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News for March 9, 2010

Venture capitalists meet with local, organic farmers to revolutionize food

David Wilhelm, the venture capitalist who managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, will meet with local and organic farmers in Chicago on Thursday. So will venture capitalists from the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, professors from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and Woody Tasch, who has channeled $130 million to sustainable projects through a non-profit organization called Slow Money.

From skyscraper and prairie, in suits and overalls, they’ll gather at the fencepost in hopes of building profitable networks to deliver local food to restaurants, grocers and consumers in Chicago, and to build a model, perhaps, for the local-food movement nationwide.

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Literary Legend, Poet and Farmer Wendell Berry to Speak - May 3, 2010 - Arlington, VA

Our food—once raised primarily by neighbors for neighbors —takes center plate this spring as Arlington Reads 2010 looks at the movement away from industrial mass production back to safer, healthier meals grown through local, sustainable means. In the 21st century, “You are what you eat” has never had bigger ramifications.

Arlington Reads is Arlington Public Library’s annual one-book, one-community initiative to promote discussion and the joy of reading throughout the County. It is made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.

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Legislation reconsiders 1950s law on milk pasteurization

Some people like their milk ice cold with cookies, others prefer it with chocolate. Some like to buy pasteurized milk from a grocery store, others want fresh, raw milk from a farm.

For the past 50 years, Wisconsin law has allowed residents to enjoy milk and cookies, mix their moo juice with chocolate and buy all sorts of milk at the supermarket. But Wisconsinites couldn't get raw milk unless they had an in with a farmer.

That soon could change. The state Legislature is considering a bill that would roll back a 1959 law that requires all milk sold in the state to be pasteurized, a process that involves heating milk to kill microscopic pathogens.

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State lawsuit over raw milk sale headed to trial

A Greene County judge allowed a state lawsuit over the sale of raw milk by a Laclede County farm to continue on Friday, but indicated that the intent of the dairy law upon which the suit is based could be up for debate at the trial.

While the sale of raw milk is legal in Missouri, the issue of where it's being sold is at the center of the case. Raw milk from the Bechard Family Farm was purchased by two undercover agents from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department last summer. In addition to the state suit, the city of Springfield has charged proprietor Armand Bechard with operating a food establishment without a permit. Bechard's attorney Gary Cox talked to KSPR 33 about what constitutes a farm:

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Plano dairy farm seeing increased demand for raw milk

Lavon Farms, a hidden dairy on Jupiter Road in Plano, has seen a drastic increase in the demand for raw milk. Customers are paying as much as $8 for a gallon, said Todd Moore, a third-generation dairyman and Lavon Farm’s owner.

“We sold 250 gallons of raw milk last Saturday,” Moore said. “There isn’t a single grocery store in Plano that sold 250 gallons of milk.”

A month ago, Moore reached out to Denton’s Cupboard Natural Foods grocery store in an attempt to sell his product, he said. Now customers can find Lucky Layla products, the processing branch of the Lavon Farms family tree, in stock at the Cupboard.

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Raw Milk 'Test' Set for Wednesday

What better place to have a national confrontation between food safety experts and raw milk advocates than in "cheese head central" – Eau Claire, Wis. That's what'll happen on Wednesday, March 10, when a joint hearing by the state's Assembly and Senate ag committees is called into session over bills introduced in both houses.

The Campaign for Real Milk, spearheaded by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit nutrition education foundation, expects a strong turnout at the raw milk hearing to weigh the merits of bills that would legalize the sale of raw milk and raw milk products.

You can check them out by clicking on them: General Assembly (AB 628) and Senate (SB 434). For background on the situation, see blog Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero, http://hartkeisonline.com/2010/03/01/wisconsin-raw-milk-ground-zero/.

"Anybody who cares about raw milk and food freedom needs to take this opportunity to show their support by attending this event," says Kathryne Pirtle, author of Performance without Pain, which details her recovery from chronic illness using raw milk products. "I'm anticipating over 1,000 people will attend the hearing. We must rally in Wisconsin for the changes that need to happen in our entire country in regards to raw milk."

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New state dairy regulations irk small producers

JUNEAU — The state’s plan to change regulations on milk and homemade cheese production has sparked howls from the Interior. The regulation change, proposed last year by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, drew residents and business owners Monday to call for exemptions for smaller operations.

The regulations focus on health implications of the production and sale of milk and milk products.

But families, small-business owners and others sounded a common theme Monday, urging that small operators be exempt from the rules. Some in particular said registered “home farms” — households producing 10 gallons of milk or less per day — should be able to sell pasteurized milk and milk products outside the new regulations.

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