Help Pass a County Resolution on “The Right to the Food of Our Choice”
PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO DRINK RAW MILK
AND HELP SUPPORT LOCAL FARMERS AND BUILD THE LOCAL ECONOMY
Why do we need a county resolution to protect our food rights?
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is making it increasingly difficult for people to obtain raw milk from their local farmers. Across the state the CDFA is issuing “cease and desist” orders to small, private dairy shares, including one in the fair town of Willits here in Mendocino County. A dairy share is when a group of people (who are unable to keep their own livestock) collectively purchase cows or goats and hire a farmer to feed, board and milk their animals and provide them with the dairy products.
The CDFA claims these arrangements are a threat to the public health and constitute an “illegal” commercial transaction of raw milk. Yes, they are serious. Recently a task force of agencies, including the CDFA, fronted by a SWAT team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, raided the Rawsome food buying club in Venice, California, seizing produce, destroying milk stocks, confiscating cash, and arresting the owners. The charges? Processing and sale of unpasteurized milk to club members. The owners of Evergreen Acres Goat Farm outside of San Jose, California are facing criminal charges from the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office for their dairy share operation. In none of these cases did any of the shareholders report any illnesses or problems with their milk. In fact, the shareholders have been outraged that the government can tell them what they can or cannot drink.
Why are the CDFA and other government agencies so concerned about dairy share farmers?Why are our scarce tax dollars being used to harass small dairy farmers instead of going to public libraries, healthier school lunch programs, renewable energy programs, or a thousand other pressing needs and problems? Humans have been drinking raw milk for roughly 10,000 years. Unfortunately, the milk most Americans get from the supermarket (homogenized, pasteurized, with additives such as nonfat milk solids, milk protein concentrates, synthetic vitamins A and D, and sometimes with recombinant bovine growth hormone) bears little resemblance to the milk our ancestors drank thousands of years ago. This has led more and more people to seek the option of drinking wholesome fresh milk from a local farmer that they trust. Could large commercial dairies feel threatened by this? Could the CDFA be representing large dairy interests?
Everyone has the right to the foods of their choice. And, we need small, local farmers now more than ever. The CDFA should not have the right to shut down dairy shares and to prevent people from drinking raw milk from local farmers. Especially during these difficult economic times our local family farms, food processing by individuals, families and small, locally-owned businesses offer stability to our rural way. It is not just dairy farmers that experience excessive government intervention. Apple cider, sauerkraut, wildcrafted mushrooms, seaweed, and canned goods are all made scarcer by a system that stands in the way of small producers. Small food processors have difficulty even getting straight answers from the Environmental Health department and the state about what is required to sell dried foods, canned foods, pickled foods, you name it. The people of Mendocino County must have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods, thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms and local food traditions.
What you can do to help. Help pass a county resolution on “The right to the food of our choice”
- Collect as many signatures as possible on the petition to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Set up tables at Farmer’s Markets, schools, churches, food co-ops and other places to collect signatures and share copies of the proposed resolution. Pass out petitions to your friends and ask them to collect signatures.
- Make an appointment with your representative on the County Board of Supervisors. Bring all the signed petitions you have collected and ask you representative to sponsor and/or support the resolution on “The right to the food of our choice.”
- Organize a showing of the documentary movie Farmageddon. The movie interviews small farmers across the nation who are being persecuted by county, state and federal agencies merely because they are trying to provide food for their local communities. Invite small farmers to speak on a panel following the movie. Invite local and county officials to attend the movie, too.
For more information contact Green Uprising Farm at 707 216-5549