Raw milk rallies coast to coast on Nov 23 “Food Freedom Day” in Canada

Thanks to all the contributors; we’re still hoping to hear from a few more cities:

Raw milk and cookies; so good, so illegal -- from Victoria B.C. Photo: Kemal Holubeshen

First three Victoria pictures are from the Facebook album of  Kemal Holubeshen

From co-organizer of the Victoria rally, Nadine Ijaz: “Some pics from our Victoria BC Food Freedom Rally today at the Legislature, with Shelby the cow with Kerry Van Wiltenburg, Shakti the cow with herdshare farmer Jan Steinman, four MLAS (Lana Popham, Jenny Kwan, Mike Farnworth and Nicholas Simons), local activists including Nadine E. Ijaz and Jackie Ingram, and about 85 others. Plus two public health officials filming Jan Steinman as he openly engages in civil disobedience by milking his goat and sharing the milk with a shareholder. We are hopeful on the Coast.

A cow being milked in the streets of Victoria, outside the legislature. Photo: Kemal Holubeshen

Who knew they had hitching posts like this in downtown Victoria? Photo: Kemal Holubeshen

Here’s the link to more of Kemal Holubeshen’s pictures

Nadine Ijaz said (on Facebook): Salt Spring Island herdshare farmer Jan Steinman signed up a new shareholder today at the Victoria BC Legislature, and illegally shared Shakti the goat’s fresh milk with its rightful new owner under the watch of two Public Health officials in an act of open civil disobedience.

New herdshare owner signed up on the spot in Victoria. Nadine Ijaz photo.

About the Victoria rally, co-organizer Jan Steinman said: “It was great! I’d guess some 60 or more people, and FOUR MLAs came out to voice support, including the Agriculture Critic and best of all, the Health Critic. For a potential Minister of Health to come out in support of raw milk is awesome! There was video coverage from CTV and CHEX, and numerous amateur A-V coverage from people with blogs or YouTube accounts.”

Jan Steinman gets ready to milk his goat in Victoria. Nadine Ijaz photo.

Also from Nadine: “Three cheers for Vancouver BC herdshare activist Jackie Ingram, whose tireless work gathering petitions and letters, and lobbying local politicians, resulted today in four MLAs standing with us at today’s Victoria B.C. food freedom rally. Jackie’s MLA, Jenny Kwan, tabled the petition and letters in the B.C. Legislature today, and we look forward to working with all four supporters towards legalizing herdshares in B.C.”

Speeches in front of the B.C. legislature. Photo: Kemal Holubeshen

Crystal Sawyer said: “Three cheers for Nadine E. Ijaz and Jan Steinman for their dedication, passion, diplomacy, and bravery in executing a very successful Food Freedom rally today at the BC Legislature in Victoria, B.C.

MLA Jenny Kwan today tabled a petition in the Legislature on this matter supported by a 6000-name petition. MLA Lana Popham joined her to read a wonderfully supportive, and deeply understanding, long letter she and her colleagues have penned to all members of our movement. They wish for B.C. to take some leadership in this necessary change. NDP Critic for Health Mike Farnworth took the stage to share his personal, positive experiences consuming raw milk. We had other high-powered supporters, too, who couldn’t be there today.

About 100 people were there to show respectful, educated, and passionate support. A wonderful farmer brought the lovely Shelby the Cow, who posed nicely for many-a-camera. And little Shakti the goat, after a little coaxing, was…”

One last Victoria picture, from Jenny Kwan, who posted it on Facebook, with the following caption:

I attended a rally today in Victoria with my colleague Lana Popham to ask the government to end the prohibition on the distribution of raw milk. I also tabled a petition in the Legislature on this matter presented to me by activists for raw milk. — with Lana Popham and Lana Popham.


EDMONTON: According to Margo McIntosh on Facebook: “The Alberta rally consisted of 18 people and what a group! We had a 3 year old and an 83 year old, a pregnant woman, Slow Food Executive Member, a Calgarian, Judith who had been charged by the provincial government for the distribution of raw milk and even a dog! We are happy that we were there prepared with and made a statement as well as read out Michael’s statement to the press. In the evening we showed the Milk Wars movie where we had a Slow Food representative and a Weston A. Price representative on hand to answer questions and give out information. We were happy to help the cause by helping continuity across the country.” –Charlene Bishop”


Katy Helliwell spells it out for CBC radio listeners in Regina. Click to go to CBC page.

Katy said it was “a crazy, worth while day of interviews with TV cameras and cell phone radio talks”.


The Toronto rally at Queen’s Park has been covered extensively in other posts, but we’ll include a token picture here too. Participants in the Queen’s Park event came from as far as northern Alberta (Lisa Lundgard) and Saskatchewan (Janeen Covlin).

Lots of parents and children came out for the Queen's Park rally in Toronto Nov. 23.


From Carol-Anne Gallego in St. John’s Newfoundland:

“The most Eastern part of Canada, in St. John’s NL a small but dedicated group of Raw Milk Freedom Fighters gathered to watch the “Milk War” documentary in recognition of the cross-Canada Rally. Afterwards, we discussed the importance of joining Cow Share Canada to promote safe access to Raw Milk and other ways in which we can improve local access to this living food. $100 was raised for the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

Beth MacDonnell from the CBC attended and will be doing a short piece for the radio tomorrow morning (sometime between 6 and 6:30 am) and a longer news piece for the radio this weekend. The latter might be uploaded to the website, in which case I will be sure to send you the link. I’ve attached some photos:

Screening the Milk War movie in St. John's Newfoundland yesterday.

CBC radio reporter interviews raw milk supporters in St. John's Newfoundland.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Raw milk rallies coast to coast on Nov 23 “Food Freedom Day” in Canada

  1. Thanks for getting this up so rapidly, Richard!

    The show of support — including four MLAs — moved many of us to tears. With the petition from Jenny Kwan and Lana Popham, the stage is set for a private member’s bill. And with an election on the horizon and the endorsement of the Loyal Opposition Health Critic, the stage is set to have a Minister of Health who supports the right to obtain raw milk in British Columbia!

    If you live in BC, please write your MLA and ask them to support Members Farnworth, Kwan, Popham, and Simons in the legalization of limited distribution of raw milk. If one of them is your MLA, please write and thank them for their support. And if you don’t live in BC, what the heck — write them anyway! It’s all very easy, via the general contact form on the BC Legislative Assembly website.

    It could happen here in BC with the next session of Legislature!

  2. As a dedicated dairy goat farmer for 34 years, I am a strong advocate for the individual right to make an informed decision to consume raw milk. In my opinion, food freedom is a basic human right and the government has no right to dictate what we can or cannot put on our plates.

    I am both happy and excited to see the response Victoria gave in support of Food Freedom to consume Raw Milk on November 23rd. However, I am also somewhat confused.

    Every day my herd of Saanen goats rewards me with rich creamy organic milk. I feel blessed whenever I savor a glass of raw milk that tastes exactly like nature intended it to be.

    Every day I wait for people to respond to my ads but the phone stays silent as I pour gallons of raw milk onto the ground. My heart pounds and I begin to cry whenever I consider the possibility of having to sell my beautiful herd for meat because I cannot afford to keep going like this much longer.

    My point is this …

    Dairy farmers like me take a considerable risk to give the Food Freedom fighters what they want because we believe in what we do and are committed to our craft. However, the sobering reality is many of us are struggling to keep our heads above water financially.

    It saddens me to think that in the end it may not be the authorities who silence small private dairy farmers but rather the lack of support from the very people who demand the right to consume raw milk.

    • “It saddens me to think that in the end it may not be the authorities who silence small private dairy farmers but rather the lack of support from the very people who demand the right to consume raw milk.”

      Kat, I think you need to be very careful who you vilify in this battle.

      I have no doubt that anyone who attended that rally would jump at the chance to join your herd share, if they did not already have a source. This time of year, we are unable to meet demand from our herd shareholders, although we have a surplus in the spring, and make cheese twice a week to compensate.

      We chatted on the phone about some marketing ideas. Part of the joy and challenge of being a small farmer is that you have to wear many hats, including marketing — you don’t have a monopoly marketing board and a guaranteed sale. It seems an Internet ad is not doing the trick — try something else! Or try some value-added products — local cheese and local soap can be very popular.

      To a big dairy, “supply management” means the monopoly milk marketing board. I’d like to suggest that to a small farmer, “supply management” has an entirely different meaning — it means finding something more financially productive to do with oversupply than feeding it to chickens. Again, cheese and soap come to mind.

      When things aren’t going as you expect, it’s tempting to lash out at those closest to you. But please take the effort to see the bigger picture. The entire world is in recession. People are pinching pennies. It isn’t raw milk fans who are the problem; it’s a monopolistic quota system that imposes a price for milk that cannot sustain a small farmer! Go after that, and you’ve got my support!

      But if you insist on blaming your potential customer base, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Perhaps they’re already picking up on that negative energy.

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