“After looking forward to seeing Milk War for several weeks it was really exciting to have such a great turnout! The Rio Theatre was a really perfect place to have the event with a stage for the music as well as popcorn for the hungry.
Our wonderful organizer Noriko, kicked off the event with contagious enthusiasm. As people got settled in, Benjamin Keith pulled out his guitar and started entertaining us. It turns out our scheduled performer David Blair couldn’t make it so Keith had been called in last minute to fill in. We appreciated that and enjoyed his music (cd’s available here). He got a bit of a shock at one point when he asked the crowd how many people owned a cow and nearly everyone put their hand up! Goes to show you how difficult it is for city people to have access to fresh milk.
Then we were on to the long awaited film. You could feel the relief in the theatre when the film finally started playing! Milk War started off with an introduction to Michael Schmidt from when he was very young in Germany and the memory he has of his fierce and fearless mother chasing off a gang of soldiers. Growing up in that environment gave Michael a certain distrust of government and institutions of control. As the movie goes on to show, Michael Schmidt is a man of many interests and skills, he is not only a biodynamic farmer, but an orchestra conductor and practically a lawyer at this point.
I remember November 2006 when Michael’s Glencolton farm was raided. When I left the US in fear of the food in 1999 I was sure I wasn’t coming back. We had just been back for a couple months and I was pretty terrified of what I was eating. Seeing men with guns carrying away fresh biodynamic raw milk in Ontario (on youtube) was not helping my condition! At the time I had no idea that we would be moving to Vancouver in a few years, and be watching the same footage to raise funds for our cowshare’s legal battle.
The film does a really good job of asking hard questions and getting both sides of the story. (Granted I am biased myself). I liked that it pointed out how important it is to be aware that raw milk is a living substance and needs to be treated with respect. I studied biodynamic agriculture in New Zealand, so it was also very interesting to see the beautiful wooden barrel that Michael uses to make the farm’s biodynamic preparations. I really enjoyed his demonstration of how chaos and then order are rythmically intertwined. Although some of the people who I invited were rather confused by the cow horn and why it was stuffed with manure and buried!