Raw milk folks working together… NOT

In the excerpt below from his The Complete Patient blog, David Gumpert describes strange things going down south of the border, with RAWMI reps putting forward legislative proposals in Wisconsin and Minnesota, without first engaging in any consultative working together with local raw milk groups.

"Our Choice" alright -- Composite image from Wild Things Organic homepage.

But Canada, it seems, is also not immune to conflict among raw milk supporters. We’ve got our own tempests in teapots, most recently around the domain name for Cowshare Canada being registered by Wild Things Organic in B.C.

Haven’t yet parsed the full meaning of this, but no doubt it will become apparent as matters play themselves out. There’s a discussion on the subject in the comments following this post on the Bovine, as well as on the “Support Michael Schmidt” Facebook page.

“…Raw milk supporters in Wisconsin and Minnesota are on the verge of fighting in front of the company–the company being legislators in their states who are wavering on whether to pass legislation that would ease access to raw milk.

The fighting, which so far is being played out behind the scenes, threatens to move into public view as resentment mounts among local raw milk supporters in Wisconsin and Minnesota over intrusions into the legislative process by the fledgling Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI).

One of RAWMI’s goals, in addition to establishing raw dairy safety standards, has been to push for legislation that will expand access to raw milk.

RAWMI has begun this effort in three states that have experienced intensive regulatory enforcement against producers and consumers–Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. In California, RAWMI has been involved since last summer in helping mediate between goat milk herdshares and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

In Wisconsin, RAWMI has involved itself in helping push forward legislation that would legalize the production and sale of raw milk from Grade A dairies. In Minnesota, RAWMI has been negotiating with legislators about allowing raw milk to be delivered to consumers; now, it’s only available to consumers who travel to permitted farms.

So far, RAWMI’s approach is of the bull-in-the-china-shop variety– stirring up lots of lots of controversy…about its own tactics and communication practices in working with established raw milk activists.

The problem first came to my attention about ten days ago, when a couple of raw milk activists in Minnesota complained to me that their group seemed to be shut out of RAWMI’s efforts to influence legislators on expanding access to raw milk there. They said they didn’t mind RAWMI coming in, but resented being kept in the dark about discussions going on between RAWMI and state legislators.

Then, earlier this week, the head of a local raw milk activist group in Wisconsin voiced similar complaints in an email to other activists….”

Read it all on The Complete Patient blog.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Raw milk folks working together… NOT

  1. I think raw milk advocates should separate into two camps that are respectful of each other and who avoid stepping on each other’s toes.

    I have great respect for Mark and the work that he’s done in fitting raw milk into the industrial food distribution system. But I want to know that he understands and respects that true shared ownership is an entirely different issue.

    Bona-fide herd shares must remain beyond whatever regulatory purview that those who mass-market milk are willing to tolerate. And I hope those who are passionately committed to herd-sharing will let RAWMI go about its business — as long as it doesn’t try to muscle-out the competition by subjecting herd shares to the same constraints as retail sales.

    After all, it’s the “one size fits all” approach to regulation that has caused all these problems to begin with. If RAWMI is going after herd-shares, they’re no better than milk marketing boards going after herd-shares.

    Surely, there’s room in this market for two different models? People who want to get milk from their neighbour aren’t likely to buy raw milk at the supermarket, and people who only shop in supermarkets aren’t going to be bothered with meeting a bus in a parking lot to get milk.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  2. thebovine

    Hear hear!

  3. Kurtis

    “If RAWMI is going after herd-shares, they’re no better than milk marketing boards going after herd-shares.”

    Ding ding ding. We have a winner!

  4. Kurtis

    Yup. Wild thing has owned those domains for years. Goes back to the original discussions of CSC before Michael was emailed on it.

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