Video interview with Markus Schmidt (Michael Schmidt’s son) by Marianne:
The story below was originally published in the May 2017 edition of the Glencolton Moos (newsletter for Our Farm Our Food Coop members). It was written by Carl, who has been working in the administration at Glencolton Farms:
How far will we go to secure the future of local, healthful food in Canada? On May 28 and 29, Michael Schmidt, Elisa Vander Hout, Markus Schmidt, Agricultural Renewal Co-op (i.e., Glencolton Farms), Skip Taylor (representing Our Farm, Our Food Co-op [OFOF]), the Christian Community Church, many OFOF members, and many members of the wider community will be attending a court hearing that will decide the future of raw-milk drinking in Canada, and that will affect the whole small-scale farming community, as well as those who depend on it to get the food they want.
With this last point in mind, we here at Glencolton Farms want to emphasize that this court case is not just about unpasteurized milk. It is about the future of farming and small-scale agriculture as a way to obtain healthful, wholesome food that we feel proud to share with our families. It is about maintaining a connection with our local farmers so that each and every one of us knows where our food comes from, how it is grown, and what goes into growing it.
We want to bring to your attention the possible outcomes of this court hearing, and how these outcomes will determine the future of Glencolton Farms, as well as the wider community. There is no need to summarize, yet again, the costs associated with this legal battle (both emotionally and financially). But it is now that we must start to ask ourselves, “How far will we go to secure this future for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children?”
There are five possible outcomes that will result from this hearing:
1. The court rules in favour of the defendants (i.e., Glencolton Farms, Schmidt, Vander Hout, and OFOF members), and the crown does not make an appeal. In this case, the farm is free to continue to provide its members with raw milk, just as it has been doing for some time, only without the threat of the law watching over it.
2. The court rules in the defendants’ favour, but the crown appeals. In this case, the farm carries on with more court dates, more stress, and so on.
3. The court rules in the crown’s favour, and the defendants appeal. In this case, the defendants will argue the constitutional point of human rights. This scenario becomes a question of securing enough finances to appeal at all. If the farm were to go with this option, then it is going to need big bucks to carry it through. It is at this point that all OFOF members will be asked to re-evaluate their dedication to the co-operative’s cause, and how much they are willing or able to support a court appeal.
4. The court rules in the crown’s favour, and the farm does not have the resources to appeal. In this case, it either continues to do what it has been doing and risks being charged for contempt of court (i.e., not abiding by the court’s ruling) or the operation ceases (i.e., the milk operation stops and Glencolton Farms looks to other means of supporting itself in other industries).
So you can see that with this hearing the stakes are high, perhaps the highest they have ever been. You must realize that the result of this case will become case law for the future; it will set a precedent for the future cases regardless of which way the court decides. We on the farm all hope that the court will rule in our favour, but if they do not, then it becomes a question of how much further we go.
Anyone interested in this case, or in issues of food freedom, is welcome to attend the court hearings which start at 9 am Monday and Tuesday May 29th and 30th at 50 Eagle Street in Newmarket Ontario. Come out and show that people care. Eagle Street runs west off Yonge Street and there is plenty of free parking at the court house.