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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for February 13, 2010

To make school food healthy, Michelle Obama has a tall order

First lady Michelle Obama's new campaign against childhood obesity, dubbed "Let's Move," puts improvements to school food at the top of the agenda. Some 31 million children participate in federal school meal programs, Obama noted in announcing her initiative last week, "and what we don't want is a situation where parents are taking all the right steps at home -- and then their kids undo all that work with salty, fatty food in the school cafeteria," she explained. "So let's move to get healthier food into our nation's schools."

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A Balance Between the Factory and the Local Farm

INDUSTRIAL food production is not very fashionable right now.

Three books by Michael Pollan criticizing the system of giant corporate farms and food factories have topped the best-seller lists. A graphic documentary, “Food, Inc.,” based in part on his books, has been nominated for an Academy Award.

In Washington, Michelle Obama grew vegetables on the White House lawn as an example of self-sufficiency. And across America, more farmers’ markets and restaurants have popped up that sell vegetables and meat produced on small farms.

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USDA imposes new standards for milk to qualify as organic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed strict new standards for what kind of milk qualifies as organic: Cows must get plenty of fresh grass and spend at least four months a year grazing in pastures.

The rules, which will go into effect June 17, are aimed at standardizing industry practices and easing consumer concerns about how the milk they buy is created. 

Current rules require milk marketed as organic to come from cows whose feed was grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified seeds. Herds can't be treated with hormones or antibiotics.

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Ontario appeals acquittal of controversial dairyman

The Ontario government is appealing the acquittal of raw-milk producer Michael Schmidt, a move that signals the battle for the legal trade of raw milk in the province is far from over.

Three weeks ago, a justice of the peace in Newmarket, Ont., acquitted the controversial dairyman from 19 charges related to public health and milk marketing on the basis that Mr. Schmidt's cow-share program, which provides raw milk to consumers who are "part owners" of the bovines, did not violate Ontario laws.

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Raw milk crusader says province wasting time with appeal

TORONTO — The Ontario government is wasting its time by appealing a court ruling that found raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt was not guilty of violating the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Durham-based farmer and activist said Friday.

The Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed it is appealing last month's decision by a justice of the peace to dismiss 19 charges against Schmidt to the Ontario Court of Justice, but did not elaborate on the reasons.

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Raw milk appeal filed

A justice of the peace “erred in law” when he acquitted Michael Schmidt on charges of selling raw milk, says a notice of appeal filed by the Crown in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket Thursday.

The Crown wants the Ontario Court of Justice to overturn the Jan. 21 acquittal of Michael Schmidt by justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky and convict the Grey County farmer of violating sections the Milk Act and The Health Protection and Promotion Act between Aug. 17 and Nov 22, 2006. The Crown is also seeking an unspecified penalty against Schmidt. As an alternative, the Crown wants an order for a new trial.

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