Seriously folks, if you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention! Your freedoms of food choice are being strangled by the government . . . slowly, and without you knowing. And raw milk is the avenue of choice.
Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen goes to court this month to defend his right and his neighbors rights to receive high-quality food, including raw milk, from a place other than a grocery store. In other words, local farmers providing local foods to a local community. How dare they! These criminals!
Raw Milk: My Personal Story
Before I get all high and mighty, let me explain what I used to refer to as my weekly “European morning”. After dropping my son at preschool, I would drive for almost an hour to pick up a gallon and a half of raw milk and fresh eggs. Because that was the law, if I wanted raw milk I had to go to the farm to pick it up. Delivery was against the law. On my drive back I would stop in a nearby town to pick up raw local creamery cheese. A bit further down the road and I would pick up whatever fish was brought over that morning from local fishermen. Then I’d take it all home. This isn’t quite as the Europeans do it since instead of walking to all my nearby shops I had to drive for a few hours each week. I know, not the most environmentally friendly way to get my food, but quality was my priority (and it was a HIGH priority for me).
Raw Milk & Cooperatives
Fast-forward to today, many small groups have created cooperatives to help busy people get this great quality, local, farm fresh foods (including raw milk) without spending half a day driving around. Personally, I’m very thankful. My life got a whole lot easier.
This “wiggle-room” is allowed by state and federal governments because it’s a private food supply and not a commercial business. But not all states love their local farmers and raw milk like here in Oregon. Which brings us back to this month’s court case of Alvin Schlangen.
To ease the burden on people who want raw milk (note: these people are voluntarily choosing to drink and use the raw milk) farmers have created the ability to purchase shares (leases) in the farm animals. You have private access and lawful ownership of these farm animals. A member pays the farmer for labor to milk the cow, manage the pasture, store the feed etc. Similar to any other community supported agriculture. With all the same risks if the cow doesn’t produce. The benefit to the consumer is access to 100% grass fed raw milk. The benefit to the farmer is assistance in maintaining the farm animals and money up front. Sounds even better than government subsidies to me. This a sustainable farming at its best. Many of these cooperatives have been able to assist other farmers by providing sources for local foods to their members as drop off sites.
Raw Milk & Alvin Schlangen
Alvin is a Minnesota farmer who also voluntarily managed one of these drop off sites for other farmers as well as raw milk, Freedom Farms Coop. Two years ago Minnesota Department of Agriculture brought armed police and closed his members-only warehouse. No warrant was given and they illegally trespassed on his private personal properly (remember Rawsome Foods in CA). Eight days later they arrived at his family farm with a warrant alleging he was engaged in retail food handling.
A year later there was another encounter, again with armed police while Alvin was delivering eggs. After visual inspection a warrant for search was requested, and the private food club member’s food seized. This raid occurred to his van and was used to get another warrant to search his private space at the warehouse where another raid occurred, removing all food and raw milk.
Due to all this he is going to court this month to defend his right to supply quality farm foods to his member’s only community. I honor him for also defending our right of autonomy to choose our own foods. If convicted, Alvin could face hefty fines or up to a year in prison.
Raw Milk and Statutes
I understand we have commercial food handling statutes (although I question their benefit since we still end up with various outbreaks each year). But, these statutes don’t pertain to private food supplies. I want to be able to pick up my eggs from a neighbor, or my chicken, beef, raw milk, etc. and right now I do. I’m not interested in getting my milk from a cow that’s locked away, standing in it’s own feces, being fed grain that the government subsidizes and shot full of antibiotics because it’s not living or eating like a cow and then it’s natural product placed in a plastic container after having been pasteurized, synthetic vitamins added and stuck on a Walmart shelf for who knows how long. That isn’t food I want to ingest or give to my family. It’s not natural and it’s not raw milk. I want to see my cow moving around an open field in the sunshine, chomping on fresh grass, loving their life as much as I love mine.
I believe that if our Founding Fathers had ever thought agri-business would make it illegal to get food and raw milk from our neighbors they would have guaranteed us the right to choose our own foods. Because right now, we’re losing that right. The big business is dictating what you can and can’t eat, and the government is supporting these dictations with armed police. When will you stand up for your right before it disappears? Because folks, this isn’t just about raw milk anymore . . .
This is a quick video about Alvin, the raids, and why he chooses to stand his ground. It’s a five minute horror film.