In spite of the massive public profile Michael has gained over the past twenty years he has been advocating for raw milk and the freedom to choose it, the raw milk access issue in Ontario is much bigger than Michael Schmidt.
And The Bovine’s change of masthead picture reflects that reality. The young woman in the new cover picture is milking a cow in a jurisdiction where anyone can buy raw milk in a store, just like they would buy any other kind of milk. By the way, that’s in California, where Mark McAfee farms (though this picture is not from his farm).
Of course, the fact that this woman is clearly milking the cow by hand should be your first clue that this is not a commercial operation. Yes, this is taking place on a real farm which provides food (vegetables) for other people, but the cow and the milk are just for those who live on the farm and share in the work. Continue reading →
“Persons” whose status as persons is purely legal (ie corporations) on the other hand may very well be in favour of this. But we elect our representatives to represent the living, breathing and eating kind of people. Thanks to the Green Party of Canada for warning us about this bill. From their news release:
OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is concerned that Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, which was debated for the first time on Monday, will actually restrict farmer’s ability to grow crops in Canada.
By forcing a stricter regime of intellectual property into the growing process in the form of Plant Breeders’ Rights, this bill will restrict the ability of farmers to engage in the age-old practices of saving, storing, cleaning, and treating their own seed.
“At a time when farmers are struggling, what this bill gives with the right hand is only a small piece of what it takes away with the left. It installs a very limited farmer’s privilege to store one year’s worth of seed only after taking away the currently implicit farmer’s privilege to store as much seed as they see fit,” explained Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands. Continue reading →
From farmer Joel Salatin, August 18, 2013, via the Polyface Farm FB page:
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Photo: USDAgov/Flickr
Why do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind USDA policy? In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe. I did and still do consider it a distinct honor for his staff to invite me as one of the 25 dignitaries in Virginia Agriculture for this think-tank session in Richmond. Continue reading →
Some people like to buy their food direct from the farmers who grow it. Click image for source.
“This would seem to embody the USDA’s advisory, “Know your farmer, know your food,” right? Not exactly.
For the USDA and its sister food regulator, the FDA, there’s a problem: many of the farmers are distributing the food via private contracts like herd shares and leasing arrangements, which fall outside the regulatory system of state and local retail licenses and inspections that govern public food sales.
In response, federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences. Food sold by unlicensed and uninspected farmers is potentially dangerous say the regulators, since it can carry pathogens like salmonella, campylobacter, and E.coli O157:H7, leading to mild or even serious illness. Continue reading →
Nothing specifically to do with raw milk, but it sure does make for some dramatic looking pictures! Story from Agri 007 blog:
Farmers spray milk at riot police in Brussels, pic via Fox News.
BRUSSELS – Dairy farmers sprayed thousands of litres of fresh milk at the European Parliament in Brussels to protest excessive milk quotas and prices below the cost of production, reports Reuters news agency. Continue reading →
Steve and Marylou are Ontario Farmers and members of the CowShare Canada Program..and are supported by their CowShare members, Michael Schmidt and Bill Squire, spokesman for the Chiefs of the Mohawk Nation in attendance. Alliances between farmers groups and concerned citizen’s groups are growing out of the need for all people to stand together for our collective ‘RIGHT TO CHOOSE’ food and other natural traditions.
“Last May, Sen. Rand Paul proposed an amendment to a spending bill for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce the agency’s police powers. He was especially concerned about “sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow.”
He added, “Some of you might be surprised the FDA is armed. Well, you shouldn’t be.”
Sen. Paul’s proposal (which was roundly defeated, with 15 Senators in favor) prompted a Sarah Lawrence College student, Will Duffield, to file a request under the federal Freedom on Information Act, seeking, “Itemized records of all firearms and destructive devices (as defined in 26 USC § 5845) possessed by the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, all records pursuant to the acquisition, maintenance, and deployment of said weapons is requested.” Continue reading →
“In late July, investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor visited three blueberry farms in Marion County and announced finding “widespread” record-keeping and minimum wage violations at each.
Farm labor law investigations are often contentious, especially involving fruit pickers working on a “piece rate” basis rather than an hourly wage. But these cases took an unusual turn as the labor department’s Wage and Hour Division staff in Portland dropped the hammer. Continue reading →
“Eric and Joanna Reuter believe a state and local health department bias against raw dairy products is partly to blame for those agencies initially linking raw dairy to an E. coli outbreak.
The couple, owners of Chert Hollow Farm in northern Boone County, said health departments have rushed to judgment in the past, and they cite examples of small farms forced to go out of business or destroy large volumes of food as a result of “health scares.”
“There’s no mechanism for fighting back,” Eric Reuter said. Small farms stand to lose sales and their reputations because of “raw milk paranoia,” he said, but that’s not the case for health departments. Continue reading →
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 →
"Bernard is right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything."
-- Louis Pasteur's deathbed words
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all'." (Martin Luther King - Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)