While we do our best, here at the Bovine, to cover the Canadian raw milk scene, along with other food politics and food rights stories, we don’t often get much news from Quebec. Now we’ve heard how fewer French people starved during the second world war because France was a nation of gardeners. And we know that Quebec has passed laws legalizing soft raw milk cheeses. That was a few years ago. The French heritage in Quebec no doubt helps people there maintain a stronger connection to the land and to food quality, than may be the case elsewhere. So it’s great to get this story, via Karen Selick, of a man who’s doing something in Quebec to stem the tide of industrialization, that threatens authentic and healthy farming everywhere:
From Dominc Lemontagne, via Karen Selick:
The Impossible Farm is a profitable homestead, about one percent the size of your average Québec farm, which has slowly been outlawed through years of legislative constrictions. It is, for example, 2 cows, 200 hens and 500 broiler chickens, grass-fed together on the range from early spring to late fall. It’s this small scale, plural agro-business, which manages it’s own slaughter, processing and marketing. In a nutshell, it is the beginning of a mom-and-pop’s driven regional revitalization effort that favors direct (and often local, farmers market driven) sales, thus promoting resilience rather than dependence.
From Lindsey Lusher Shute on TakePart.com:
Future local organic farmers of America? The 2012 crew at Lindsey Lusher Shute’s New York farm. (Photo: Hearty Roots Community Farm) via TakePart.com
“In the past year, the mainstream media featured more than a few stories critiquing America’s local and organic foods movement. The New York Times and others swallowed the findings of a Stanford study debating the value of organic foods hook, line and sinker; Time and Dr. Oz declared, “Organic food is great, it’s just not very democratic”; and NPR recently reported that growing local food doesn’t pay. Continue reading
From Evaggelos Vallianatos at Independent Science News:
Abandoned farmhouse, Washington. Photo: Homini
The plutocratic remaking of America has a parallel in the countryside. In rural America less than 3 percent of farmers make more than 63 percent of the money, including government subsidies.
The results of this emerging feudal economy are everywhere. Large areas of the United States are becoming impoverished farm towns with abandoned farmhouses and deserted land. More and more of the countryside has been devoted to massive factory farms and plantations. The consequences, though worse now than ever, have been there for all to see and feel, for decades. Continue reading
From the Midlife Farm Wife:
Midlife farm wife rings bell to trigger conditioned response.
“Yesterday we had some very unusual visitors, raw milk farmers like ourselves. But because they work very hard to stay under the same radar I am always swinging from dressed like a clown grabbing as much attention as I can, I will not share their names or their location. Continue reading
From Zeb Landon:
David Eagelson, chief investigator in the Shropshire case. Photo Michael Schmdt. See Michael’s story “Silence of the Lambs” (post below this one) describing David’s role in the ongoing investigation.
The disease that CFIA suspects Montana Jones’ sheep of carrying poses no threat to humans. Agriculture Canada is merely anxious to protect Canada’s export market for sheep, we are led to suppose. And the CFIA presumes the right to interfere in a farm, either because they genuinely believe there is a risk, or, which seems no less likely, simply because they feel bound to maintain a public image of absolute safety. Continue reading
American farmers who can’t afford to feed their animals because of drought related crop failures, are sending them to the slaughterhouse in record numbers.
The gradual collapse of the world as we know it is inspiring people to come with new ways to share value with each other in a more equitable way than seemed possible under the old system. In the article excerpted below from The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, Jon Henley describes how farmers and consumers in post-collapse Greece get together to meet each other’s needs without enriching the middle man:
From The Guardian, U.K. Click image to go there.
“There’s some dispute about where and when it all started, but Christos Kamenides, genial professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Thessaloniki, is pretty confident he and his students have made sure it’s not about to stop any time soon.
What’s sure is that the so-called potato movement, through which thousands of tonnes of potatoes and other agricultural produce – including, hopefully, next month, Easter lamb – are being sold directly to consumers by their producers, is taking off across Greece. Continue reading
From Edward Miller, on Civil Eats, where it’s titled “The Empire Strikes Back”:
“On December 2, 2011, two of Wall Street’s top lobby groups launched an assault on a newly reinstated “position limits” regulation, which aims to curb speculation in commodity futures markets–and a key factor behind rising food prices–in the first ever case brought against the Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC).
The two lobby groups, the Security Industry and Financial Markets Association and theInternational Swaps and Derivatives Association have challenged the extremely controversialposition limits rule, which the CFTC passed in a narrow 3-2 vote this October. Wall Street has recruited the lawfirm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, whose lawyers Miguel Estrada (among Bush’s counsel in Bush v. Gore) and Eugene Scalia (who overturned a Securities and Exchange Commission rule earlier this year) are determined to hold the scepter of market regulation at bay. Continue reading
“Montpelier – Rural Vermont has released its 2012 Report on raw milk production and sales. For the third year since the passage of Act 62, which enabled the direct sale of raw milk by farmers to consumers, Rural Vermont has presented an overview of how the law is working for farmers and the economic impact of raw milk sales.
The report was presented to the House Committee on Agriculture on January 24, 2012 and will be presented to the Senate Committee on Agriculture on Friday February 3, 2012. The report is available on the Rural Vermont website http://www.ruralvermont.org or by calling 802-223-7222.
The report is based on the results of surveys conducted by Rural Vermont, which reached 95 of the estimated 150 farms that are producing raw milk and selling it to consumers under the requirements of Act 62. The report provides an overview of how the law has been functioning, summarizes the data collected in the surveys and presents some recommendations for further adjustments to the law and the regulations. Continue reading