David E. Gumpert, writing on Grist.org:
“For nearly a month now, Canadian rancher Michael Schmidt has been engaged in a hunger strike. For over 17 years, Schmidt has been crusading for the right to distribute raw milk to a few hundred Ontario consumers who own shares in his herd of cows. He says he has been unable to convince anyone in a position of power to discuss how he and other raw dairy farmers can simultaneously service their herdshare members and abide by public health safety concerns. Instead, as he told me last week: “My farm has been raided by armed officers, my family has been terrorized, and I have been dragged through the courts — first being acquitted and then being found guilty.”
Now, he says, he wants a personal meeting with Ontario’s premier, Dalton McGuinty. If he doesn’t get the meeting? “I am prepared to go all the way,” he says. Continue reading
David E. Gumpert, America’s foremost raw milk journalist, has had a lot of posts lately themed around Canadian raw milk farmer and potential martyr, Michael Schmidt. He’s recently done a story on Michael for Grist.org. We’d excerpt that, but he Grist site seems to be down at the moment (here’s the link in case it’s back up by the time you read this.). So here’s something from David’s latest post on his The Complete Patient blog.
A Political precedent for McGuinty acceding to Schmidt’s pressure:
Robert Kennedy with Cesar Chavez as he concluded a hunger strike in March 1968.
“Ontario’s premier, Dalton McGuinty, may well be wondering if meeting with Michael Schmidt might involve a loss of “face”…that he will look weak if he accedes to the dairy farmer’s request.
He might want to take a look at the photo here. It’s from March 1968, and shows Robert Kennedy, then a U.S. senator from New York, and a candidate for the Presidential nomination, meeting with migrant farm leader Cesar Chavez on day 25 of his hunger strike on behalf of laws to protect farm workers. Chavez ended the hunger strike after meeting with Kennedy. And here is some video footage of Kennedy speaking to reporters after meeting with Chavez. Continue reading
Meeting with your local MPP at his or her constituency office is another great way to have your voice heard in our Canadian political system. Just yesterday afternoon two Richmond Hill cowshare members, Richard and Jon had an amiable meeting with local MPP Reza Moridi at his office on Yonge Street just south of Major Mackenzie Drive. They gave him some background on the situation, shared their views on raw milk and asked Reza to urge Dalton McGuinty to at least speak to Michael. Surprisingly, this seemed to have been the first he’d heard of the case. Looking back I’m thinking wouldn’t it have been great if we’d have been going to our MPPs to voice our concerns right from the start of this whole affair. Anyway, all this is by way of introduction to this excerpt from the Swashbuckle Report blog about a meeting with Barrie MPP Rod Jackson:
Barrie MPP Rod Jackson
“In his latest message to supporters, leader of the natural milk movement in North America, Michael Schmidt expresses thanks to his supporters and resolution in the face of a crisis over his right to be granted an unbiased discussion of milk policy in Ontario.
Here in Barrie some of us met with Barrie’s member of provincial Parliament, Rod Jackson, for a candid discussion about Michael’s struggle. This discussion focused on matters of individual liberty, food freedom and creating a healthier, more economically-robust future for farming in this province and this country. Continue reading
On how many policy issues do we have Americans writing to Canadian politicians? At least two of today’s collection of letters are from our neighbours south of the border who feel so strongly about these issues that they are writing to government people in Canada over our treatment of Michael Schmidt and raw milk. What’s next? Will we soon have Amnesty International on our case over food rights abuses? This is starting to go beyond simple justice to taint Ontario’s image abroad.
Self-described "milk wenches" at yesterday's Queen's Park rally. Photo by Charlotte VanGenechten
Dear Premier McGuinty,
I would like to add my support for Mr. Michael Schmidt in his effort to bring raw milk to the point where it is no longer criminalized.
I don’t live in Ontario, but I am proud to have been born in Hamilton and grew up in Ontario until I was nine. Now I live in Washington state. While visiting in Ontario three years ago in Durham, I learned of Mr. Schmidt, became fascinated with his case and have followed his story ever since. He is a hero to me because of his courage and willingness to stand up for his principles. Continue reading
Valerie Hauch, in the Toronto Star:
Raw milk crusader, Michael Schmidt, drank just one glass of raw milk daily in the initial phase of his hunger strike but has been subsisting on only water since early October. The Durham farmer says he has lost 30 lbs and is being monitored by a doctor. LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR/LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR
“He hasn’t yet had a phone call from Premier Dalton McGuinty, but dairy farmer and raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt, who is nearly a month into a hunger strike, is hearing from a lot of other people — including some supporters south of the border.
Members of the Raw Milk Freedom Riders — an activist group of American mothers and their supporters who believe in the right of people to buy raw milk and also transport it over state lines — have invited the Durham farmer to be one of a number of speakers at a Nov. 1 rally in Silver Spring, Maryland. Continue reading
From the Leftover Queen:
Photo via The Leftover Queen
“As I write this, it has been almost 40 hours since I consumed anything but raw milk and water. I am still alive. No stomach pains, no headaches, no indications to tell me that this hotly debated food item has damaged me in any way, the fact is, I feel completely nourished and as normal as I would any morning at 10:30 AM. I am not starving for food, but getting hungry, I have normal amounts of energy and I am in a good mood. From all the anti- raw milk campaigns out there, you would think at this point I would be in a hospital bed somewhere, or at the very least, having a case of the runs. I even had dental surgery yesterday, so I guess I did in fact consume Novocaine, but even with all that, I am feeling A-OK. Continue reading