Aajonus Vonderplanitz, raw milk and food rights activist, dead in Thailand

From David E. Gumpert, on The Complete Patient blog:

Aajonus with owls. Click image for source.

“Food rights activist Aajonus Vonderplanitz died in Thailand yesterday, and the circumstances of his demise reflect the way he lived–colorful and shrouded in mystery and controversy.

The 66-year-old nutritionist was, in some ways, the father of the food rights movement, having fought, often nearly alone, on various fronts over the last 15 years–in Los Angeles, in Washington DC, and in states around the country for legalization of raw milk sales and the rights of farmers to sell nutrient-dense food privately.

It was his farm lease and food club models that were the basis of the arrangements used by Vernon Hershberger in Wisconsin and Alvin Schlangen in Minnesota. Those arrangements and a half dozen others were the common thread linking government legal assaults on farmers over the last half dozen years, described in my book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights. Vonderplanitz’s agreements, formed under the auspices of a nonprofit organization he put together known as Right to Choose Healthy Food, mostly stood up well to the legal assaults….”

“He grew up Richard Swigart, and changed his name in his early twenties. He also said he grew up autistic, and credited raw milk and carrot juice, consumed on the advice of a friend, with helping unshackle him from the effects of the condition.

Vonderplanitz died in a rural area of Thailand where he had a home, about three-and-a-half hours from Bangkok. According to close friend Larry Otting, Vonderplanitz was seriously injured a few days ago when he stepped out onto a second-story balcony on the house, and it collapsed or a railing collapsed. Vonderplanitz broke his back, and was taken to a local hospital where he was placed in traction. He was in such intense pain that he accepted pain-killing medication, and shortly after, went into a coma and died.

Otting is planning to travel to Thailand to retrieve Vonderplanitz’s body and bring it back to the U.S. Vonderplanitz has a son, whom Otting said was unable to make the trip.

While he’s there, Otting says he plans “to investigate the balcony. It was strange that it just gave way like that.”

Vonderplanitz related frequent tales about mysterious attempts on his life–he figured government or private corporate-hired agents working to derail his food rights activities were behind the efforts. In one episode a few years ago, he said he was tied to his bed in a hotel room in the Philippines while agents injected him with various toxic substances. In another last year, he said an auto he was driving in Thailand was sabotaged, causing it to roll over into a swamp; he and his girlfriend barely escaped from the car before they would have drowned, in his telling. …”

Read more on The Complete Patient blog.


Filed under News

6 responses to “Aajonus Vonderplanitz, raw milk and food rights activist, dead in Thailand

  1. James


    Does anyone know of any farms that sell raw milk west of the GTA. Im in Wellington county (i.e. Guelph) and would like to find a vendor. Thanks.


  2. Ketil

    James, thank you for your compassionate reply to this article regarding the passing away of one of the greatest nutritionists ever lived. Very respectfully and subtle indeed. Rest in peace Aajonus…..

  3. BC Food Security

    A mixed legacy best. After reading Mr.Gumpert’s 2 articles on AV I am not sure if AV has done more harm, in the end, than good for the overall food rights movement ? Contributing to the shutdown of the amazing and once vibrant California Private Food club Rawsome was a serious error in judgment. In addition it caused major dislocations and financial losses for the founder and peripheral organic food suppliers. How can trashing the careers, built on blood, sweat and tears, of other people trying to do the best they can with their limited resources be anything but negative ?
    It is challenging enough to navigate the shark-infested waters of government regulation and corporate manipulation.

  4. Craig

    AV’s diet gave me my life back. I will be forever grateful.

  5. Jim Valerio

    Aajonas is somebody I never had the pleasure of meeting…But everything I heard about him reminds me of the Julius Ceaser of nutrition! What a hell of a warrior he must have been! Wow…he really had brass balls! Jim V.

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