By Sally Fallon Morell
As in California and elsewhere, raw milk has been in the crosshairs in Minnesota for the last couple of years. But raw milk drinkers and food freedom supporters aren’t taking it.
Led by the Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project (MNHLRP), a successful grass-roots health freedom group, Raw Milk Access Bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature in 2011. HF 255 in the House and SF 147 in the Senate would allow Minnesota farmers to deliver raw milk and raw milk products to their customers. There was an information-only hearing on the bill in the House but no hearing in the Senate. Because there were no votes on the bill, it is still alive for the 2012 session.
Currently, buying and selling raw milk is legal in Minnesota, but only on the farm. If you live in the city, you must drive to the farm to get your milk, which could take an hour and a half to drive one way. This is essentially a transportation bill, allowing reasonable delivery options for an already legal food. It is about farmers bringing their food to their customers, much like vegetable CSAs.
Raw milk supporters packed the info-only hearing with about two hundred adults and children, an unheard-of turnout for a committee meeting. But that was just the starting point and we need to step up our efforts. We know there are more raw milk drinkers out there and many others who support their friends’ and neighbors’ right to have better access to raw milk.
Readers in Minnesota: We need you to keep contacting your legislators and the governor to let them know how important this bill is to you and your family. And if you know someone who lives in Minnesota, please urge them to do so. The more people who act, the better. For each person who contacts them, legislators know there is another thousand who feel the same but haven’t contacted them.
On the surface, this may seem like a bill for city folks. If you live near a raw dairy farmer, you probably have no issue with driving the ten miles or so to get to the farm. However, keep in mind that while raw milk is the focus now, next it could be farm fresh eggs or grass-fed beef that health officials say can’t be delivered, so standing up for food freedom is critically important.
Visit www.MNHLRP.org and click on “Raw Milk Access” for talking and writing points and information on how to host a gathering for your elected officials. MNHLRP is available to help you meet with your legislators. Contact them at 651-647-9908 and they will help you. Be sure to sign up online for e-mail updates on the bill.