MN's Scorched Earth Food Rights Policy Leaves Desperate Mom, Frustrated Farmer, and Too Much Sadness
If you want a sense of how the atmosphere around obtaining raw milk and other nutrient-dense foods has changed over the last couple years in a state like Minnesota, which has featured no-holds-barred enforcement and intimidation against farmers and consumers alike, you should read the exchange that follows. It took place on a Minnesota listserve, between a young mom and a goat dairy farmer. Some thoughts follow.
Hello everyone. I'm looking to purchase 2 gallons of raw goat milk from a farm that is near or has a drop off close to (my home). My toddlers are intolerant to the raw cow milk. Although disappointed, I am not surprised as my now 11 yr old had the same issue at their age. He did fine on goat. We are from MI and have few contacts here BUT this seems like the perfect place to ask for help. From what I can tell, members are from all over. If tolerated I would continue to purchase between 1 and 2 gals per week. Thank you in advance, Amy
Like I told you before I can bring you down a sample to try next week. BUT I WILL NOT sell or allow my drop site hosts to sell or collect money for milk--it is not fair for them to assume that type of risk. Purchase is made on farm or you have to buy an animal. I will not put any of my other critter owners at risk that way either. Many have been with me for many years. And why are you pushing for this purchase to be off the farm and not the normal way we do things?
Taking on people with no refs is risky as it is. When they do not want to participate in the way everything is set up, it puts up more flags.
There are many goat breeders in your area too that you could probably drive to their farm and pick up some milk. Check out the (association) web site to find one near you. You can always drive up to the farm here too, I am probably 45 minutes away.
Tracy I don't know what to say, I'm sorry that I've upset you. I don't know how this all works, it is foreign to me. I get raw cow milk from a gal but she doesn't keep goats. My relationship with her is very relaxed and we've become friends so I'm baffled at why you seem so hostile towards me. I have 4 kids, live away from my family and am exhausted and am just looking for something close so I'm not driving hours with babies and spending more than I can afford. That's all! And I don't understand why you couldn't have spoken with me directly about this. I posted this ISO because I've been trying to purchase milk from you without success. I'm trying to feed my family in a wholesome way. I am not trying to put ANYONE at risk. I cannot afford to drive 3 hours for a gallon of milk. I truly just didn't understand what I was asking.
You are not upsetting me or probably anyone else overly much. My "concern" with what you have texted and e-mailed, and now posted, is that you seem to rather purchase milk off farm than what options were presented to you.
I am not as "paranoid" as some on this list but that does not mean I will not take what they say into perspective. If you go back on this group's history over the last few years (just start with 2010 and the Hartmann stuff), you can see how the group has changed and how milk has gone underground so to speak. You will be able to research for yourself what has happened to the Hartmanns, the Trad Food warehouse, Alvin, and others--and not just in our area.
We used to be much more welcoming and outgoing with each other, now it is pretty much underground and everyone shut up. Which I think is more in the way the powers that be want it. Stop the people from helping each other out and it cuts the demand (or ease of getting the demand) to the farmer. Farmer still has costs but either has to raise prices, pushing customers away, or get a job/extra job off the farm to support it.
Take a look at it, the only foods on this list now that are "pushed" are USDA processed/inspected meats (the only way to legally move meat across state lines for resale is UDSA inspect) and pasteurized milk products and aged cheeses all from inspected farm in Wisconsin (again, only way to move across state lines legally). This farm is inspected by the same organization that is prosecuting Vernon Hershberger--not that they would have much choice in inspections but this is a way of supporting the organization going after a raw dairy farmer with a private ownership. And what are the MN farms missing here? Where is the local grown/raised in reality? :-) Not even raw.....Dead is dead is dead.
For me and my little farm operation it isn't about if we get raided, it is when. I assume it will happen but I am not going to dwell on it. I simply have other things to deal with than worry about some future even that is not yet set in stone. And in reality, when that happens, the sun will still set that night and rise the next morning. It won't be the end of the world, just a bump in the road with a lot of paperwork and drama attached to it.
If you want to make this easier, try helping to change laws. Support the various farmers at their court appearances, make signs, meet with elected people who abuse their powers given to them. Bring your kids along too. Be more active in the food community, give up some info about you and your family, etc. Join a local WAPF chapter and the FTCLDF if you can as well.
And I am sorry I was not able to bring you a sample to try yesterday. I worked the night before (my once a month off farm work day) and didn't get home until 2 AM, then had to get up at 5:30 to milk. I miscounted the amount I needed and fed the rest back to the livestock. You were not the only one who missed their sample.
PS: If you want to come up and purchase directly from the farm you are more than welcome to do it, pretty much anytime...I just bought a herd of East Friesian sheep and have to get their pasture ready at the other farm. LOTS of sheep milk starting in about 6 months if breedings go smoothly!
There is so much sadness in this exchange, where to begin? With Tracy's suspicion about Amy? With Amy's weariness and desperation in trying to obtain the milk she needs for her child? With Tracy's resignation that she will at some point be targeted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture? With the sense of community that not long ago predominated among this group of foodies in Minnesota, and has since been obliterated? Or with the knowledge that the MDA officials and their colleagues around the country will read this exchange, and feel good, satisfied that they have accomplished their goals...as opposed to feeling guilt over their criminal behavior.