eating-what-we-choose

Raw Milk Public Interest Soars As Politics Escalate

As Trial Nears for One Farm, the Supporters Take Action on Raw Milk Public Interest 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.

Elisa Vander Hout, spokesperson for Agricultural Renewal Coop, says that “In response to the court action instigated by various health units and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, mothers, fathers, pastors and other interested parties, have filed over 70 affidavits with the court to show the public interest in this case,” claiming, “it is not as simple as the crown implies.”

“These court proceedings give the public a voice. The message is loud and clear: people want access to the foods of their choice and demand respect for that. Canadians don’t want the government conducting armed raids on innocent, peaceful farmers to take away food choice,” Elisa adds.

On September 20, 2016, a petition was presented to the House of Commons to change the policy on raw milk. The government will review the petition, and issue a response to the 5000+ public supporters who signed it. The petition was in the top 20 ever for the official petition site.

Petition creator Cory Harris says “This petition represents a small sampling of Canadians interested in food choice and food security. Supporters have sent thousands of individually written letters to the Minister of Health asking the government to modernize their position.

Dozens of organizations representing millions of Canadians have signed a letter to Minister Jane Phillpott citing the science and research supporting our request. After 22 years of requesting progress on the raw milk issue, we expect to see constructive dialogue and change.”

Our Farms, Our Foods Coop is a 200 member cooperative formed for the purpose of boarding personal cows with a responsible dairyman. The group is just one of the many interested stakeholders in the petition to the Canadian Parliament. For additional information on raw milk www.realmilk.com

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Urgent Update on Glencolton Farms

To survive the government harassment, Michael and Elisa of Glencolton Farms make an urgent appeal for legal defense funds.

Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt on food freedom

Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt on food freedom

As the Canadian government continues their targeted harassment of Michael Schmidt, farmer at Glencolton Farms, the legal cases continue through the Canadian court system. Michael Schmidt’s 23 year-battle with the Canadian government has entered a new chapter. This time, the Canadian government has taken a new approach by targeting all consumers of raw milk in addition to the farmers.

 

 

Agents harass Michael and Elisa and other farm owners while raiding Glencolton Farms

In this video, that is sure to make your blood boil, Canadian agents threaten peaceful farmers while farm co-owners express their opinions in October of 2015.

Current Court Battles

In February of 2016, the Provincial government filed an application for injunction against Michael Schmidt, his wife and son and, for the first time, all the herdshare members or anyone involved in distribution including property owners who allow their space to be used as a drop site for Glencolton Farms.

At a past court hearing on March 16, 2016, the court set a date in September for the final hearing on the applications. Since that time, Michael and attorneys for the coop have successfully argued for a separate hearing on the motion to have a jury trial. It is unlikely that this case will be heard as soon as September. Whether it happens sooner or later, Michael Schmidt and the Canadian people need your support to continue this fight and to set a beneficial precedent.

Michael and Elisa recently sent out a message to their supporters reminding them that legal fees are necessary and should be shared by all with an interest in Glencolton Farms or raw milk from any source. Since this case will be watched throughout Canada and the US, it is imperative that those of us who care about food access and the farmers who feed us also take note and contribute where we can.

Letter from Michael and Elisa to supporters:

(For additional information and background on the case, the Bovine has comprehensive coverage of the cases and actions against food freedom related to Glencolton Farms.)

June 2016

Dear Supporters,

By now you must know that Government is very serious to shut down any attempts of people to make an informed choice about their milk, their food and their individual relationship to their farmer and farmer to their shareholders.

This battle is going on for me now over 22 years. I have been in and out of court so many times that it is impossible to even count. Endless nights are spent on formulating defence, filing papers, responding to new threats.

Our beloved farm has been the focus of at least 3 major raids with up to 25 armed officers.

I have fines of over 100 000 dollars hanging over my head, got a jail sentence in BC for helping a raw milk farm there.

We are now in our last round. There is so much at stake that we at Glencolton Farms might as well pack it in unless supporters of food freedom understand that we cannot do it alone.

We are willing to fight. But we are not willing to worry 24 hours a day how to pay the lawyer to defend that last action.

We keep shelving out money, some money comes in from some members and a trickle here and there from other farmers. That is NOT enough.

We are not able to continue this fight unless we know that everyone will do ALL you can to raise legal funds.

We don’t have the money either, but we have to keep paying and paying and paying out of our last resources.

We are asking all our supporters and all those who want food freedom to please step up:

10 dollars a week, or 50 dollars a month or 500 dollars in one shot.

Unless we raise these funds we will have absolutely no chance of succeeding.

So we might as well pack it in now put a for sale sign up and look back in 10 years how we have miserably failed to bring about positive change.

Thank you for your support. It is through a true community and through our efforts together that we will succeed. Please donate directly to our legal expenses here.

The time is now

Elisa and Michael

Note: if you are donating from the US, the exchange rate is currently to our advantage; your generosity will go further in Canada. Thank you

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Canadian Dairy Farmers See Support from Community

 

Canadian dairy farmers get support from comunity

Canadian dairy farmers get support from comunity Photo: David Pickett

This past week saw a notable celebration in Canada for Canadian dairy farmers in support of raw milk and food rights.

Hundreds of people gathered at the courthouse prior to a hearing on March 16 in support of Canadian dairy farmers. The rally and celebration of food rights was about an application for injunction that would ban Canadian dairy farmers or anyone else from distributing raw milk.

Several national media attended the event. Reported on “The Bovine” blog:

“The record turnout of raw milk consumers and supporters at today’s rally — an estimated 250-300 men, women and children — underlines just how unpopular such a move would be with the constituency that would be most affected by the proposed injunctions. The courthouse security police, who know Michael Schmidt from the many times he’s come to this courthouse before, told him that “every time you come here, there are more people”.

Durham-area farmer Michael Schmidt has been a lightning rod for raw milk issues in this province since 1994, largely because he has been very open in the way he operated.

On many occasions over the years Michael has sought various avenues to legalize the much-in-demand product, whose production and sale in the province remains largely underground. But the response to Michael’s overtures has not yet led to any improvement in raw milk’s legal status.

In his talk, Michael praised other raw milk farmers for also “coming out of the closet”. For instance, Michael was not the farmer who brought a cow to today’s event and milked it in front of the crowd. But even this could be just a tip of the black market iceberg.”

The article, “Massive Raw Milk Rally in Newmartket” continues on The Bovine site, describing other speakers at the fun event.

David Gumpert covers the event supporting Canadian dairy farmers in a similar vein. The “Big Demonstration” that David refers to alludes to the hundreds of people there. David goes on to explain the intricate and somewhat complicated court matters involved in the case.

“On this particular day, Schmidt brought about 300 people with him, the largest demonstration ever on his behalf. They were in good spirits, much more animated and outspoken in demand of their food rights than I’d ever seen before—radicalized might be the description that is beginning to apply.

It was a testimony to Schmidt and his cause that such a turnout materialized on a frigid and damp morning, since the actual court case is only in its infancy. The proceedings on Wednesday, which took about an hour, were devoted to scheduling future hearings and determining technical issues, like whether to combine two complaints against Schmidt—one from the York Region and another from the Ontario dairy director.

Or possibly people are simply becoming ever more outraged that the legal beat against Schmidt refuses to end, and has been renewed on entirely new grounds….after 22 years of farm raids and trials. I recalled in my talk to the crowd how the last time I was in Newmarket in January 2010, the legal assault against Schmidt was already 16 years old, and how that January day, he was acquitted by Judge Paul Kowarski. But because Canada doesn’t prohibit double jeopardy, like the U.S., Michael’s acquittal could be appealed and in effect, he was re-tried. The Ontario government jumped on the opportunity to keep the case alive, and found judges to overturn the acquittal.

Schmidt has ignored that conviction, and the fine that came with it, insisting he has done nothing wrong in providing milk to members of his herdshare. His persistence, together with his ongoing resistance, appears to have enraged Ontario officials and the dairy cartel they support, and so this latest legal case represents a new wrinkle in the seemingly endless legal entanglements thrust upon him.”

For the rest of the article, see David’s blog post on “Big Demonstration Buoys Michael Schmidt in Ontario’s Latest Raw Milk Case

For additional pictures of the event, attendee Dave Pickett shared his wonderful photos of the event.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt on food freedom

Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt on food freedom

Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt to Hold Peaceful Celebration of Food Freedom

Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt issued a media advisory alerting the media of the planned rally in celebration of food freedom. The rally and celebration is designed to bring awareness to the draconian measures against dairy farmers in Ontario. Full press release below.

MEDIA ADVISORY

CONTACT: Liz Reitzig 301-807-5063 liz@hartkepr.com Elisa Vander Hout 519-372-6570 arc@bmts.com

March 10, 2016

Mothers, Farmers Threatened With Arrest Over Milk

Farmers, Others Criminalized for Feeding Communities

Raw milk activist, Michael Schmidt, his wife, Elisa, his son, Marcus, and a church pastor are threatened with arrest if they do not immediately cease raw milk distribution. A peaceful protest supporting Michael will be held at the Ontario Court of Justice on March 16. The media is invited to witness the peaceful milk and cookies picnic celebration. The gathering will be followed by a court hearing to determine if an order will be issued to enforce the ban on distribution of raw milk in Ontario. Explicitly targeted by the application is anyone else, including mothers, who are engaged in ‘counseling others to….distribute unpasteurized milk.” 

SPEAKERS:  Michael Schmidt, Farmer; Liz Reitzig, Founder Nourishing Liberty; David Gumpert, Journalist, Author and raw milk expert; Elisa Vander Hout, Founder Our Farms, Our Food Coop

WHAT:  Protest, and celebration, by mothers and others in support of raw-dairy farmer Michael Schmidt, and the right to “voluntary exchange,” outside Ontario courthouse in Newmarket.

Recent swat-style raids and arrest warrants on small farmers have inspired mothers and other activists to take their message to the courthouse where they plan to risk criminal charges, and possibly jail, by gathering for a peaceful milk and cookies picnic.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 8:30a.m.

WHERE: Ontario Court of Justice, 50 Eagle Street West, Newmarket Ontario. Self-parking is available

WHY: The March 16 rally is in advance of a court hearing on issuing the injunctions, which could lead to jailing of ANYONE—farmers, moms, dads—who even encourage the distribution of raw milk.                 

OTHER SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

Local mothers sourcing raw milk for their families.

VISUALS: Cow being milked, crowds with signs, courthouse building, families with small children, children with raw milk and cookies, mothers, farmers distributing milk, law enforcement.

Mothers and farmers are available for interview prior to March 16th and at the rally.

For additional information on raw milk www.realmilk.com For additional information on this case read Raw Milk Trial In Canada. For additional background and to support farmer Michael Schmidt, visit their legal defense fund.

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Raw Milk In Canada Heats Up

Families will rally for raw milk in Canada at upcoming court hearing

If you want to see raw milk in Canada widely available, consider supporting this upcoming court case and rally. When people search for raw milk, usually sources abound. After all, it is available in most countries and all 50 states. Even in the places where it is difficult to find, there are still options. One might wonder why there is so much opposition to raw milk in Canada when there is strong support for raw milk in other parts of North America and Europe.

As reported on Nourishing Liberty, famous Canadian dairy farmer, Michael Schmidt, his wife, Elisa, and son, are named in an injunction to permanently cease distribution of raw milk in Canada, specifically, Ontario. Also targeted are the individual herdshare owners as “Jane Doe” and “John Doe.” These citizens who enjoy raw milk government is attempting to enjoin them for distribution or even recommending raw milk to others.

By implicating “Jane Doe” and “John Doe,” for the first time, the Canadian government is allowing it to pertain to anyone involved, including mothers. Canadian mothers are now explicitly threatened with arrest simply for participating in a herdshare. This is a new low, even for Canada, to hold raw milk trial in such a way.

As one raw milk proponent, Angela Kang, says, “What is safe raw milk to me? It is my direct, unadulterated connection to the Earth that feeds my family and me. It is as intimate of a relationship as my relationship with my God. We are supposed to be a country of peace and tolerance and acceptance. No government in a free country should interfere with this. I want raw milk in Canada.”

If you are anywhere near Canada, join the mothers, farmers and community at the food rights rally as they gather to celebrate the connection they have with their food.

Organizers of the rally say, “We envision farmers peacefully feeding their communities so we and future generations may be nurtured by the gifts of the land. And in turn nurture the earth through our inherent connections. The goal of this rally and celebration is to bring this vision to the front and stand empowered to proudly participate in our communities through peaceful food production and food distribution.”

Read more about the case on the Nourishing Liberty Blog, Raw Milk Trial In Canada

Michael Schmidt and his supporters are raising funds for their legal defense. Please contribute on the Michael Schmidt GoFundMe page.

If you would like to help spread the word, here is a Food Rights Rally Flyer with all the details.

Family Food Freedom Rally Family Food Freedom rally for raw milk in Canada

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Michael Schmidt Arrested for Removing Surveillance Equipment from His Farm

Michael Schmidt was arrested on October 19, 2015 on charges of criminal theft for allegedly removing surveillance equipment he found on his farm in August. After discovering the cameras, which had no identification on them, Schmidt removed them and contacted police to report their discovery and ask who they belong to.

Schmidt believes the cameras belong to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and were put there to spy on the happenings and visitors of his farm. He refused to turn them over to the police and, several weeks later, a summons was issued for his arrest. Schmidt was arrested and held overnight in jail on October 29th.

His arrest came on the heels of two back-to-back raids of his farm, which took place during the week of September 29th and ultimately ended in a tense standoff between local authorities and Schmidt supporters, who prevented authorities from leaving the farm with farm equipment and dairy products.

“I am convinced that these charges about the cameras are some sort of revenge,” Schmidt says. “After the investigator and the agents had to leave the farm without the equipment they seized on the October 2, 2015 raid, they want something to show for it.”

For now, the tension between Schmidt and authorities continues to build as his farm has pledged to continue to peacefully grow and produce food as it has always done.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

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Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt Targeted by Authorities – Again

Canadian authorities have again targeted dairy farmer Michael Schmidt in two separate raids during the week of September 29, 2015.

Schmidt has become well known throughout his more than 20-year fight with the Canadian government over his right to distribute raw milk to those eager for it. In recent years, Schmidt reconstituted his farm into a co-op with shareholders who hold joint-ownership of the farm and can therefore drink milk from their own cows.

On September 29, York Region health officials and police officers descended on a church parking lot where co-op members were meeting to pick up their farm products. The police obtained a search warrant for health department inspectors to search Schmidt’s van and take samples of the dairy products.

Then, on October 2, more than twenty local police and health officials arrived on Schmidt’s farm and began confiscating milk and dairy equipment. Schmidt put out a call for help and soon more than 50 local raw milk activists and supporters came to his aid, blocking the driveway so the regulators were not able to depart with the stolen goods. A dramatic standoff ensued, finally ending peacefully with authorities only able to take a couple of computers before the supporters assembled.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

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Canadian Government Wants Peaceful Farmers Imprisoned in Sheep Case

Raw milk celebrity farmer, Michael Schmidt, and Shepherdess Montana Jones, are threatened with potentially ten years in prison. According to its website, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is charging the farmers with a litany of violations related to thedisappearance of Jones’ herd of healthy, heritage breed Shropshire sheep in 2012.

The farmers’ crowdfunding page, set up by attorney and Canadian Constitution Foundation litigation director, Karen Selick, explains the details, including the need for immediate and continuing funding to keep these two peaceful, courageous farmers out of prison.

In addition to the CFIA ire over the disappearing sheep, various government agencies have attempted, for years, to prevent Michael Schmidt’s staunch support of raw milk and his continued persistence in supplying it to his community. According to Selick,

“Michael is a celebrity in the Real Food movement because of decades of activism aimed at legalizing the sale of raw milk. It’s reported that the CFIA desperately wants to put Michael in jail.”

This case could define the lives of two heroes of the real food movement. More importantly, it will define the movement: will outrageous and draconian criminal charges stick against peaceful farmers whose lives are dedicated to raising animals humanely? Or will the people come together in unity to stand with these farmers upon whom we all depend?

Please donate to the legal defense of Michael and Montana. And, once you have, as Karen requests, please ask others to do the same. Let us set a different precedent than the CFIA hopes to set and send the message that we value our dedicated farmers.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

 

 

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Overheard in a British Columbia Cheese Shop

Rumor has it that legislation to legalize raw milk is in the works in British Columbia. Though nothing is official yet, this tip comes to us from a customer of a high-end specialty cheese shop who heard from a reliable source with connections to the health department. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt Back in Court February 5, 2014

On February 5, 2014, Canadian dairy farmer Michael Schmidt will be back in court to appeal his 2011 conviction of charges stemming from the sale of raw milk. This February marks 20 years of his raw milk struggle.

On his blog, The Bovine, Schmidt notes that since he began his raw milk struggle against the Canadian government 20 years ago, there have been: 3 Popes in the Vatican; 3 U.S. presidents; 260,000 deaths directly related to smoking in Ontario alone; and 0 deaths due to raw milk.

“And raw milk still keeps flowing at Glencolton Farms, because the cows keep coming home in the morning and in the evening – the amazing reality of life,” he writes to his followers. “I have not counted the days in court, the amount of court papers and the money spent on defending our right for food of our choice. I just know that we WILL prevail.”

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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