There are some things in the world that are so basic, it is hard to imagine they need to be stated, much less fought for. Air to breathe, water to drink, time to sleep and food to eat are the most basic. The unfortunate thing is, throughout history greedy, unscrupulous people have found that control of the basics is the best way to manipulate people. When I returned to North America in 2006, I had finally realized there is no where to run and hide to get away from the toxic industrial food system anymore. At that time I came across both the Michael Schmidt case, when his farm was raided by fully armed “authorities” as well as activist Derrick Jensen, through his book “A Language Older Than Words.” I had no idea at the time, that I would be moving to Vancouver, joining a cow share and that Michael Schmidt would become my Agister.
Now, 5 years later, Michael is on a hunger strike, protesting the insanity of this partnership between corporations and government. Big Industry is doing it’s best to close the door on our last legal way to access raw milk in Canada. They are barreling full steam ahead to their ‘final solution’ for ‘free trade’ and ‘health safety’. Earlier this year they snuck in place their bills in both the US and Canada in the middle of the night on Christmas to give themselves the ‘legal’ authority to clamp down on any remaining resistance. Now, I know maybe it wasn’t exactly Christmas day, maybe it was New Years–I’m not so hot with dates, but the point remains the same. They tried for years to pass these laws and were shut down every time (I’ve seen this happen in US, NZ and Canada). They kept on trying until finally they had to do it when everyone was completely distracted. Fortunately for us, it seems what Michael Schmidt said about these legal antics–that they only serve to undermine the very system they are using to legitimize, is true. With the #occupy movements taking to the streets we will see the true depths of their illegitimacy.
The mockery Government is making of the courts by trying to insinuate their “genuine concerns” about the safety for the people is astounding. I begin to look at the courts nature as a chess game of legal procedures which might bring down the very nature of its function. Michael Schmidt: Are the courts failing us????? Jan 15 2011
I just want to say here that I love Vancouver, BC where we now live. I have lived all over the world, from Papua New Guinea to New York to New Zealand and I am very impressed with Vancouver, the city planning, lovely gardens, the access to food from all over the world and the intelligent people who live here. That is actually the main reason I am getting so vocal about this issue. I have no where else to go, I need to be able to have the ability to put into my body what I have consciously chosen, through years of research and personal experience.
The stupidest thing about this whole issue is that it is really a waste of time and money for everyone concerned. I would really like to know exactly how much Michael and the other cowshares have had to spend on these legal battles, and how much the taxpayers have had to spend. It really pisses me off when I stop to think about what we could have done and be doing with that money and time. Perhaps we could be working on ways to have even the poorest and most unhealthy of our people find ways to regain health through good food. Perhaps we would have already shut down all the nuclear reactors, put a stop to the weapons manufactures, cleaned up all of the toxic messes we’ve created all over the world with Agent Orange or other disastrous chemicals Monsanto has invented, come up with a new system of exchange…decided to tear down all the billboards and paint murals instead….
But that’s the thing…I’ve studied wars, genocides, history, colonialism and economics for long enough to know that the first things the oppressors do is to remove the stable food system. What has consistently been the best way to do this so far? Kill all the edible wildlife. We hear of how we wiped out the buffalo, the great auk, in Vietnam we sprayed Agent Orange all over the foliage, in the years after the Vietnamese war there was no rice, people ate sweet potatoes if they could get them. By removing food, people are not only hungry and desperate, but they become increasingly unhealthy and unable to make good decisions, their immune systems cannot defend the body against any pathological yeast, virus, or bacteria that comes along.
It is clear, when looking at this history, that this push to eliminate access to raw milk is just the latest, more ‘sanitized’ version of this same genocidal technique. Interestingly enough, it was the dirty distillery dairies of New York that resulted in the creation of our modern industrial food system. When pasteurization was brought in as a bandaid to cover-up the inhumane and disgusting conditions of these urban dairies, it also allowed for milk to be produced much more cheaply. We now see this system of mass producing cheap, dirty food in every corner of the Big Food Industry. Oftentimes, the consumer doesn’t even get a discount on his ‘food’ the money goes straight into the pockets of the ‘efficient’ food manufacturer, or the chemical companies that create the toxins to pour onto our food in the form of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
Big Food loves to try to spin the raw milk movement as if it were a bunch of nutty fundamental Christians who are just being difficult, crazy, backwards and stubborn. They know that if they can get this legal precedent set it will be easy to make other laws about what we can and can’t eat. They will have carte blanche to tighten control of other aspects of the food system. For folks in the mainstream who have grown up with stories of Pasteur’s great discovery and how we are now free from all kinds of disease, infection and death from our brilliant pasteurization techniques, our struggle is a non-issue. It is hard to express to folks with these types of blinders on how this issue is a linchpin– one of those so-called slippery slopes the corporations love so much. We already see restrictions on herbal remedies and who knows what else they’ve got up their sleeves.
Well enough of my analysis of the situation, the question is what can we do? Each of us has our own things that we are best at and groups that we are connected with and I believe that we need to use every tactic we have available to us, some of us might be better with art, drama, humor or with corporate types or with activism so please reach into your heart and see what you would love to see happen, I am happy to help promote anything related to this issue. Here are some things other people are doing which you can get involved in:
- As I mentioned earlier Michael Schmidt is currently on a hunger strike and many people have joined him.
- You can also donate to the Canadian Constitution Foundation which is fighting our battle in the courts.
- Margo McIntosh of Balance Your Apple has put together 7 steps you can take to put pressure on your representatives, which includes sending handwritten letters to your provinces Minister of Agriculture, MP and to Health Canada.
- Promote and join in the Food Freedom Rallies that are taking place across Canada on November 23rd 2011.
- Sign this petition to legalize sales of raw milk in Ontario. We also need to do one for all of Canada/North America if there isn’t one already.
- Do I even need to say this? Get involved in the #occupy movement! We need to fight these corporations, not take it lying down anymore, we’ve tried that for long enough
- Make your own video testimonial in which you drink a glass of raw milk. It can be just drinking the milk, it can be talking about why you drink raw milk–it’s up to you. Please send me a link so we can collect them to post all in one place.
- Spread the word about the benefits of raw milk. I know many of us may keep quiet about our love for this pure white goodness at our work-places or around the town because people really can react in very strange and even violent ways towards the idea of drinking raw milk, but it is time to get the word on the street. Talk about it non-stop until people have to stop and listen, talk about it so passionately that people can’t help but getting involved. I think someone in Ontario was making t-shirts, we can try to track that down, but we need to become walking billboards just constantly letting people know that raw milk is healthy, people love it and we are making an informed choice in drinking it. Start your own blog, get on twitter and facebook and make some noise! Social media is great as it amplifies and connects movements on the ground.
- Get informed. If you are informed get more informed! The reality just keeps on unraveling. We are falling down the rabbit hole and nothing we know is really true. Question everything. Examine the history of colonizing companies: Hudson Bay, East India Company and United Fruit Company are a good place to start. This was the first American Multinational Corporation and the things they did in South and Central America are very telling. The people who have been fighting this battle for the longest are the ones we need to go to now and learn from. The battle of the Mayan people in Chiapas and Guatamala is over this very same issue. The First Nations are the ones who have the best understanding of what we are dealing with and how to push back. I mentioned Derrick Jensen in my first paragraph–as he and many others say: the law and rules of the earth are much more ancient than our usurped legal system. I recommend watching the movie END:CIV and reading any of Derrick Jensen’s books.
- Last but not least. If you don’t know anything about why anyone would drink raw milk do some research for yourself and make your own decisions. Although I feel this movement is important just from the standpoint that I should be able to decide for myself what I eat, it is also about raw milk. There is overwhelming proof that drinking your milk raw is much better for you than the altered pasteurized milk. I have experienced this personally myself. We don’t need to have asthma, allergies, bad teeth, mood swings, lethargy or a host of other industrial health problems.
Video of the 2006 armed raid on Glencolton Farms (Michael Schmidt’s farm):