Close to 300 raw milk consumers and supporters turned up at the Food Freedom Rally on the 16th of March 2016, to support the right to produce and distribute raw milk. This event again highlights how unpopular the latest criminalisation efforts of raw milk in Canada are.
In this audio interview Michael Schmidt says the support was incredible from the visibly upset community and despite the rally, there was no attempt by York Regional Police to shut it down. Michael have been to these courtrooms many times. The court security guard greeted him like an old friend saying each time Michael comes, he brings more people with him. When they went into the courthouse, there were too many people and the case had to be moved to a bigger room.
The Canadian government seek to ban all raw milk distribution, sharing or giving away to another person. In Canada selling raw milk is illegal but the province of Ontario does not ban the consumption of raw milk and farmers are allowed to drink it when produced by their own cows. The injunction application from York Region and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs would order a stop to all raw milk activities on Michael Schmidt's Glencolton Farms. It seems even advocating raw milk could become a criminal act under the new injunctions proposed by York Region Public Health and by the Crown.
Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt is seen as at the centre of this debate because for many years he has been seeking ways to legalise the popular product but now the community are rallying to protect access to their food. Other public figures who attended and spoke are American author of two raw milk books David Gumpert, American raw milk advocate from Maryland Liz Reitzig, cowshare spokesperson Mascha Perrone and Elisa van der Hout (wife of Michael Schmidt). Elisa said that she focusses less on what she believes are the health benefits of raw milk, and more on simply wanting the province to butt out of her digestive habits. “We’re not asking for it to be offered in grocery stores or be regulated in such a way. We’re just asking they let us alone, so we can go about our business of being able to drink the milk that God put on the planet for us.” Another farmer also brought and milked a cow in front of the courthouse and people enjoyed their milk and cookies.
For more information and details, read the articles at the bottom of this blogpost under Related Articles, view David Pickett's photo album of the rally here or listen to a short interview with Michael Schmidt here.