come to pick up their milk.
According to one eyewitness, when the realization finally sank in that she was NOT going to be allowed on the bus back in 2006, you could “see” the power draining out of her.
Well, September of 2010 presented another chance. No doubt the folks at York Region Public Health had heard tales from previous Feast of Field events at which it may have been mentioned that Glencolton Farms handed out samples of raw milk to people.
And perhaps to prevent a recurrence of this milk sharing, they had required all participants in this year’s Feast of Fields to fill out and submit forms in advance detailing what would be given out and where it was from.
What seems to have evolved was that not all participants did fill out these forms and maybe the event organizers filled out forms on their behalf and submitted them to York Region Public Health.
And maybe that’s why when inspector Jody Hope, with two of her fellow inspectors, showed up at the Glencolton Farms display about a half hour in advance of opening time on Sunday, and said something to Elisa (Michael Schmidt’s wife) about a form that had been filled out, Elisa didn’t remember anything about this supposed form, and asked to see it.
Jody apparently hadn’t brought the form and therefore couldn’t produce it. When Jody demanded to inspect the inside of the bus, Elisa maintained that the bus was private property and that only cowshare members would be admitted. Jody Hope was not a cowshare member and therefore would not be admitted to the bus.
When Elisa suggested that maybe this was something personal — that she had a bone to pick with Michael — Judy denied it. At one point the conflict had escalated to the point where Jody threatened to call the police. Fortunately the standoff was defused by the event organizers who apparently persuaded Jody to back down.
However, four hours later, Jody was discovered to have been hiding behind a bush so she could watch the blue bus and what people were doing around it, while her colleagues inspected the over food providers at the event. A little later, when Kerry (who was there with Elisa serving crackers and cheese) told Judy she looked like she needed a hug, and offered to give her one, Jody finally departed from the vicinity of the bus.
Michael Schmidt was not personally at the event, but Elisa was in touch with him by phone throughout the showdown.
He later posted about it on Facebook: “NO HOPE FOR JODY HOPE ON A MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. This [lead picture used in this story] is the face of Jody Hope Health inspector of York Region who harassed people at the blue bus. The Blue bus was targeted at Feast of Fields today. They threatened to call the police if the people would not let them on the bus to search for raw milk. In background the two other inspectors. Again as in 2006 they did not gain entry and police did not show up.”