The latest from that Michael Schmidt:
The latest from that Michael Schmidt:
Once again, food rights are on trial in the province of Ontario. Ontario’s Milk Director and York Public Health are asking the court to criminalize the production and distribution and advocating of raw milk.
Previously these had been merely regulatory offenses and advocating had not been an offense at all — merely the exercise of freedom of speech. If the requested injunctions are granted they will become criminal offenses, and those convicted of them will have a criminal record. We’re talking distributing or advocating for raw milk. Does that sound like the Canada you know and love?
Seventy members of the Our Farm Our Food Co-op (the latest incarnation of the farmshare organization of families who organize to help make it possible for raw milk to be produced at Glencolton Farms) have signed affidavits to be presented in court, attesting to the importance of raw milk in their lives.
Those affidavits are in support of a request to the court from the Our Farm Our Food Coop to be granted intervener status in the proceedings. Parties named in the proposed injunctions include Michael Schmidt, the Agricultural Renewal Coop (a workers coop of people who run the farm) and the Christian Community Church (where the milk has been distributed in Thornhill) as well as any John or Jane Doe who deals in raw milk, transports it, or advocates it.
There will be a motion before the Court — The Ontario Superior Court of Justice at 50 Eagle St. in Newmarket, right across from the Town Hall — to convert the application for approval of the injunctions, to an action. If that motion is granted, it would mean that the case could be heard by a jury rather than by a judge.
Michael Schmidt is asking people to demonstrate to the Court that this is a matter of public interest by showing up in Court and witnessing the proceedings, which will take place between 8:30 am and 4 pm this coming Monday Sept. 26th and Tuesday Sept. 27th.
As Trial Nears for One Farm, the Supporters Take Action on Raw Milk Policy and Access
Toronto, Canada– September 23, 2016—Raw milk itself is on trial, say supporters, at a Monday September 26, two-day hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice. The past year has seen an unprecedented rise in consumer awareness, demand, and action to obtain this food. Raw milk drinkers cite a number of reasons for drinking raw milk from health reasons and taste, to political. For some immigrants, raw milk is a staple food in their native country.
The Ministry of Health does not think anyone should be able to access raw milk or drinking the beverage. The hearing will be held in the court building at 50 Eagle Street, West, Newmarket, Ontario.
In January of this year, York Region, The Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry Health filed an application to get an injunction against the distribution or sale of raw milk against Michael Schmidt, Elisa Vander Hout, Glencolton Farms, Agricultural Renewal Coop and anyone who provides, distributes or recommends raw milk. The hearing is to determine if the applications can be converted into an action. If successful, this would change the dynamics of the procedure from a hearing to a proper trial. People interested in procuring raw milk want this case to appear before a jury. Our Farm, Our Food Coop, one of the many organizations in support of consumer choice, has filed a motion to intervene as an added party to the proceedings, which would give all members a voice to defend their right to the foods of their choice. Continue reading
The following message was circulated today to the farmshare community around Michael Schmidt and Glencolton Farms:
“We need your quiet presence in court on Monday, September 26 and Tuesday September 27, 2016
Michael Schmidt, Agricultural Renewal Coop, mothers, fathers, pastors and anyone involved in fresh milk production or consumption is threatened with arrest if they continue to provide raw milk or even encourage others to provide raw milk. The court proceedings are giving us a voice and we need YOU to stand with us. With 70 affidavits from farm owners, Michael and the attorneys are making the argument that this is a case of public interest. We need you there to help prove it!
Background: York Region put in a motion for permanent injunction against distribution of raw milk. There is a motion in front of the court right now to have the application from York region to converted from an application to an action. This would change the dynamics of the procedure from a hearing before a judge to a trial before a jury. We want this case to appear before a jury.
ACTION: Show the courts this is a case of public interest! Join us in peaceful presence as we witness court proceedings against Michael Schmidt, his family, the entire herdshare and food freedom itself. Your presence is the strongest message we can send.
WHEN: Monday, September 26 and Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 8:30a.m.-4:00pm each day
WHERE: Ontario Court of Justice, 50 Eagle Street West, Newmarket Ontario. Self-parking is available”
Thousands of petition signers urge parliament to modernize milk laws
Toronto, Ontario—A group of Canadians are hoping for a Health Canada policy change for raw milk. A Parliament e-petition in favour of changes to Health Canada’s raw milk policy has already gathered over 4,000 signatures. The petition, sponsored by Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Miller, ends on August 11, 2016.
As many Canadians return to natural and local foods, a growing number of fresh food enthusiasts want their milk produced on a small-scale from local farms. This natural, raw milk, that people have been consuming for thousands of years, is actually illegal in Canada—something that the petition creator, Cory Harris, is working to change.
“I started this petition so Canadians can have the freedom of choice to access natural foods from farmers we know. Currently, not only is it illegal to buy raw milk from a farmer, it is even illegal for me to own a cow and board it at a farm,” says Harris. “I don’t like to see the government send raids and swat teams out to farms over milk. It is time to see this policy modernized and see Canada welcome a new and more collaborative, farmer and consumer-friendly model for raw milk alongside the existing system.” Continue reading
Since 2006, efforts to suppress raw milk initiatives in both Canada and the U.S. have seemingly moved in lock-step. The 2006 raid at Michael Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms was echoed by a similar style of crackdown on herd share farmers south of the border.
Even in States like California, where raw milk was and is already legal, it has been the target of far more than its share of regulatory attention in recent years.
Here in Canada we had the case of a meat packing company which killed several people a few years ago, and yet much more enforcement resources seem to have been directed towards raw milk, which has killed no one and is of lower risk than many other common foods.
One wonders who it is that doesn’t like raw milk, and why. Here in Ontario, one might imagine that the so-called “Dairy Farmers of Ontario” have had something to do with all the naysaying.
Perhaps they feel that raw milk is incompatible with, or a threat to, the supply management system that underpins the value of their milk quota, and the security of their livelihood. Continue reading