A Salute to the Real Heroes of the Food Rights Struggle--And How to Back Them Up

Liz Reitzig has, over the last few years, become a national leader of America’s rapidly expanding food rights movement. She is the co-coordinator of Grassfed on the Hill buying club serving the greater Washington, DC, area, and co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition. Liz has spent the past six years working on the state and national levels representing small farms and consumers at the state legislature and in the halls of Congress lobbying for food and farming rights. She is the principle organizer of an annual National Grassroots Lobby Day and Legislative Reception on Capitol Hill. She does all this while raising five young children. 

 Tomorrow, she is leading a “Know Your Rights Workshop” and on Saturday a demonstration for Lemonade and Raw Milk Freedom—all these events in Washington, DC.

In this guest post, Part 1 of a two-part series, she explores why it’s so important for Americans to support their farmers engaged in producing sustainable nutrient-dense food, and provides specific suggestions for actions  people can do on their own to add support.

by Liz Reitzig

I have invested the past six years of my life addressing issues surrounding access to real foods.  Many people I know are astounded that food rights are even an issue and that I spend my time working to advance food freedom.  Why do I do this, they ask. 

I am sure that many of you reading this are aware of the many hurdles our farmers and food producers who care about sustainability go through in order to provide their communities with clean, healthy, safe, wholesome food.  It is a harsh reality of life in today’s America that many have become targets of government force for simply feeding their communities. 

Since this is the reality we are living with, we must acknowledge the reality that those who continue to provide our communities with real food are doing so at great risk to themselves and that it takes exponentially more time and effort than it would otherwise need to if the threat of government force did not exist.

This is why it is absolutely essential for those of us who make up their communities to take on more responsibility on their behalf. What do I mean by this? A little story about a farm and its chicken and pig might help explain:

Once Upon a Time....

 A Chicken and a Pig lived on a farm. The farmer was very good to them and they both wanted to do something good for him.

One day the chicken approached the pig and said, "I have a great idea for something we can do for the farmer! Would you like to help?"

The pig, quite intrigued, said, "of course! What do you propose?"

The chicken knew how much the farmer enjoyed a delicious healthy breakfast. He also knew how little time the farmer had to make a good breakfast. "I think the farmer would be very happy if we made him breakfast."

The pig thought about this. While not as close to the farmer, he too knew of the farmer's love for a good breakfast. "I'd be happy to help you make breakfast for the farmer! What do you suggest we make?"

The chicken, understanding that he had little else to offer suggested, "I could provide some eggs."

The pig knew the farmer might want more, "That's a fine start. What else should we make?"

The chicken looked around...scratched his head...then said, "ham? The farmer loves ham and eggs!"

The pig, very mindful of what this implied, said, "that's fine, but while you're making a contribution, I'm making a real commitment!"

(Story from http://www.agilejedi.com/chickenandpig)

We have successful local food systems today because many farmers, producers and other individuals have made a real commitment.  They have taken on an enormous project and dedicated their lives to it so that present and future generations have access to clean, safe food.  In the process, each producer has developed a community that benefits from his or her work.

We all know some prime examples of people who dedicate their lives to ensuring community access to real food or teaching people how to produce their own foods or promoting local food.

These amazing food producers, suppliers and teachers are like the pig in our story—they give all for this cause.  They are committed!  They have given their lives over to this tireless, often thankless, work so that we have choices in what we eat and so that these choices remain for future generations.

I don’t think we need to go into too much detail here for us all to be conscious of the diverse ways these producers are preserving our agricultural heritage through urban farming, seed exchange, and feeding their rural and urban communities.  I hope you will each reflect for a moment on how pivotal their roles are and just how much they bring to your community.

Most of the rest of us are like the chicken--“involved.”  We’re willing to do something to further the cause.  Maybe real food is important to us.  Or perhaps we want to eat locally.  Or support a sustainable food system. Maybe we’ve joined a CSA or buying club.  Or maybe we shop at a farmers’ market.  Or maybe we are still waiting for the right time.

Each of us has an incredible opportunity right now to embrace the idea of making a sacrifice in our life, get on the road to true commitment, to further a cause that is so much bigger than any one of us: access to safe, real foods for this and future generations.  Whether we are the chicken in the story, or one of the other farm animals not even mentioned, there is room for greater involvement on a path to full commitment. 

Not sure what this would look like in your life?  Consider the following:

  • Maybe it would look like giving up a family vacation in order to donate the money to a farmer facing jail. 
  • Maybe it means traveling a little further and paying a higher price so that those who produce our food can make an honest living. 
  • Or maybe it looks like changing your schedule to pick up your groceries regularly at the farm. 
  • Or maybe it means going to a farm to personally thank a farmer for getting up early on Christmas day and milking cows so that you can have real milk 365 days a year.
  • Maybe it looks like scheduling and planning a food-related event in your area.
  • Or perhaps it looks like making a movie about local farmers, writing letters to the editor, reaching out to your neighbors or working on legislative issues related to food and farming. 
  • Maybe it means starting a buying club, growing a garden or playing with someone else’s children so that they can become more involved.
  • Perhaps it looks like making signs for a rally, engaging in peaceful non-compliance or throwing a few bucks towards supporting someone else’s planned event. 

Whatever it looks like in your life, go ahead and embrace it!

(In Part 2, what commitment looks like in Liz Reitzig’s life, and what it might look like in your life.)

mark mcafee's picture

God has a special place for his angel LIZ....she is a true American patriot and hero!
She walks the walk...talks the talk, preaches the teach and lives the life!!

She has always had my back and I will always have hers.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

In keeping with this theme of those that work hard in keeping people informed, please check out www.cornucopia.org. A friend had recommended this site to me about a week ago, but with my heavy travel schedule from west coast to east coast, I didn't get a chance to review it until last night. This site has a weath of information. It is an organization that is doing great research into what has been going on within the food industry. They have two great posters that had my head spinning last night after reviewing them & one poster in particular had me livid & you should be too. The poster is titled "Who Owns Organic" & people, if you think your current organic purchases are truly what they are...think again!! I was shocked not only to find that many of my so called 'tried & true' organic items turned out to be very, very questionable! They also have 'score cards' for organic cereals, dairy & other products. I was very disappointed to learn that my favorite gluten-free cereal was not what it was portrayed as...turns out it has very questionable ingredients, plus unhealthy ingredients. Yep, folks you really need to know your producer, especially in the line of 'Organic Certified'. I was astounded how they could get away with being organic certified when they are very clearly in violation of the organic requirements. Also check out the post showing the correlation between the federal government & Monsanto. Yes, yes we have been aware of the connections, but they go much deeper & this poster is quite the eye opener.

@ Deborah: Mark Kastel from Cornucopia has been a guest speaker at several of the same events as Sally Fallon over the past few years. I've been a follower of WAPF for probably four years now, and have followed Cornucopia for probably two years or a little more. In all that time he's only had one article I somewhat disagreed with (something about Big Medi-Sin) but I don't remember off-hand what the article was called. The chart showing which bigphakephood companies own which "organic" food companies is and eye-opener if this is the first time you're hearing about this stuff. Pepsico owns quite of bit of the organic marketing, sorry to say. Also I don't know if this is on his chart or not because it doesn't pertain to food, but Clorox bought out Burts Bee's several years ago - and the products have gone downhill, plus they no longer ever make some of the stuff I used to buy - plus the prices have gone up, up, up.

Also, check out Jeffrey Smith's web site called Institute for Responsible Technology concerning GMO's. He's the guy who wrote Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette. He may have a couple of others too, but I can't think of the names right now. Here's the link for his site: http://responsibletechnology.org/resources/media-kit/jeffrey-m-smith-bio

You might also be interested in OCA (Organic Consumers Ass'n) web site, if you don't already follow it. I don't at all agree with their stance on global warming, but whatever. All blogs and web sites contain information where you basically have to pick and choose what information you want to follow, and what information you don't. It's the nature of people to disagree sometimes.

@ Deborah: Hey, I should probably add here that Jeffrey Smith is no relation! Smith is actually my maiden name, but I still use it because two of my degrees are in my maiden name, so it's just easier for me. :->)

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Hi D. - yeah Smith is a very common name, my maiden name was Brown, again another very common name! But, you never know, there may be some genealogical connection!! Lol! Anyways, the Cornucopia site is a wealth of information & yes, I am familiar with "Institute for Responsible Technology" & also find that site to be a very valuable source of information. I will check out Organic Consumers Assoc. I was aware of some of the organic products were being bought up, but totally unaware of how many & how their products have been altered making them no longer the choice product that they have been. Recently saw that Tom's of Maine was bought out & yes, their products are now being altered with inferior & questionable ingredients...that is too sad! I just didn't realize how extensive this has grown & how wide spread this problem is becoming. These companies that are buying up the organic products have no clue nor interest in keeping the products organic & unaltered. They only want the name with the hopes these products will increase their profit margin.

@ Deborah: Yep, that's exactly why those companies bought out the organic brands - for money - and for an enhancement of these big companies somewhat tainted reputations once organic products started hitting the big-time marketing and were accepted with open arms by the "aware" section of the population. PepsiCo makes dozens of totally unhealthy products and they know it, so they had to do something major in order to change that perception. But people didn't like the idea, so they cut back on purchasing (at least I did) once I discovered the deception on the part of these companies. People knew that once a large corp took over these small businesses, the product itself would be cheapened with crappy ingredients, and that's about exactly what happened. Might as well eat twinkies as those "natural" bars!!

Brown is a popular name, but for that matter so is Peterson! My paternal gramma's maiden name was Petersen, so even though the spelling is different the pronounciation is the same. I read an interesting article the other day about how many people's names were either completed changed, or at least altered from the original, at Ellis Island upon their arrival in this country. Schmitzenheimer became Schmitz and yada yada. No wonder people who came later couldn't find their kin.

Really off the wall stuff - my neice and her husband. When they got married HE took her maiden name as his last name. All I can do is roll my eyes whenever I think about it. They just wanted to be "different". No der . . . different is a mild word compared to the one I use whenever I have to explain it to someone. ;-^

Sylvia Gibson's picture


“It is more than a trend,” said Jim Richter, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Wilcox Fresh, Rexburg, Idaho"

Did they really think it was a 'passing fad'?

Sylvia Gibson's picture


A repeat?


"Selling adulterated food is a felony. But doing so without knowledge or intent to defraud consumers is a misdemeanor, penalized by up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine."

Wow, raw dairy isn't treated this way.......

""memo outlined how companies could avoid liability for sickness and death because consumers never review their auditing reports.

And even if consumers did see the reports, the memo argued, they need to take steps to protect themselves. Either way, inspectors should be able to “escape with no liability.”

BS, if the "inspector" does a poor job, they should be liable. If a doctor does a poor job, they are liable.

"Marler said he is considering suing retailers for the remainder."

Why sue the retailers? Wallyworld has plenty of money....the sharks circle...

I sincerely hope the demonstration today goes great guns for Liz and the rest of them. Wish I could be there. But remember folks, just because not ALL of us who support this can actually be there, physically, it doesn't mean we aren't rooting our heads off in the background. It remains to be seen where the whole thing goes but anything never attempted is impossible to achieve, right? Go activitists!!

Good little 3.5 minute video here about a woman in Virginia was who cited for hosting a birthday party for a friends child on HER OWN PROPERTY.

It's just insane. But this is where we're headed, as much as I hate to say it. We are being over-protected "for our own good". Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure.


Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture
Dave Milano's picture


Thank you, really.


Did anyone else have trouble with the volume on this video? I can hardly hear her speaking, and I have the volume turned up on all of the speakers. Does anyone know if it's available anywhere else? Thanks in advance.

Sounds like we're losing the battle, at the least the battle concerning less rather than more regulation. It's because too many people are unaware of what is happening with processed type foods, and they are also unaware of what REAL food is.

Baylen Linnekin article/interview: http://reason.com/archives/2012/08/18/where-are-all-the-food-libertarians

Looks like they got a fair amount of coverage on the event. Way to go Liz, and all the dedicated freedom drinkers!

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Evidently, it was very successful. Glad to hear there was no interference.

The actions of the police in Canada with regard to phones and videotaping in the raid on Glencoulton Farm reveal the sinister aspects of the recently passed "Federal Crime Bill."
The police no longer need to go before a judge to get a warrant to access/or seize phone, internet or email traffic, information or phone call and use data. The smoke screen around this intrusive legislation is exemplified by the conservative party's rhetoric or should we call it propaganda. "This legislation will enable the law enforcement community to catch pedophiles, so anyone against this legislation supports pedophiles." In Canada we no longer have any court protected expectation of privacy in the use of our phones or computers or cameras.

mark mcafee's picture


The link to Dr. McBride was exquisite.....

If the FDA and all of Wahington DC and all of medical America would take its message to heart ( and GUT ), our entire economic collapse, jobs crisis, social security bankruptcy, farming distaster, dairy crisis, failed modern medical detour and pharma poisoning apocalypse would cease.

The world will continue to be flat until such a time as enough death occurs that people are forced to look at death and sickness in the face. Sorry to say we have a little farther to go down this valley of the shadow of inhumane profit based food and medical torture. It will take an incident to create a larger moment and the masses. Not sure what that incident will be...

1 in 16 dairies in CA will be lost in 2012 alone. 28 dairies in Fresno County filed for bankruptcy in 2012 alone!!!

Where is the class action lawsuit brought by dairies against the processors??

I have been fighting to have raw milk producers removed from the milk pool ( OPDC pays $1000 per day to the milk pool but can not participate in the milk pool !!!) ... I think I will win this battle by attrtition and default. Pretty soon there will be no milk to pool....mute fight. Done!!! Just a matter of time...

What a sick reality...watch McBride.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Why do you have to pay into the milk pool?

mark mcafee's picture


In 1969 Opdc could have opted out of the milk pool. Opdc did not exist then. We have tried two lawsuits and one legislative attempt Big dairy wants our money and killed the bill.

Opdc supposedly receives raw milk into it's plant. That is the corrupt excuse given for the unfair economic toture and tax into the milk pool.

It is flat wrong. !!!!

mark mcafee's picture


The Milk Pool is literally killing the dairy farmers. It assures that they all get the lowest possible milk price and there is nothing that anyone of them can do to liberate themselves from the ensuing bankruptcy.

OPDC can not buy a drop of fluid milk from the Milk Pool....like other processors. Why? Because of the required less than 10 coliform count and also the lack of control over quality and potential pathogens. About 5% of all Milk Pool milk contains pathogens.

CDFA does not appear to care about these very compelling issues and the structural unfairness that it forces on OPDC. They just do not care! and they smile when they say they just do not care.

Instead...OPDC is mandated to pay into the Milk Pool about $360,000 per year. Ask me why Raw Milk Costs so much in CA....one of the biggies is the Milk Pool!!!!

The argument given by CDFA about our mandatory Milk Pool fees centers mostly arround the fact that OPDC has a dairy and also has a creamery plant liscence. The milk goes from the dairy into a creamery plant...therefore we receive Milk into a Milk Pool plant even though we deny we are a Milk Pool plant....CDFA will not allow OPDC to operate a non Milk Pool Plant. It is captive fascism!!!

In the bottom line assessment....CDFA wants raw milk to bleed and bleed into the Milk Pool. The more we suffer the happier they are. The more we pay the more money is available to be sent to the Milk Pool CAFO dairies that can not sell milk becuase of Lastose Intolerance or Milk Allergies.

To bring up this subject....just makes me boil.

We are trying again next year....one more time... to get raw milk out of the Milk Pool.

We will see how that goes.


@ Mark: Good Lord, more than a half a million dollars?? Dang near like blood money. You'd think they would WANT to keep you in business.

But if it were me, I'd go back to being a paramedic and deprive the milk pool. But that's just me. Stressful as it is, it would be a walk in the park, stress-wise, compared to letting them rule the roost, and you wouldn't have to kiss the butts of the State goons.

mark mcafee's picture


I thought, wrongfully thought, that Mother Jones Magazine would present the Raw Milk story in an unbiased and helpful manner...boy...was I wrong.

They quoted FDA extensively, made a satire out of the PARSIFAL and GABRIELA studies and discounted these peer reviewed and published studies completely as if they did not matter and were irrelevant. They said that raw milk killed people, but did not give the data that supported any deaths. The then went on to talk about the guarantees of pasteurization and how it has changed milk safety for the better and assured that Ecoli does not hurt people. What a bag of CAFO Soy Antibiotic GMO crap!!

Wrong and inaccurate at so many levels. It was not ecoli that hurt anyone 120 years ago. It was Typhoid, TB and Water borne illness that killed so many in the late 1800's.

The bacteria phobia and just plain ignorance and laziness of the writer leads me to believe more than ever, that HIPPIE magazines lead the ignorance parade. My guess...when you smoke to much pot to take away the GUT pain....you do not write and or do research very well. Lazy brains do not write or think very well.

Sad status of American journalism. Even the journalism that I thought might, just might be fair to raw milk really sucks.

The article never mentions all the deaths from pasteurized milk or the huge amount of dairy allergies ( and eight associated deaths from pasteurized milk allergies since 1998 ), but it sure quoted the hell out of Mary Martin.

Can I puke now??


Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

I haven't seen the article. Whatever I said must have been good..

Kristen P's picture

puke on, mark, puke on. at least it's not bloody diarrhea.
I love me some hippies.

Sylvia Gibson's picture


bacterial contamination appears to be so much more prevalent in everything but dairy....

mark mcafee's picture

This is a response from an attendee at the RAWMI raw milk seminar last month in Oregon.

"New Creation Dairy Goats
Mark, THANK YOU again for leading the class in oregon that prompted our family to push for whole foods and only consuming raw milk....here's my post for today on my facebook page: Allergy/Asthma update: On Sat night we went to a friends house who has cats....which is my daughters biggest problem and ALWAYS triggers the asthma to the point of needing a middle-of-the-night nebulizer treatment....this was our FIRST visit to this friends house that DID NOT end with ANY treatments, including her regular albuteral inhaler!!!! She was so thrilled to make it out with only a slight sniffle and wheeze...her comment when we got home was, 'I LOVE RAW MILK!!!!' .... "

This is why raw milk will thrive as long as people have a will to live!!!

Asthma claims 4000 kids per year.....raw milk saves that many and many more.

mark mcafee's picture


Dr. Lindy Woodard speaks about her pediatric practice and the use of RAWMILK to reduce and or eliminate asthma and allergies and ear infections.

I rest my case. She says that raw milk is medicine.

@ Mark: Raw milk IS medicine - until someone says it isn't - and then someone with two tweets worth of authority comes along and verifies the nearly unverifiable because they're from some gubment agency. And because they can. Egotards.

I would venture to say that Mary Martin contacted Mother Jones with her story and they ran with it without bothering to do any real journalistic research, even though she now claims amnesia. Or maybe Marler spoke for her. Hmmmm. I stopped looking at Mother Jones several years ago because they had some idiotic stuff in print without reference materials. IMPHO, in order to be credible, they need to reference their work. Any good journalist should.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

D. Smith, the author of the article had been a raw milk drinker for a year. She purchased it from a herd share somewhere in California. Somewhere along the road she read something about pathogens and raw milk. I think she found the Real Raw Milk Facts website and watched the videos. I think that is how she found me. Anyway, she contacted Marler Clark and they connected us.

She never revealed to me that she was a raw milk drinker when she interviewed me, but I could tell by her questions she was connected to WAPF. We had a lovely talk. In the end I encouraged her to watch Mari Tardiff’s video and read the 3 part story that was written about her. We also talked about the Oregon outbreak; two very young children damaged by strokes. She also talked to different people in public health. She has now decided that raw milk is not worth the risk.

Prior to drinking raw milk for a year, she did not have all the information about the “risk” side of things. After gaining that information, she decided the benefits did not outweigh the risks. We live in a very toxic world and the deadly pathogens that have evolved where not here 100 years ago.

I’m not sure why Mark is so upset about her choice.

@ Mary: Yes, this is rich. The author was a raw milk drinker for a year - and wasn't worried about pathogens and never was sickened from the milk in any way? Then you encouraged her to watch a video and read a story and then ya'll discussed a few things. At that point, based on other people's experiences rather than her own, she decided the benefits did not outweigh the risks.

I guess it makes sense to someone. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Does she also know how pasteurized CAFO milk is produced and the risks involved with drinking it? Did she watch a graphic video about that?? Does she know it's filled with chalk to make it white and that synthetic vitamins are added because the original goodness is stripped out of it? Yeh, I'm sure she does but now she drinks it because it's "riskless". If either she or you believe our "toxic world" doesn't extend to pasteurized foods, you both have much to learn. What makes pasteurized food toxic is simply that it's dead to begin with. Vibrant health does not come from dead foods.

Personally Mary, if I were you, I think I would not drink any milk at all. I really think you should campaign against all types of milk (raw, nut, pasteurized, canned, etc) because that would be the fair thing to do.

What is the point of having food rights and freedom of choice (we still have it for a while I think) if we can't follow through with our personal choices? The problem I see is accessibility to healthy foods - whatever "healthy" might be in anyone's personal opinion. If the USG steps in, we definitely will be restricted in our choices. That will Include your choices. Is that what you want? Broccoli will be considered as toxic as Pradaxa. I see sushi restaurants springing up all over the place, even out here in the boonies where I live - and we're 1,600 miles from the nearest ocean. Perfectly acceptable raw food, if you like that sort of thing. I see people eating spinach and cantaloupe and all the other things that were pulled from the market shelves. WOnder if the author eats those things and considers them "riskless".

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

D. Smith, she knows all about CAFO milk. That is why she was drinking raw milk. If somone wants to be a milk drinker, I think the best option is to buy grass fed raw milk from a local farmer and pasteurize it at home.

As for our family, we don't consume dairy.

@ Mary: I don't pasteurize my raw milk. Why would I do that since the whole idea is to keep it raw? I grew up drinking raw milk, I know what to look for in a farm operation providing raw milk. If your family chooses not to consume dairy that's fine, but I would hope, then, that you are also boycotting all forms of milk and also telling folks of the dangers concerned with pasteurized milk, the process it takes to make dried milk powder, the hazards of buying pasteurized nut milks in boxes, and about the lack of essential nutrients in all forms of milk other than raw milk, whether it be cow, goat, camel or donkey milk. If you're going to be fair about the big picture concerning milk that should involve all forms and types of milk.

If I couldn't find raw milk anywhere locally, or if that point ever comes in future, I won't consume milk of any kind.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

If you took the time to read my article for FSN, you would know my stand on CAFO milk. For people who want to drink healthy milk, but don't want to take the pathogen risk, home pasteurization of grass fed raw milk is an option.

mfpellicano's picture

Forgive me gentle "bloggers," but I can't help thinking this series of comments has reminded me of an old Looney Tunes cartoon where Daffy Duck is "The Duxorcist: Mary had a Little Lamb." One can view the old cartoon on U-Tube by the same title. I'm sorry Dave M. and Mark, because I'd like to stand with you when you respectfully reach out to her, but I know without a doubt my hand would get bit right along with yours.
It is the nature of the spirit(s) within. JMHO.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Hmmmmmmm, interesting post, albeit a bit strange, but I need to ask....who is Dave M.?

@ Deborah: Dave M. is Dave Milano. He had a one sentence post farther up the line thanking Mary for her post with the video interview of Dr. Natasha McBride who wrote the GAPS stuff.

It is again one of those days where posts are just landing wherever they wish. I tried to "reply" to user2690 but of course it shoved my post all the way to the bottom of the page instead of correlating it under his post. So now everything is out of kilter. Arg.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Thanks, D., I was somewaht confused about user2690's post, it wasn't making sense & was somewhat strange!

@ user2690: I sure would like to understand what is going through your mind with this post, but I must admit to having no clue whatsoever. Who is the "her" you refer to?

Dave Milano's picture

For the record, I am not “reaching out” to Mary, but consider her a long distance friend. Mary has been nothing but civil to me and others, and her opinions, however convergent or divergent to my own, are neither here nor there when it comes to taking responsibility for each other. Kindness and love to all. (Notably, one’s responsibility to be kind and loving does not preclude the exchange of ideas or attempts to persuade. One might argue it is the only way to effectively persuade.)

On the latter, Mary stated above that a raw milk drinker may not have been fully informed “about the ‘risk’ side of things.” In defense of that statement, she correctly notes that pathogens exist today that did not exist 100 years ago. She concludes that this change has made raw milk too risky.

I would answer that mutation is a normal biological process, part of earth since the first dawn, and that it is virtually certain that humans have been forced to adapt to similar bacterial mutation as long as we have existed. Fortunately for us, immune modification is also as old as time, and is in fact the natural and proper antidote to pathologic mutation. Yes, we have become part of the problem through profligate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, monoculture farming, dead-food diets, and a kill-all-perceived-enemies medical mentality, but that only makes the need for good raw milk more pressing.

In the video Mary linked above, Dr. Natasha McBride makes a case for small, clean, diverse, polyculture farms. She is quite correct in doing so, and though she didn’t say it, I bet Dr. McBride would also support the integration of polyculture farms into residential landscapes. I happen to think the integration of such farms into residential biomes is an essential immune builder. It is certainly the absolute best way to make use of cows, since cows are continually sampling their environment and modifying their milk in response, to provide specific, beneficial antibodies. Become a part of a cow’s biome, and you are integrated into a most amazing, protective chain of biological machinations.

Follow the medical paradigm to its logical conclusion. Follow the polyculture paradigm to its logical conclusion. Which do you like better?

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Thanks Dave. I consider you a long distance friend also. I hope you know how much I respect the lifesytle you have lived. I think owning your own cow is the only way to go with raw milk.

@ Mary: Since we now reside within a city, owning our own cow is not possible, as is the case for many people, so that's a great statement but a lousy solution! Therefore, the only way for those of us who love and consume raw milk is to try to purchase it from someone who is able to own a cow or three. The food safety people want to make that difficult for us, even though we're willing to take responsibility for our own decisions regarding the foods we consume in the name of food freedom rights.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

From a food safety perspective, owning, living with, and milking your own cow is the safest option. Having to care for only one cow decreases the risks.

What evidence do you have for this radical assertion?

so true ... but even a Thorn in the Flesh has its purpose - by which I mean the role MMMcG plays in the Campaign for REAL MILK : never forget, though, she's not here to help people get healthy : she's sent to wear out the saints

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

A while back I came across a post, I forget which website I was on nor what it was that I was researching, but it caught my attention & I copied it...here it is...some food for thought:

My wife and I operate a 100 percent grass-based seasonal dairy. Your readers need to know that just because a dairy is organic doesn’t mean these cows are eating a grain-free diet. These dairies can feed organic grain, hay or silage and still sell organic milk. This may be slightly better than regular store-bought milk, BUT these cows can still be confined just like the cows in conventional dairies.
If that doesn’t sound like a concern to you yet, then here is another bit of info. The national average lactation period of a dairy cow in the USA is 1.6 lactations. This means these cows are slaughtered when less than four years old for various health reasons too numerous to mention. Now keep in mind these organic dairies may also operate in the exact same manner, which means that these cows are living in an unhealthy environment and are sick. We are eating organic products and thinking we are doing the right thing only to find out that big industry has once again ruined a good thing.
We had our milk checked for CLA(conjugated linoleic acid) levels. [CLA helps prevent cancer and obesity.] We also checked two neighbors’ milk. All three of these are Jersey herds checked the very same day. One herd is totally confined. The other herd is one-half grass and one-half total mixed ration. The results were interesting. Our all-grass herd had a CLA level 3 to 4 times higher than regular store-bought milk. The other two herds were basically the same as regular store-bought milk. I found it very interesting how the herd getting half grain had CLA levels the same as the totally confined herd.
There is no room for cheating. Know your dairy farmer! And remember, when the price for grass-based dairy products is higher, the products contain three to four times more nutrients and that the dairyman is producing about one-third the milk of the modern conventional dairies. He needs to make a living also. K.B."

Interesting article from Sarah Pope. The video is a bit weird, but makes a point. The reader comments are always a testimony to the goodness of raw milk, too.


Can someone, anyone, comment on what happens when you add iodine to raw milk? I was doing some research on iodine this morning and happened upon this forum and saw the comment by one person who mentions the practice, but doesn't go into any detail at all.

Here's the comment verbatim: "If you are concerned about bacterial count, put a few drops of iodine in the gallon of milk and stir it thoroughly."

It came from this link: http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&p=97019

It is in a comment posted by buffalo girl about the fifth post down.


Deborah - Pacifica's picture

D. - what I can share about iodine being added to milk, has to do with pasteurized milk...my grandmother, when we could not get raw milk, always added some iodine to store bought pasteurized milk. She stated that pasteurization always destroyed the iodine that was in raw milk. Wow, thanks for bringing this question up, you brought me a 'blast from the past' recollection!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I've heard of adding iodine to water in an emergency situation for purification. I don't know what it would do to milk. http://water.epa.gov/drink/emerprep/emergencydisinfection.cfm


@ Sylvia and Deborah: Yep, whenever DH and I head out to go camping in the summer or snowshoeing in the winter, we always carry iodine in case we run out of fresh water. We also carry gray sea salt in case we think we need added electrolytes.

But I'd never heard or thought about adding it to raw milk, but as I said, the person who posted that statement at the link I included in a different post, didn't go into any details at all. I don't know if she was adding it to the milk as a trace mineral or as a purifying aid or what she was actually using the iodine for.

I can see adding it to pasteurized milk, Deborah, as messing around with raw milk really does remove trace minerals and your grandmother was probably smart to replace what she knew was missing.

I guess I'll have to do a little more research on this subject. I will check over at AJCN and see what they have to say about it, if anything at all, or maybe I can find something at PLoS. If I do find anything relevant, I'll post it here.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

It is an intriguing notion, that's for sure & I do remember back a number of years when camping & hiking to bring iodine for purification purposes of water. I did do some research on the internet last night for using iodine with both pasteurized & raw milk. In the few posts that I saw iodine being used in raw milk, they didn't state why it was being used. In a number of posts that I found with using iodine in pasteurized milk, it was for the same reason that my grandmother did it...to replace the iodine that pasteurizing took out of milk.