Michael Schmidt (and others) have been involved in advocating for access to raw milk from cows for human consumption for 25 years They've been after him for 23 years. He has been in and out of courtrooms and had more than one raid on the farm in Ontario, Canada. Michael is a dairy farmer whose Glencolton Farms, is at the centre of a 200 membership co-op called "Our Farms, Our Foods". The members have joint-ownership. It a setup called a farm-share which is increasingly adopted around the world by members of a group, for the benefit of the group. The members hold joint-ownership in order to access raw, unpasteurised milk. It is this setup that is in dispute by the provincial government who do not think it is a legal operation. Michael says they structured the operation based on the court rulings from the past in order to satisfy courts but the enforcement agencies still not not share their views and want to shut them down. The authorities are going on the premise that they are breaking the law.
This co-op and the valuable foods it provides are cherished by the community. It is a model of food freedom that the members would like to continue. Please take the time and watch the two videos by these beautiful people Markus Schmidt and Elisa van der Hout. They describe the family's love of farming, their values and passion to provide what they consider real, healthy food for their community and also how they feel about the upcoming hearing at the end of May.
Raw milk experience vs Raw milk denial
Michael (and his family) have been in and out of courtrooms and defended themselves on numerous occasions. It must be very tiring and tedious for them to defend a product that is consumed all over the world by millions of people and regulated for human consumption in many countries. It seems Health departments and scientists are finding it increasingly difficult to deny that raw milk can be produced as a pathogen-free low-risk food for human consumption. In the video below Dr. Lynn admits that some dairies are run in a very clean manner compared to others. Yet many scientists still continue to make the same statement; that raw milk may potentially contain pathogens (bacteria that are harmful to human health).
All food, including raw milk has risk attached to it, but that risk is not the same for all raw milk (more). Raw milk produced with the expectation that it will be pasteurised may in some cases have a high risk of containing pathogens and therefore have to be pasteurised to be considered safe.
Perhaps the biggest denial seen is that there is an unwillingness or inability to grasp the vital distinction between milk from a small herd, where raw milk is produced exclusively to be sold in the raw state, and what many call "factory milk".
According to this article by Canadian lawyer Karen Selick, the past decade have produced three major studies involving approximately 24,000 children showing that drinking raw milk in childhood results in a 41% lower risk of asthma, a 49% lower risk of hay fever and a 30% lower risk of respiratory infections and fever.
Karen says that Canadian authorities allege that drinking raw milk can be dangerous, even fatal, but so can asthma and respiratory infections.
In her article she notes that The Asthma Society of Canada estimates that 20 children and 500 adults die from asthma attacks every year.
Karen says in 25 years none of the raw milk consumers drinking raw milk produced by Glencolton Farm have died or gotten sick.
In the next video Michael say that all he wants to do is milk his cows and provide the families with good healthy food. He does not want to fight but he is put in the position in order for the farm to continue to operate.
At the end of May, raw milk supporters from Ontario, Canada will be going back to court for an injunction hearing. According to Michael, they will have no lawyers with them because the judge did not allow adjournment for their new lawyers to prepare arguments. They hope thousands of people will show up in support of what Markus describes as a turning point one way or another.
According to Liz Reitzig:
The Canadian Government is gearing up to criminalize raw milk consumption!
Show up to court on May 29-30 at 9:00am. This hearing is the most crucial one in the 23 years of the raw milk battle in Ontario. It goes to the core of food rights.
Show up in court on May 29-30, 2017 9:00am to send a clear message that Canadians care about food rights. (If you are unable to make it due to geography or logistics, please share this message far and wide) The courthouse is located at 50 Eagle Street Newmarket Ontario. Donate to help cover ongoing court costs.
In October 2015, Glencolton Farm was raided for the third time. During this raid, several farm owners stood in defense of their right to farm and have access to their foods.
Subsequent to that raid, two legal actions were carried out: several of the farm owners were charged with obstructing a police officer. And York Region and Ontario both issued motions for a permanent injunction against processing and distribution of raw milk. If the courts grant the motions, all forms of raw milk processing, distribution, advocacy, or support will be criminalized.
Farmers and others involved in production and distribution would face criminal charges. For the first time, criminal charges would extend to parents and other advocates even if they are not involved in raw milk production. This hearing is the most crucial one in the 23 years of the raw milk battle in Ontario
We must show our solidarity and support for Glencolton Farms and all the Canadian raw milk producers and those who depend on the products from these farms.