Monthly Archives: November 2011

Modern milk war and food freedom

From Top Secret

Picture via the internet.

“Currently sold legally in 30 states (1), raw milk is the subject of tremendous controversy and is one of the only foods that cannot be legally sold across state lines.

Recent news of E.coli being found in raw milk from dairies in California and Washington seem to reinforce the argument that the sale of raw milk should be illegal in all states.

However, before such a tremendous hit to freedoms is allowed, it’s important to take a closer look at raw milk, E.coli and our freedom to choose what we eat. Continue reading

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New Toronto food coop wants more of the food money to go to the farmers

From Catherine Porter on The

“Hey Occupy Toronto foodies: Instead of holing up inside the basement of a city-owned building on Queen West, you should come to the basement of the Community Health Centre in Parkdale.

Here, something truly radical is brewing: the first food co-operative built in Toronto in 28 years.

By next spring, the West End Food Co-operative will appear like a small grocery store in the basement of the community centre, its wooden shelves stocked with locally grown vegetables and locally made soaps. In the centre of the store will be a kitchen, where store employees will lead workshops with clients from upstairs. Workshops could include cooking with sex workers, or teaching Roma refugee families how to can tomatoes. And there will be a small café, where members can pick up a cup of fair-trade coffee and warm peach pie, made from the extra peaches a local farmer dropped off. Continue reading


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Harper ends wheat board monopoly

From The Canadian Press:

“OTTAWA – The Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on western wheat and barley, a mainstay of Prairie agriculture for generations, is over.

Killing it has been on the Tory wish list for years, up there with tough-on-crime laws and an end to the gun registry.

After being stymied by minority Parliaments, the Harper Conservatives flexed their majority muscle Monday night and stripped the board of its legal lock on Prairie wheat and barley crops.

The House of Commons voted by a 153-120 margin to support the bill that ends the board’s monopoly. Continue reading

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So what’s so good about raw milk?

From Justin Robertson on Post (website of a Toronto based newspaper chain):

Michael Schmidt and some of his supporters leaving the court on Friday

“Last week, Michael Schmidt incurred a hefty slap-on-the-wrist (to the tune of $9,150) for charges related to selling raw milk. Not only that, he racked up two separate probation sentences for offences dating back to 2006. The guy clearly loves his raw milk. The government clearly does not. So what exactly is the deal with raw milk anyway? What makes it special enough to die for (or at least to abstain from eating for over a month)? Below, five reasons why raw milk has a cult following.

1. Taste the delicious taste. Of course, advocates will try to convince you that raw milk is the best tasting thing to happen to humanity since manna. But one thing is certain: raw milk certainly tastes different. Here is a pretty thorough breakdown of what to expect if taking the plunge.  Continue reading

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More good things come from Maine

Last Saturday I was talking to a young woman who is studying midwifery in Maine. I asked her what the culture was like down there. She started by noting that Maine was next to New Hampshire, where the tagline on the license plates is “Live Free or Die”. She also told me that in Maine it wasn’t uncommon for homes to be off the grid, and that there were a lot of folks living simply there in preparation for the collapse of civilization as we know it. In fact, she said, the whole of New England is much closer philosophically to what we think of as Canada than places like Alberta. She went so far as to suggest Canada should swap Alberta for New England. All by way of introduction to this story on Good Food 4 All blog about a congresswoman who takes her work seriously:

“Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has questions for USDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on raw milk and the appointment of former Monsanto lawyer Michael Taylor to head the USDA.


As all of us in the food movement have done, Rep. Pingree questions the FDA’s role it plays in raids on small farmers.

Small dairy farmers across the country offering raw milk seem to be targeted just because they are easy prey.  They’re outside the lobbying interests, financial influences, coercion and corruption of the government by “Big Ag.”  They don’t have the funds to fight back.   Despite consumer demand, the FDA and CDC still issue dire warnings about raw milk like every sip of the stuff will immediately kill people. Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt refuses raw milk fines

From Aprons and Icons in Toronto Life:

Michael Schmidt talks to the media after his sentencing last Friday.

“After he professed a willingness to die to see the sale of raw milk legalized, it should come as no surprise that food freedom crusader Michael Schmidt is prepared to go to prison for his cause. Schmidt was in court in Newmarket last week for sentencing on convictions related to the sale of unpasteurized milk. The judge—who seemed entirely sympathetic to the cause—handed down a relatively gentle fine, but Schmidt, ever the hard-liner, refused to accept it. Continue reading


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The law decrees Michael Schmidt must also pay a “victim surcharge” of $1,945 for his victimless raw milk offenses

From Karen Selick, on The Justice Report:

Michael Schmidt, after the sentencing last Friday, outside Newmarket court.

“A fact that hasn’t yet been publicized following the sentencing of CCF client Michael Schmidt on Friday, November 25 is that in addition to the fine of $9,150 imposed by Justice Tetley, a “victim surcharge” totaling $1,945 was also added to the tab. The total amount that Michael is supposed to pay is therefore $11,095.

Under section 60.1 of Ontario’s Provincial Offences Act, the “victim surcharge” gets added automatically. The amount is determined on a little chart found in the regulations, here. Continue reading


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Raw milk freedom riders to ride again, to challenge FDA on fetching milk for others across state lines

From Kimberly Hartke:

Raw milk freedom rider and mom Liz Reitzig at the previous action at the FDA in Maryland.

Chicago, IL—On December 8, a group of mothers and others will defy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on “distributing” fresh milk across state lines by transporting 100 gallons of raw milk from Wisconsin to Chicago’s Independence Park and distributing it to customers waiting at the park.

Federal law 21 CFR § 1240.61 prohibits interstate movement and distribution of raw milk for human consumption. The FDA regulation applies to individuals, or “agents” acting on their behalf. Continue reading

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Aubergine on Food Freedom Day at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Nov. 23rd

From Toronto food blogger, Aubergine:

Click image above to go to a page where you can watch Aubergine's video.

“Today I’m taking you out of my kitchen for a little jaunt down to Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto and yesterday’s raw milk rally with dairy farmer Michael Schmidt. According to Canadian law, Michael Schmidt is a serious criminal. His crime: selling unpasteurized milk. In 2006 his farm was raided by 25 armed police and since then he has been in and out of the courts fighting a battle for the right to sell raw milk. He recently completed a 37-day hunger strike resulting in Premier McGuinty finally agreeing to speak with him and starting some dialogue on this issue. Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt sentenced to pay $9,150 but an appeal is on the way

Canadian Press story, via the Kitchener-Waterloo Record:

Flanked by supporters and television cameras, the self-described Godfather of raw milk, Michael Schmidt, raises a toast following his sentencing last Friday in Newmarket court.

“NEWMARKET, ONT. — Raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt was handed a $9,150 fine and one year of probation Friday on convictions related to selling and distributing unpasteurized milk.

In an interview after the sentence was handed down in a packed Newmarket, Ont., courtroom, Schmidt said he would not be paying the fine.

“I’d rather go to prison than pay the fine, and that’s a matter of principle,” he said. “If I pay the fine, then this is almost like an admittance of guilt.” Continue reading


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