It’s like 1994 all over again, for anyone who remembers what Michael Schmidt refers to as “the first raw milk war”. Like Michael Schmidt in 1994, Ottawa-area raw milk farmer Michael Ilgert has recently been hit with an order from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, demanding that he “cease and desist from selling, offering for sale and distributing, milk that is not pasteurized”.
Michael Ilgert has appealed the order to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board, and a hearing has now been scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th at 10 am in the Indigo Room at the Metcalfe Hotel, 123 Metcalf Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5L9.
Michael Schmidt, who went through the same appeal process in 1994, says that the Health Appeal Board is appointed by the Ministry of Health and has no power to change the law or offer exemptions. Michael Schmidt plans to attend Michael Ilgert’s hearing in Ottawa on Feb. 28th.
Just Who is this Michael Ilgert?
Michael Ilgert grew up on a mixed mostly organic farm near the village of Golden Lake, Ontario with a large vegetable garden and a family milk cow. As a result, he was fortunate to consume raw milk and fresh or preserved vegetables, chicken and beef from the farm throughout his childhood. He spent his spare time reading Rodale’s “Organic Gardening and Farming” and “The Mother Earth News”.
After a 25 year career in the construction industry in Ottawa where he became known as “Drywaller To The Stars”, Michael returned to his first passion, farming. After serving for two years as Chairperson of Canadian Organic Growers-Ottawa chapter, he resigned to start a raw milk cow share operation after being inspired by raw milk farmer and activist Michael Schmidt and American “beyond-organic” farmer and author Joel Salatin.
Michael’s mission and passion in life is to produce the most nutritious and most delicious and healthiest food possible and share this food with his customers.
In a Feb. 11th post on Facebook, Michael Ilgert wrote:
“They want me to close down my raw milk cow share operation. I have refused. Now they threaten to raid my farm and take away my equipment and milk. This despite no evidence of anyone getting sick from my milk and my cow share members telling me how delicious the milk is and how much better they feel. We need to fight this and expose their hypocrisy and lies!! I need your support! I have raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt helping me along with well known Ottawa defense lawyer Douglas Baum, who is working on the case pro-bono.
Many have asked how they can help. There are a few ways: 1) Write down the date of Feb. 28 and try to show up to support me. 2) Call your M.P. and M.P.P. and tell them that you want access to raw milk in Canada. 3) Please make a donation to my GoFundMe page Ilgerts Organic Acres to help with my expenses 4) Share this with all your friends on Facebook and email.
Thanks so much for your support…Mike”
You can contribute to Michael Ilgert’s costs through his GoFundMe page.
Meanwhile, what is Happening with Michael Schmidt’s Raw Milk Legal Saga?
Michael Ilgert is one of several graduates of Michael Schmidt’s training program for raw milk cow share farmers, which he started following his acquittal on raw milk charges in January of 2010. That acquittal was subsequently overturned in appeal court and although Michael also lost a subsequent appeal of that decision, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, the latest development in that raw milk saga is that there is proposed injunction being put forward jointly by the Ontario Milk Director, and by the Region of York to shut down what they are calling Michael’s “milk plant” at the farm, and also to criminalize any further distribution of raw milk, and even criminalize advocating the consumption of raw milk by any John or Jane Doe.
The regions of Peel and Simcoe have also joined in the injunction application against raw milk distribution. The “Our Farm Our Food Coop” has asked for, and been granted, intervener status in the forthcoming court hearing to consider that application for an injunction and many of the members of the coop have sworn affidavits regarding their need for raw milk, to be entered as evidence in the hearing. However, as of yet, no date has been announced for this hearing. All this court activity stems from an initial raid on Glencolton Farms in November of 2006, more than ten years ago. No cases of sickness or death have been reported arising from Glencolton Farms’ raw milk over the past 25 years.
Michael Schmidt has also been involved with a legal case involving Montana Jones and the removal of Shropshire sheep which the CFIA had intended to slaughter for testing. However that case was dismissed recently due to excess delay in bringing the case to trial.