This just in from Ontario raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt:
February 23st is the day Judith and Eric will face again the courts in Edmonton Alberta to deal with the charges connected to their cow share operation.
What makes this event so crucial is the fact that they have become the perfect target for authorities for several reasons:
- They are very small and vulnerable
- They have absolutely no money
- They are still too small to have a great network of people to support them against Government harassment
Eric and Judith have been struggling their whole life against many odds and hardships. With the help of a circle of friends they established their little cow share operation on a shoe string budget. They experienced immense gratitude by the cow share members and at the same time great satisfaction to be able to farm and to serve a purpose.
As the authorities started to come down on them as a result of a personal vendetta, Judith and Eric expressed their intention to fight this apparent injustice.
Inspired by the Ontario cow share ruling they decided to keep going and fight for their fundamental rights.
What is remarkable about them is their spirit and their willingness to pioneer cow sharing in Alberta. When authorities cracked down to confiscate milk Judith was assaulted by authorities and ended up in hospital.
When Eric called me for help I was deeply touched by their courage and determination.
Charlene Bishop a cow share member took on the responsibility to create a support network and coordinated most of the difficult legal work. Much is owed to her being so supportive and caring.
We called a press conference at the stairs of the Alberta Legislature and declared that WE will fight back.
Cow Share Canada took over the operation to protect Eric and Judith but shortly thereafter stopped to bring the operation up to standards. This was done with the understanding and agreement of Judith and Eric because they understood what was at stake for the future of cow sharing in Canada. Since then Eric is steadily working with me to improve the situation at his farm.
In the meantime the legal team hired by Alberta Health and Agriculture uses their tactics to wear them down and out, which I think is “normal” considering the aggressive attempts by the Alberta Government to prevent cow sharing in Alberta.
On the other hand there are more cow share operations active in Alberta delivering fresh milk into Edmonton and Calgary. So far they have not yet found the courage and strength to throw their support behind Judith and Eric for fear to be the next target.
I agree it is a scary thought to stand up and confess without fear. At the same time we cannot keep hiding and hope to escape the wrath of authorities.
We have the same situation here in Ontario. We have many raw milk operations operating outside of the court determined parameters for cow sharing in Ontario.
It is sad how little so far farmers and consumers truly understand what it takes to create a united force for change.
That makes it so important to unite now behind Eric and Judith because their fight is our fight. If they lose the next one will lose too.
Please forget your fear, your doubts and come to support Judith and Eric
February 23, 2011
Raw Milk Issue and Food Freedom Rights
Edmonton Court House
Room 267 9:00 a.m.
1A Sir Winston Churchill Square
Further Details added February 21, 2011:
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS – FEBRUARY 23
9:00 a.m. Court House – 1A Sir Winston Churchill Square
(approx) 1:00 p.m. Lunch – 8110 – 81 Street is available for people to eat a bag lunch and talk.
5:00 p.m. Supper – 8110 – 81 Street (Bonnydon area) – Potluck Meal (everyone invited with or without food in hand)
7:00 p.m. Meeting with Michael at the Edmonton Public Library Room 6 Stanley Milner Library