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.
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….”