Reflections of a Raw Milk Consumer and Advocate – How Did I Get to This Place of Supporting Michael Schmidt

As I sit in my office at 10 p.m. on Tuesday the 25th of October without solid food in my stomach because I have been doing the solidarity fast in support of Michael Schmidt, I have been doing some deep thinking.  This evening a client asked me why I got into this.  She knows how busy my practice and my life are and wondered what ever possessed me to become so involved in this raw milk issue.  We talked about food rights and starting to pay attention to what our government is doing to our rights to choose.  I realized again how little the general public knows about raw milk and about food rights.  It got me thinking about how I got to this place of activist myself.

 

So how did I get into this?  As a nutritionist, a mother and a grandmother, I have paid very close attention to food issues for the past decade.  During a month long walk across Spain in 2007 on the Camino I had my first glass of raw milk.  I didn’t get congested from it.  I didn’t spend the whole night coughing as pasteurized dairy had done to me.  I was intrigued and found myself wanting more.  Of course in Ontario it is illegal to buy raw milk even if it does make me feel better.  On arriving back into Ontario I started searching.  First I found the Weston A. Price Foundation and from there a chapter leader just outside my area.  Through her I was able to acquire some raw milk.  That started a consciousness shift that has led to being very involved in an advocacy role for raw milk and food rights.  Joining the Weston A. Price Foundation and reading just about everything on their website, I started to realize that a lot of what I had been taught about low fat, sugar free etc. was bunk.

 

After drinking raw milk, making my own yogurt, learning about cultured milk and reading Nourishing Traditions from cover to cover, I decided if I was going to use this product and encourage my children to use it and feed it to my grandchildren I better learn as much as I could.  Alas I am the kind of person who needs to know everything there is to know about every subject that interests me.  I guess I’m a little like my Dad that way.  I started learning about Michael Schmidt and his long battle with the government and decided to attend Cow Share College 1.  I was actually at the very first Cow Share College and was privileged to hear Tim Whitman speak as well as Michael.  That first college class convinced me that I was doing the right thing drinking this milk and that I needed to find a farmer who was going through the process of accreditation with Cow Share Canada.  I found that farmer at the meeting and found the peace of mind that knowing the milk and cows are tested according to strict standards provided.

 

The more I read the Weston A. Price Foundation website (www.westonaprice.org) the more I was convinced that this message needs to get out to the public in Ontario.  I became a chapter leader myself and started to visit farms and learn from farmers.  This blog started as a result of those visits with farmers.

 

When Cow Share College 2 came up, even though it was meant more for the farmer, I decided to attend.  I am very glad that I did as I learned a great deal from both Michael and the farmers who attended.  It has been a whirlwind couple of years of learning and changing the way that I teach nutrition in my practice.  I have made wonderful friends with various farmers and that has added to my life in a very positive way.

 

So this brings us to the present.  Right now in Canada there is a battle on with the government to look at old and antiquated laws around raw milk.  Michael Schmidt is on a hunger strike and thousands have come out of the woodwork to support him.  It’s incredible how this whole movement has grown in the past month.  Four days ago someone started a Support Michael Schmidt group on Facebook.  From 1 person it is now at 3819 people and is still growing.  Thousands are calling the premiers office, writing letters to politicians and keeping the pressure on for dialogue between Michael and Dalton McGuinty.

 

After being at both Cow Share College’s and hearing Michael speak, I have realized what an honest and sincere man he is.  For those who have not had the privilege of meeting him, there is a misconception amongst some that he is a rabble rouser and trouble maker.   This could not be more misguided.  He is definitely not that. He is a man with very strong convictions and because of the energy of sincerity that he oozes, people who want raw milk and the freedom to choose our own food follow him and support him.  Every movement for change needs a strong leader and we are fortunate in Canada to have this man of German origin who speaks his truth and stands up for what he believes.   I have gained great respect for this man and will do anything I can to help him and Cow Share Canada to find a way to supply us raw milk in a legal and regulated way.

 

The concerning factor to me at this time is that our government is ignoring the thousands of phone calls, e-mails and letters.  They are ignoring the letter Michael wrote asking for an audience with the prime minister.   What is happening is that people who were not activists in the past are becoming activists because whether they want raw milk or not they do want the right to choose what foods they eat.  This whole thing has fueled my activist heart and has made me more determined to see this through.  Our small farmers are being slowly and quietly pushed out of farming by regulations and rules that don’t make a lot of sense to those of us on the outside.  It seems to me that it’s all about supply management and that means it’s about money and not health.  We have the milk police and the chicken police because dairy and chickens are a supply managed commodity in Ontario.  Why do we need police in food production?  The answer is simple from my perspective.  Money……..  NOT food safety.

 

In future I will never fall into the trap again of believing that our government cares about the little person.  What government cares about is money and saying and doing what it has to do to keep getting reelected.   Once this raw milk issue is settled and we have legal access to raw milk in Ontario and hopefully across Canada, I will continue to support the small farmers I have come to care about and the right to access their pastured eggs, grass fed beef and pastured pork and poultry.  In a supply management based system as we have in Ontario, there are many issues facing our small farmers and making it very hard for them to stay in business.  My family and my clients need healthy food and I need to make a difference so I guess to my list of credentials I need to add Food Rights Activist.  The saga continues………..

My last glass of raw milk this evening before bed is a toast to you Michael Schmidt and to my raw milk cow share farmer.

 

Margo McIntosh, Holistic Nutritionist, Certified GAPS Practitioner and Food Rights Activist.

 

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2 comments

  1. Absolutely spot-on post.

    Like you, I got to raw dairy later in life, and to my shame I did it for money…at first.

    Over time though my small herd of 4 dairy goats (that I exploited because $10 a gallon was easy money, or so I thought) grew to 15 milkers…and my understanding of what my motives should be grew as well.

    Now, due to health reasons (NOT raw dairy related for those who would say, “See…he’s prof it’s bad!”) I no longer have goats…but I try to stay active on issues regarding raw dairy…not just for the fact we should have the right to make our own nutritional choices, but also in defense of other rights we are losing both north and south of the border.

    Food Rights Activist. That’s a good credential to have achieved.

  2. I switched addictions. I went from intravenous cocaine use to drinking real raw milk. Sure it’s cheaper doing milk than cocaine but the health improvements go so way beyond quick high of “blow”. The real milk mooovement has introduced me to the greatest people, caring farmers and coproducers. I wouldn’t ever change my high! Like you, I am proud to call myself a Food Rights Activist and a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks

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