Glencolton farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF farm-share members on a tour of the farm’s dairy barn in April of 2017.
The injunctions being sought at Newmarket Court next Monday and Tuesday may well be the final nail in the coffin of raw milk, if Ontario milk director Gavin Downing and the Region of York have their way.
The proposed injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, located about two hours northwest of Toronto, in Grey County near the town of Durham, and would also prohibit the continued distribution of raw milk from the farm to people in York Region. The injunctions would prohibit even advocating the consumption of raw milk. Simcoe Region and Peel Region have subsequently joined the injunction application, so people in those jurisdictions would also be affected, as well.
This farm has, in the past, faced numerous raw-milk-related charges, most recently arising from a raid in 2006. However, in the past, charges have been on the level of regulatory offenses. If the injunctions being sought are granted by the court, any continuation of these activities could result in criminal charges, not only for the persons named — Michael Schmidt, Elisa Van der Hout, and Markus Schmidt — but also for any John or Jane Doe, and for the Christian Community church which has been a distribution site. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“After 23 years of unsuccessfully chasing down raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt via raids and court trials, the Ontario government seems finally to have settled on its version of the “nuclear” option: Its minions are seeking an injunction against the sale and purchase of raw milk, an action that could well have the effect of criminalizing all distribution and even consumption.
The injunction seems likely to be invoked by an Ontario judge next week after arguments next Monday and Tuesday, predicts Schmidt. The effects of the injunction will be immediately chilling, he explains, because implementation of the injunction will come with a proviso that Schmidt and the 150 members of his coop pay all legal and court costs associated with the government demand for the injunction, a cost that Schmidt has no illusions about: “I can guarantee you it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”…” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
The following is a roundup of news and views on the raw milk situation in Ontario heading into the May 29th and 30th court dates at which the injunction applications by the Ontario Milk Director and by the Region of York will be considered. If approved those injunctions would result in court orders shutting down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, and distribution to Our Farm Our Food Coop members in York Region and elsewhere. The proposed injunctions would also criminalize the act of advocating the consumption of raw milk:
This video was recently posted by farmer Michael Schmidt:
From Liz Reitzig:
The Canadian Government is gearing up to criminalize raw milk consumption!
Show up to court on May 29-30 at 9:00am. This hearing is the most crucial one in the 23 years of the raw milk battle in Ontario. It goes to the core of food rights.
- Show up in court on May 29-30, 2017 9:00am to send a clear message that Canadians care about food rights. (If you are unable to make it due to geography or logistics, please share this message far and wide) The courthouse is located at 50 Eagle Street Newmarket Ontario
- Donate to help cover ongoing court costs https://www.gofundme.com/foodrights
In October 2015, Glencolton Farm was raided for the third time. During this raid, several farm owners stood in defense of their right to farm and have access to their foods. Continue reading
An Organic Farm Under Threat
Azure Farms is a working, Certified Organic farm located in Moro, Central Oregon, in Sherman County. It has been Certified Organic for about 18 years. The farm produces almost all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for Azure Standard.
Sherman County is changing the interpretation of its statutory code from controlling noxious weeds to eradicating noxious weeds. These weeds include Morning Glory, Canada Thistle, and Whitetop, all of which have been on the farm for many years, but that only toxic chemicals will eradicate. Continue reading
From the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund:
“This June the trial of Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt and three other farmers for obstructing a police officer will resume. The charge stems from a 2015 raid of Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms where members of a food cooperative obtaining raw milk products and other foods from Schmidt stopped police from confiscating those foods.
The province of Ontario and local government authorities have been prosecuting Schmidt since 1994 for distributing raw milk, spending millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money in the process. The sale and distribution of raw milk have remained illegal throughout this entire time in all Canadian provinces. It’s interesting to contrast the provinces’ refusal to change laws on raw milk sales with legal developments in the U.S. over the past 23 years.
While provincial and local governments have been wasting millions of dollars since 1994 in prosecuting Schmidt, 16 states in the U.S. have either legalized the sale and/or distribution of raw milk or increased access to it through changes in statute, regulation, or policy. The states are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Continue reading