January 2012

I obtained a text of Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger's full statement to the judge in criminal court on Friday. It explains more clearly how he realized he erred by signing a bail agreement to discontinue supplying his food club, and where he is headed on his voyage, than the one quote I had in my comment following the previous post. Here it is:

Whatever happened to the Rawesome Three (James Stewart, Sharon Palmer, Victoria Bloch)?

Whatever happened to the felony case against the Rawesome Three?

Whatever happened to Rawesome Food Club?

There are any number of reasons why the negotiations over herdshares taking place in California—between owners of small dairies and the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture-- over the last few months should not work.

Many tiny dairies dispensing raw goat’s or cow’s milk through such operations feel as a matter of principle that they shouldn’t have to negotiate a right that is already theirs—the right to contract with neighbors and friends for milk and other dairy and food products.

The fear-mongering echo chamber that is the Internet's food safety arena is abuzz with news about a Massachusetts raw milk drinker who contracted brucellosis.

The California Department of Public Health has genetically matched E.coli 0157:H7 that sickened five children, ages one to five years old, with water and manure samples taken from a calf holding area at Organic Pastures Dairy Co.  

The unsettling news about questionable factory foods just keeps coming.

A few days ago, it was Coca Cola saying it found a fungicide in orange juice it produces in Brazil for sale in the U.S.

A few days before that, the USDA was proposing to approve GMO corn that will be based in part on the herbicide of Vietnam War fame, Agent Orange.

I've had some trouble writing this post. I keep starting it, and then someone posts an intriguing comment that takes me off in yet another direction, and I start over again.

I started off wanting to relate the Obama Administration's response to a petition seeking an end to the federal ban on raw milk, to the debate over the Raw Milk Institute.  

The Raw Milk Institute has already in its young life raised a number of provocative questions.

Should it be about lobbying or not? How will its standards be developed? Is it about publicly or privately available milk...or both?

It is the last question that is perhaps the most tantalizing, since it affects other key aspects of RAWMI's future.

What is the mark of a vibrant movement?

For the food rights movement in 2011, at least, it seems to be the frequency of major disruptions, or what I would call "shock events." These include court decisions, government enforcement actions, and internal organizational moves.

Over the last year, we had any number of all of these.