Advocates Explain Why Food Rights Struggle Must Be Built on Community; Behind Zinniker Dairy's Demise

 

Wisconsin farmer Mark Zinniker at the annual Biodynamics Conference in Madison, WI, on Thursday.What is the essential ingredient enabling farmers and food club operators to successfully resist the seemingly endless government assaults and incursions on private food arrangements?

Nearly without exception, it has been community support, according to several observers, including targeted farmers, who gathered for nearly five hours of panel discussions at the 2012 North American Biodynamic Conference in Madison, WI, on Thursday afternoon.

“There is absolutely no way I would be where I am today without community support,” Vernon Hershberger explained.  Where he is today is preparing to go on trial before a jury in Baraboo, WI, on January 7 on misdemeanor charges of having violated Wisconsin’s dairy and food licensing laws in connection with serving the members of his food club.  “There was one court hearing where we had 500 people there,” he explained. Large numbers are expected to attend the trial as well.

He credited his wife, Erma, and their ten children, with being at the center of his community support system.  But he suggested that community support must be more than simply signing petitions or joining a food club.

Consumers must become involved in the distribution of food, even the handling of farm chores. Such involvement breeds ever more commitment and passion. “If we become so passionate that we are willing to lay down our lives for one another, then there is no way we can lose,” he said.

Alvin Schlangen, the Minnesota farmer who was acquitted by a jury in September of misdemeanor dairy and food licensing charges similar to those faced by Hershberger, said he had to learn to seek out the support of his community of members and other supporters. “I had to ask for help,” he said. “Don’t ever consider that that is a bad thing.”

Conversely, the absence of community support can be fatal. Ajna Sharma-Wilson, the Los Angeles lawyer who has defended Rawesome Food Club founder James Stewart, said that dissension within Rawesome led to its undoing. Even though the Rawesome community existed in some form or another for 13 years, “James’ support fell away” after he was charged with felonies in Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Then it was simply a matter of “divide and conquer” for the regulators and prosecutors intent on destroying the food club, she added.

Liz Reitzig, organizer of the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, said she and other food club organizers had learned from the Rawesome experience as well as that involving Dan Allgyer, the Pennsylvania Amish farmer forced out of farming earlier this year. A major goal of the Raw Milk Freedom Riders has been to create a community among mothers seeking to obtain nutrient-dense direct from farmers. “If the FDA wants to get to a particular farmer, they have to understand they’re going to have to go through 200 angry moms,” she stated.

**

Strong community support can be undermined by the realities of life, unfortunately. Mark Zinniker, owner of a Wisconsin farm together with his wife, Petra, recounted during the panel discussion just how that can happen. The Zinnikers were among the plaintiffs in the now-famous ruling by Judge Patrick Fiedler in 2011, in which he declared that Wisconsin residents don’t have the right even to own a cow, or if they do, to drink its milk.

The farm has been in the Zinniker family since 1942. “From 1942 to to 2009, we never had any safety issues,” he said. Over that period, beginning in 1985, the farm sold shares in cows to consumers interested in raw milk. When the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) first became aware of the arrangement in 1993, “They claimed we would need separate milk coolers for each cow.”

That bizarre demand was the beginning of an off-again-on-again relationship with DATCP. In 1997, DATCP and the Zinnikers had a “memorandum of understanding” covering the legitimacy of the cow share arrangement…until 2003 when DATCP canceled it. In 2008, the agency re-interpreted its rules to declare all cow ownership arrangements illegal.

Then, in 2009, some 35 Zinniker cow share owners became ill from campylobacter. Though the pathogen was never found in the milk, a large processor to which Zinniker sold milk declined to pick up the dairy’s excess production. If a Wisconsin dairy doesn’t sell to a processor for 30 days or more, it automatically loses its Grade A license.

The Zinniker cow share owners were very forgiving of the dairy. Gayle Loiselle, a cow share owner and organizer of the Thursday panel discussion (and a plaintiff with the Zinnikers in their case against DATCP), said members of her family became ill from campylobacter in 2009. “Mistakes can happen, and we don’t know for sure it was even his fault.” Unfortunately, when it comes to raw milk safety, there sometimes aren't second chances, like there are with all other foods.

Loiselle and other owners organized to rescue the operation by forming a limited liability company that purchased the cows, and then hired the Zinnikers to board and milk the cows. That arrangement went up in the flames of the Judge Fiedler decision.

While the community would certainly have continued supporting the Zinnikers, the couple decided after the Fiedler decision not to push the matter, fearing possible repercussions for Mark’s wife, Petra, who isn’t an American citizen.

According to Mark Zinniker, “In two years, the Zinniker Farm went from 25 cows to a farm that can no longer provide an income from the farm.” The couple is currently attempting to save the farm as a going enterprise by raising cattle to sell custom beef.

**

Late addition: I should have mentioned in my account of the panel discussions that the session had a surprise visit from Sen. Glenn Grothman, a Republican who was instrumental in pushing through the legislation vetoed by Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 that would have allowed raw milk sales from farms.

"We want to move a new bill," he told the 40 or so attendees.

"We have a problem with the public health establishment," he said. "I don't have a high opinion of them." Same goes for "the medical society."

He suggested that any new legislation would need to provide for significant testing and inspection requirements. "If you think you will get a bill that won't regulate, it won't happen," he said.

Key to getting any legislation through, however, will be "a grassroots effort to educate people." It will be especially important for supporters to contact their own legislators and push them to back the coming legislation. "A politician cares much more about someone in his district than an expert in Madison. We we get legislation, it is very important to have people in each district supporting it."

mark mcafee's picture

In all of my years of producing RawMilk.....the state has always said that they wanted to help me produce the safest raw milk possible. Never in those 13 years did the state or any agency ever investigated the real origins of any challenges. Investigations and inspections always made irrelevant recommendations. They rarely if ever spent one minute of time investigating udder cleaning protocols or CIP procedures or temperatures in my milk barn. They never checked my milking equipment or hoses etc...they never watched us milk a cow.

For all the talk of caring about safety the inspections never focussed on things that directly impacted safety in my book. We reduced our coliform counts not by following the states recommendations...we did it through our RAMP program.

With that said....I wonder what the DATCP experts found at Zinnikers....

When CDFA or DPS mandates more concrete outside or 6 inches more distance from a wall to a piece of equipment or hard pipe instead of Grade A milk hoses....those things really do not improve safety. Those things make the agencies feel essential, powerful and important....if agencies really cared about raw milk safety, they would approach raw milk production with a systematic risk analysis from grass to glass. They would watch us milk our cows!!

They do not...

Gayle Loiselle's picture

Bill, why the hostility? I heard you left the farm during the outbreak and never looked back. So much for your dedication to research and food safety lessons. You fancy yourself a socialist but you sure like to capitalize on others misfortune. By the way, thank you for not attending the conference.

rawmilkmike's picture

Right on Mark and Bill. Hay, I just read an old post about milking systems, this adds one more item to my list of raw milk consumer concerns that inspectors couldn't care less about.

I may have to change my name to outbreak denialist because the more I hear people talk about outbreaks the more obvious it becomes that these so called outbreaks have never had anything to do with raw milk.

According to a CSPI report, approximately 5,000 people are killed every year by foodborne illness. From 2009 − 2011, three high profile outbreaks involving peanuts, eggs and cantaloupe alone accounted for 2,729 illnesses and 39 deaths. Yet there have only been a handful of deaths from pasteurized dairy products in the last decade, and there hasn’t been a single death attributed to raw fluid milk since the mid-1980s, in spite of the fact that well over 10 million people are now consuming it regularly.
The takeaway is that thousands of people are killed each year by foodborne illness, but they’re dying from eating fruits, nuts, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish – not from drinking unpasteurized milk.

CDC reports can’t be taken at face value

There are about 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported each year. Yet by the CDC’s own admission, this represents only a tiny fraction of the true number of foodborne illnesses that occur. In 1999, CDC scientists used an estimate of the overall prevalence of diarrhea and vomiting to calculate the “true” incidence of foodborne illness as 76 million cases per year! Put another way, 99.97% of foodborne illnesses go unreported.
A food vehicle was identified in only 43% of the reported outbreaks and only half of these were linked to a single food ingredient. What this means is that the true prevalence of foodborne illness that can be attributed to a particular food is much higher than what is reported. It also means that the data linking specific outbreaks with specific foods is such a tiny sample of the total that even small errors or biases in the reporting of outbreaks would seriously skew the results. http://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-is-raw-milk-dangerous

Sylvia,
When health departments speak of matches of bacteria fingerprints they are being deceptive. What "matches" are PFGE patterns. These patterns may match even when the two isolates are NOT genetically related. PFGE patterns only can be used to distinguish between isolates that both originated from the same colony of bacteria. Health departments have to assume that they are looking at isolates that were once clones of one original bacteria. Of course if you start with this assumption it isn't surprising that the conclusion is that the two isolates "match". The assumption cannot be proven and is not possible outside of a laboratory.
When the epidemiological investigation looks at common denominators ,they ignore the very things that are most likely to be the real cause of the disturbance in the digestive system. These are factors that we all admit can upset the balance in a system that is already walking a tight rope because of malnourishment. Malnourishment ,especially lack of minerals in food ,can be the reason that people's systems are so easily destabilized. The real factors that are ignored are the biocides in the food, air and water and stress. All of these things contain a steadily increasing amount of toxic residues because of the war on bacteria that is our present food production,preservation and distribution system.
miguel
who: user2756 | when: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 13:24 |

For those who oppose real food, it is enough that we all keep the discussion focused on bacteria. We can talk about how to encourage "good" bacteria and discourage "bad" bacteria.This all reinforces the idea that the problem of illness can be caused by bacteria. From a soil scientist's point of view,all bacteria have a role to play in the recycling of materials.They take apart dead or damaged cells ,sometimes repairing them and sometimes, if not repairable, disassembling them and turning them into a form that can be used to build new cells. Healthy soil is where everything that dies and rots becomes purified and healthy soil is the source of the nutrients that build healthy new cells. The view that bacteria cause disease is an upside down way of seeing the natural world.Bacteria clean and maintain and build and repair our bodies. When an abundance of one type of bacteria are present at some place in our bodies ,they are there because they are part of the healing process.We want to recognize this and assist in the healing. Balance can best be restored quickly by understanding that the opportunistic bacteria flourish in order to quickly clean up a disaster.By supporting their important work,we will speed up the succession to a more diverse and stable community of bacteria and so bring everything back into balance more quickly. The real cause of disease is the conditions that destroy the diverse,stable community of bacteria that keeps our world functioning smoothly. Our cells die when they are deprived of the nutrients needed to maintain their integrity .They die when they are exposed to poisons. Healthy cells are not attacked for no reason by predatory micro organisms.
miguel
who: user2756 | when: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 14:58

Here's something else that has come to mind over the last couple days.

Has anyone noticed that most of what we call food born illness seems to have very little to do with the particular food that we may have been eating at the time the illness occurred. Last year when norovirus made it's annual sweep across the country the media made very little of it, so the average person, not seeing the pattern, just assumed it was what ever they had last ate.

When it comes to raw milk, I know from my own experience over the last six years that it actually prevents the very illness it is said to cause, not to mention its dramatic effect on hay fever, food allergy, cat allergy, dust and chemical sensitivity, psoriasis, and general intestinal health. So even if you could prove raw milk caused one case of illness this would be irrelevant since it had already prevented twelve.

How do we know Mary's son got diarrhea from raw milk? Not only is there no way of proving it. There is no reason to even think such a thing. Diarrhea is a symptom of malnutrition and the most common illness in industrialized nations like the U.S. All of us have had it and will have it again whether our milk is pasteurized or not.

If a raw milk dairy with one thousand customers has less than ten a day with diarrhea it proves that raw milk is preventing illness not causing it.

Even if you believe that the offending bacteria could give someone diarrhea and that there was enough in the milk and at the farm, you wouldn't know how it got there and if it was that which caused the persons diarrhea.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I can't imagine anyone believing that raw milk "never" had anything to do with outbreaks. Every food has a potential for contamination and can be toxic. I question, why do the bacteria affect some and not the majority of drinkers?

"CDC reports can’t be taken at face value"

Of course not. All reports should be dissected and more questions brought forth.

rawmilkmike's picture

Sylvia,

I can't imagine anyone believing that raw milk "never" had anything to do with outbreaks either but that is the conclusion I keep coming up with. I believe we should all be on the lookout for an example of raw milk making someone sick. I just haven't been able to find one yet.

Yes, every food has a potential for contamination and can be toxic but we're not talking about toxic chemicals. Maybe that's because no one seems to be afraid of toxic chemicals. No, we're talking about bacteria like campy, e-coli, listeria, and salmonella. I haven't seen any website which says these bacteria are dangerous.

What I have seen are websites which suggests that bacteria like campy, e-coli, listeria, and salmonella if consumed in sufficient quantity may cause mild illness in some people some of the time and I can't even call this data sense the only study I ever heard of didn't really sound very credible.

I've never heard anyone say specifically that these bacteria when consumed in raw milk have been shown to have ever cause illness.

Plus the fact that most people are going to get this illness several times a year anyway whether they drink raw milk or not.

And then there's my own personal experience which very strongly suggests that raw milk actually prevents the very same illness.

Do you see where I'm coming from?

Sylvia Gibson's picture

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/more-on-milk/?em&exprod=...

" (It would not surprise me a bit if it were eventually discovered that industrial production methods, which include giving dairy cows feed that they have trouble digesting, produce an inferior and somehow damaging form of dairy.)"

Ya think!

"The stories here expose problems both with agriculture and with medicine. Once American agriculture became fixated on producing the most crops possible, regardless of the cost to land, water, air, animals and people,"

These stories have been on-going for many many years. TPTB have done nothing to correct the problems.

"As for medicine: for many doctors drugs are the answer to almost every condition, a situation that suits Big Pharma just fine. More than $13 billion worth of P.P.I.s were sold in 2010, "

It's not just the mass produced dairy or the consumption of pills that's causing health issues. It is also the "food" , it's highly processed and contaminated with man-made chemicals and GMOs, etc.

How very sad that the Zinnikers can no longer produce dairy. I hope the situation changes someday. That Judge Fiedler decision should strike fear in the hearts of liberty-lovers everywhere in the U.S.

mark mcafee's picture

Just to keep you all updated....Raw Milk has some very smart people in some very high places in research.

See this link http://cdrf.org/2012/11/12/meet-milk-sciences-leading-communicator-dr-da...

Dr. Lemay attended the WAP conference and spoke with Sally at lunch. She even visited the RAWMI booth and reviewed our mission and Common Standards. When you read the article attached...read it with your "UC Davis political PhD decoder mode" on full blast..... "Marvelous fluid known as mother’s milk" means raw milk. She told me that I had cracked her PhD code speak when I saw her at the conference. We both had a serious but good laugh.

You will notice that at the bottom of the article about her research it says funded by " CDRF Check off dollars". That means funded by GOT MILK? She has political minefield to cross as she stays true to her studies and research.

Dave Milano's picture

Dave:

Very nice--thanks for the link

tomm culhane = shades of terry dean nemmers. Ugh.

Ken and John M: no point in trying to tell the truth here with the rabid outlook of people like tomm and Bill. They're right, the rest of us are wrong. Period. Don't waste your time with either of them.

BTW, there's plenty of room on this good Earth for many more people and all the animals too.

rawmilkmike's picture

How do we know whether we are in a"patriarchal" or "matriarchal" society?

Sylvia Gibson's picture

We live in a patriarchal society which is defined as a society organized and run by men. Men make the rules and dominate in business and government. Women are very slowly entering into this mans world, they are far from sharing an equal portion.

Of those groups of people who lived/live in a matriarchal society, they are few and far between. Women can behave no different than men and push for war just as the men do. Every group has plus and minuses.

rawmilkmike's picture

Are you saying gay men run our society?

rawmilkmike's picture

Why hasn't anyone commented on my "Right on Mark and Bill." post? Whether you agree or not, I would at least like to know that everyone knows what I am saying.

rawmilkmike's picture

Opening your mouth is inherently dangerous but can you say the same for raw milk?

rawmilkmike's picture

Looks like no one wants to talk about milk. Oh well.

ingvar's picture

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all of you and yours.

I'm making individual flans (coffee and regular) garnished or really, served, with blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

A big Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours, too, Ingvar, as well as, to all on this forum. May all of you have a wonderful day of sharing, enjoying and giving thanks for all the many blessings that each of you have been bestowed with. We do indeed have much to be thankful for!

Ingvar, I sure wish I was there to sample your flans, they sound absolutely delectable! I made a batch of rich, creamy ricotta from Mark's wonderful OPDC's raw milk and raw cream, which will be made into an old world style Ricotta Cheesecake from a very old (many generations) recipe. It will be served with a maple pumpkin glaze and topped with freshly whipped raw cream.

This will be the first year I can recall not cooking for a holiday since I've been married. Feels strange. We are on the last leg of our journey home after the cruise/wedding and I'm beat right down to my socks. We had a few hiccups during the past two weeks and I was glad to see the backside of the trip. I think DH and I will probably haul in luggage and collapse onto the couches and stay there for a week! Definitely eating out this year. Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving with plenty to eat and a nice comfy Laz-y-boy to relax in afterward!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

A day for Thanks, good food, good company and good rest!

The flans with fruit do sound wonderful. Deborah I'd love to try your old world style cheesecake recipe. D. Smith, hopefully this long weekend allows you the earned rest!

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Sylvia - have David give you my email & I will send you the recipe, it's been in my uncle's family for many generations. The recipe includes how to make homemade ricotta cheese & once you do, you'll never want to buy store bought ricotta cheese (even if it's the fancy, expensive kind) ever again! This cheesecake is not like today's cheesecake where they all have graham cracker crusts or the other crusts, this is truly rustic, authentic cheesecake. The flavor is absolutely incredible! By the way, I use the ricotta cheese for breakfast...spread some on toast, drizzle raw honey on it, top with thinly sliced strawberries...major yumo!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2236253/Flu-jabs-waste-taxpaye...

Geesh, they MAY shorten symptoms by 1/2 a day...and the same number of people are hospitalized... This report will no doubt, be buried and ignored.

I post this, for 2 reasons;
1) research on the effectiveness is important and sharing information is also important
2) I think this correlates along the same lines as the dogma in regards to raw dairy (including all healthy foods)

There have been the few known studies about the positive effects of raw dairy (and healthy foods) yet those studies are usually very poorly disparaged and the media, big corps and govt promoting the known toxins as safe, etc.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Sylvia - did you catch the link for another article, "'Fever can be a child's friend': New research claims a high temperature could actually help children get better" within this link you posted? You know, it just irritates me to see stuff like this...of course fever can be helpful, it's the body's way of dealing with an illness, a way to heal & this kind of knowledge was known many, many years ago among natural healers. Again here is another instance of fear mongering....oh, oh, the child has a fever, quick get this child to the hospital or doctor!!! It is sad, but common sense knowledge about the body's way of healing & functioning is almost non-existent today!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Deborah,

I sent a request to David for yoru email. I look forward to trying the cheesecake and making the cheese!

I saw the title, but didn't read the story. I vaguely recall in nursing school, one of the instructors said basically what you quoted about fevers and children. There was also something about fevers in micro or biology class about it too (It's been eons ago so don't recall exactly where I heard it).

Seems simple, the body is attacking whatever invader there is, which all that action causes energy which in turn causes heat.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Super, Sylvia, I'll get that sent off to you once I get home. I'm sitting at my gate in Denver for my flight back to San Diego via LAX, yep, a bit of a round about way! Spent the last few days with the good cath & EP folks at Exempla St Joe's in Denver. Also ran into an EP physician friend of mine that I used to work with in La Jolla at Scripps Memorial. It was great to see him & got a big hug from him. I didn't know that he was now in Denver!

D. I'll send you a copy, too, I know you'll like it, too.

@ Deborah: Yes please, send me the recipes and also post it at the new forum if you would please. A lot of people read at my forum (although not at the new one yet because I haven't had much time to work on it and I haven't yet sent out the link to anyone but you) but they love to read recipes. It's mostly a bunch of women from a literary club Yahoo! Group where I used to be quite active. Hopefully I'll have more time to work on additions to the forum a little here and there as I've been doing, and then more by mid-week next week. We just got home about three hours ago and now that I've let go of the stress of traveling, I feel like I've been through the wringer! We could have been home about six hours sooner but we decided to stop and visit my 88 year old father-in-law in a town that was only a short distance off the beaten path (i.e., I-90). It was nice to see him but I'm sure glad to be home.

churchlanefarm's picture

My daughter posted this on Facebook. It certainly brings back memories and there is a lot more that could be added however I will leave it as is. Ken

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."
The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or future generations."
She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Ken, That really brings back forgotten memories.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Ken - I saw that on FBI, too! Yes, it is a great piece & so spot on! Makes one long for those days again, it definitely puts things in perspective.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Oh how I wish we had an edit button....I meant to type "FB" (for Facebook) not, "FBI"!!

@ Ken: I received this as an email several years ago and I think it was titled "I recycled before it was fashionable" or something like that. I've maintained for a long time that we need to pay attention to what people did (right and wrong) in the past or we're bound to make the same errors at some point. I thought I was alone in my thinking, but there are a few posters here who indicate they feel the same. Thank heavens! Someone mentioned having learned a lot from the Native Americans and I feel the same. In the area where I live we are surrounded by several Reservations, so my husband and I started gathering information from them and about them quite a few years ago. Fascinating stuff if more people would only bother to ask and listen. The Indians saw a plowed field and said "it's upside down - the grass should be on the top, not on the bottom". How right they were.

rawmilkmike's picture

"professional scientific opinion" Could someone please tell me. What is a professional scientist and a scientific opinion?

rawmilkmike's picture

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

We are living in California and Wisconsin for the time being and I can tell you that it is definitely NOT easy to get your raw milk suppy in Wisconsin. I dearly miss our milk from the Zinnikers. It was the best tasting we've ever had. Our family was sickened during the same time, but we strongly believe that it was from lunchmeat as we did not have our milk while we were on vacation in another state. We came back and I was the last one to come down with it and had to go get antibiotics in WI. You guessed it, they added our family of 5 to their list of illnesses. Lesson learned....never answer the phone from the public health department or private number and if you do, you have the right to not answer their questions.

When we permanently move back this fall, we will certainly be getting our beef from the Zinnikers. Where we get our milk is another issue. In California we have gotten our raw milk at the grocery when in a pinch and have also been able to obtain it from a farm privately. it will be interesting going back to being "underground".

I was also very impressed by Senator Grothmann when I attended the raw milk hearing. I still think, however, that as free citizens we have the right to privately obtain our food from our neighbors without government intervention of any kind. We intend to continue obtaining much of our food this way, as our ancestors have always done.

rawmilkmike's picture

Karen, I don't think it matters whether we have the right to food choice or not sense I don't believe our regulation were ever intended to be used to force us to buy food we don't what. That is something the state has taken upon themselves.

Sure the state has the authority to regulate milk production but that authority comes from us. So I don't believe they can legally ignore our demand for raw milk.

By the way what is the milk like in California and why is it that raw milk drinkers still seem to have a problem with the law out there?

rawmilkmike's picture

Has anyone seen the documentary “The Business of Being Born” and more importantly the four part sequel called “More Business of Being Born”? I've watched them on Netflix and they're fabulous.

These programs show how our mothers and children are running into the same corrupt medical profession as the raw milk movement. I've been in the hospital for the births of all four of my children and have seen it first hand.

Has anyone else had the same experience or better yet has anyone had a natural childbirth or perhaps know someone who has?

@ rawmilkmike: I've not seen the documentary but I've seen several like it. The message is clear: watch out for doctor's/hospitals/medicine nowadays, and take care of yourself - don't depend on a doctor to do it for you.

Thankfully when my three children were born we had few issues. Wish I'd done homebirths but in the '70's those where not even possible in my area because we had no midwives, no one had ever even heard of a doula, and my gramma's (who had home births, of course) were too old to be assisting me in such a venture. But I had no drugs with any of them, except I did have pure oxygen (which is now considered a drug) with my first because she was born backwards and upside down. In other words she was breech with posterior presentation. I call her my sunny side up girl because she is the only girl I have! I had no drugs (I wasn't even offered anything), no machines until my #3 child (the beeping drove me insane and I told them I didn't want the monitor thing on, or I'd leave) and had three healthy babies. Between viable births 2 and 3 I had a miscarriage after a fall from my horse, not knowing I was pregnant. Back then you didn't find out you were pregnant in six hours like today. During the span between baby #2 and live baby #3, things changed immensely and I couldn't just ask for something, I had to demand it. So, between 1977 and 1987 things went straight into the sh*tter for the common man, as far as medical "rights".

And yes, the same scenario is now being replayed along those same lines with the raw milk movement. We can't just ask politely anymore, we are to the point of having to demand things. I have a feeling none of this is going to go well, however, because when people demand something it tends to upset the big boys. They often retaliate in unseemly fashion, as we are already beginning to witness.

rawmilkmike's picture

Yes it would be nice if we could get one or two big boys on our side. Speaking of on our side, does anyone know if Vernon's lawyer drinks raw milk?