“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. …”