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.
These farmers want to provide consumers with food they want: locally produced fresh food, which hasn’t been mass-produced on a factory farm. In increasing numbers, consumers want to know where their food comes from. They want to see a ‘face,’ and know food has a human, compassionate connection.
Like their ancestors, these farmers let their animals live as they should: in fields, eating grass. They are lovingly cared for, which, as studies have confirmed, produce healthier milk and meat. CAFOS, on the other hand, are a constant source of stress for the animals and raise the levels of stress hormones in the body, affecting the meat quality.
Those in CAFOS (confined animal feeding operations) sometimes stand almost belly deep in feces, eat unnatural diets of corn, their bodies artificially manipulated by drugs to produce abnormal amounts of milk. These animals have to be miserable; this is true animal cruelty but it is allowed to continue.
The government, however, has other ideas. The FDA seems to be on a mission to squash the life out of every single small farmer. WHY? Aaah.., I forgot — MONEY, that’s right! How stupid of me!
In my little pea brain, something is very wrong when a Monsanto dude moves from being counsel to the GMO manufacturer to being appointed the Supreme Court!
“Perfectly dramatizing the “Revolving Door” between Monsanto and the Federal Government, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, formerly chief counsel for Monsanto, delivered one of the decisive votes in the Citizens United case, in effect giving Monsanto and other biotech bullies the right to buy the votes it needs in the U.S. Congress.” — Ronnie Cummins, “Monsanto Nation: Taking Down Goliath,” Organic Consumers, July 27, 2011…”