Op-Ed: How Raw Milk Advocates Can Build Momentum for Social Change

Creating social change requires hard work, dedication and lots of time; often it takes decades of outcry before others start to pay attention, and years for momentum to build before there is a spark that can sweep a nation with change like wildfire. A cultural shift happens slowly, almost imperceptibly prepping the stage for this sweeping change. But then, seemingly all at once, things have shifted and what used to be a perception or practice hailed by the few becomes adopted by many.

The question is, are there things advocates can do to build momentum more rapidly and increase their chances of sparking this change? Momentum of any cause seems to really pick up speed when the cause gains support from those who aren’t perceived to directly benefit from the change: for example, when men began to champion for women’s rights.

For raw milk advocates, this means garnering the support of non-raw milk drinkers. To appeal to the mainstream, we can’t isolate ourselves from the mainstream with divisive rhetoric or stories that sound like conspiracy theories. We need to frame this issue like a basic human right – the right to access food from the earth – and a basic freedom – the freedom to choose for ourselves which of earth’s foods we eat.

We have already seen several raw milk leaders taking this approach and doing it successfully, with more legislative “food freedom” bills up for consideration in several states across the nation. Continuing to do so will surely help us build momentum for this raw milk movement.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Raw Milk Sales Still Illegal in Montana

For a short moment, raw milk advocates in Montana thought they might have a chance at legally obtaining it from local producers. Sadly, this optimism was short lived, as the Montana State Senate rejected a bill that would have allowed owners of small herds of cows, goats or sheep to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products directly to consumers.

The Senate had a lengthy and heated debate about whether the heart of this issue came down to personal freedom or protecting public health. Eventually, the Senate deadlocked in a tie vote 25-25 and then voted to indefinitely postpone the bill. A later vote to revive the measure failed 23-25. Read more about the Montana raw milk debate here.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Highlights from an Interview with David Gumpert

Book Cover black frameIn mid-April, raw milk activist and author David Gumpert gave an interview to the Mountain Xpress in advance of a presentation and book signing about raw milk and our food system. Gumpert recently finished a successful crowdfunding campaign for a new book, The Raw Milk Answer Book.

In the interview, Gumpert discusses how he got interested in raw milk in the first place, as well as offering his opinion about why there is such much hostility towards raw milk today: “I think there are two reasons. One is historical. We did have a serious problem with raw dairy back in the 1800s and early 1900s…The diseases then were much more dangerous and often fatal – things like typhoid and tuberculosis. The diseases you can get from raw milk today are the diseases you can get from any other food…The second reason is economic.”

He also shared tips for people who want to find safe sources of raw milk and whether he thinks raw milk will be more or less accepted in the future. Read more via Mountain Xpress.

David Gumpert’s new book The Raw Milk Answer Book is now available! Support @westonaprice by buying it with this affiliate link.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Judge Rejects Final Approval of Dean Foods Settlement

In July 2014, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and its marketing branch Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) settled a five-year class-action lawsuit that alleged the organizations conspired with Dean Foods to manipulate unpasteurized milk prices in the Northeast, forcing farmers to join DFA or market through DMS. As part of the settlement, DFA and DMS agreed to pay $50 million to farmers affected by their manipulation.

However, a federal judge has denied final approval of the settlement, which would have worked out to an average of $4,000 paid to each of the more than 7,000 dairy farmers, in part due to the dismayed reactions of dairy farmers to the settlement. The judge said, “the financial compensation of approximately $4,000 per dairy farm was characterized as ‘functionally irrelevant,’ as it reflects the cost of one ‘tractor tire.’” (Burlington Free Press).

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Maine Raw Milk Bill Changes Still in Committee

A Maine bill that would allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers on the farm without a license is undergoing changes in committee before going to the House of Representatives for a vote.

Representative William Noon, who sponsored the bill, said that the bill needs to be refined in the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, but did not say when he expected the bill to go to vote. This is one of several food freedom bills the Maine State Legislature is considering in 2015.

Maine dairy farmers are divided on these bills, and not all of them believe that producers should be allowed to sell raw milk to consumers without a license. Read about some of the clashing perspectives via Concord Monitor.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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