Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods.
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News for May 23, 2010

Raw Milk Safety Is One Thing, But When It Comes to Collusion and Restraint of Trade, Count Me Out

A reader emailed me questioning how I could suggest farmers partake of civil disobedience. "It strikes me as somewhat irresponsible to be recommending farmers break the law to make a point about rights. Easy for you to recommend that since it doesn't affect your income...."

I'd like to answer that, but before I do, I think an explanation of how I got to where I am is in order. Even though I've extolled civil disobedience as an option at different times, I've mostly encouraged farmers and consumers to work through the system to gain acceptance for raw milk. Heck, I've even come down against farmers I thought might be cutting corners that could lead to illnesses, and against the Weston A. Price Foundation for being overly defensive in denying outbreaks.

READ MORE (The Complete Patient) ]

Washington food fight pits big producers against local farms

There's a food fight under way between Capitol Hill and the Agriculture Department, and it's about small potatoes

Organic small potatoes.

READ MORE (Miami Herald) ]

Why I support raw milk

In the final few weeks of this Legislative Session, over 100 bills landed on the governor's desk. The one that generated the most intense feeling is the bill that would have legalized the sale of raw (unpasteurized) milk if you had a Grade A license, maintain records for each sale and have the milk tested for certain disease-causing microorganisms, including salmonella.

A farmer could not advertise, except for signs on the farm. The farmer would also have to place warnings about unpasteurized milk on containers.

READ MORE (BizTimes) ]

Rep. Danou Already Calling for Veto Override on Raw Milk

One of the co-sponsors of the raw milk bill says he's so passionate about the issue that he may try to organize an override of Governor Jim Doyle's veto of the measure. Rep. Chris Danou blamed 'special interests' for convincing the governor that the dairy industry and overall health of Wisconsin citizens would be at risk if unpasteurized milk was allowed to be sold directly to consumers. Doyle killed the bill on Wednesday after consulting with public health officials and dairy industry leaders during recent weeks.

"This is a classic example of special interest able to exercise their influence, their undue influence they have on the capitol and really abligate the will of the people and I am particularly disappointed by the public health community, I think they abdicated their responsibilities to organizations that do not have public health concerns in mind," Danou said.

READ MORE (Wisconisn Ag Connection) ]

Dairyline: Increasing yield overwhelms decline in herd size

The bears kind of took the bulls by the horns this week. April milk production in the 23 major states totaled 15.2 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from April 2009, according to the latest Milk Production report. Output in all 50 states, at 16.4 billion pounds, was up 1.5 percent from a year ago. March revised production, at 15.4 billion, was up 0.9 percent from March 2009. The revision represented an increase of 9 million pounds from last month's preliminary estimate.

Milk cow numbers in the 23 states totaled 8.33 million head, up 3,000 from March, but 155,000 less than a year ago. Production per cow averaged 1,823 pounds, up 63 pounds from 2009.

READ MORE (Capital Press) ]

Community farm produces fresh food for members

Geiger is an old-fashioned sort of farmer. But he uses whatever he finds useful in modern technology, such as tractors and related equipment, as well as many of the old tried-and-true methods. The farm he manages is one of the oldest in Wilton, dating to the mid-1700s.

Four Corners Farm on Isaac Frye Highway is the home of the Temple-Wilton Community Farm, probably the oldest Community Supported Agriculture operation in the country, dating to 1985. Traugher Groh brought the idea with him from Europe and what interested Geiger and Anthony Graham is the concept of having a farm supported by shareholders. They began full operations in 1986.

READ MORE (Nashua Telegraph) ]

Raw Milk Cancer Cure?

If you have not heard of "BAMLET" and "HAMLET" get ready to learn something that could change how you view mothers, cows and other mammals from this day forward.

For years I have dreamed of being able to purchase whole raw milk. The Weston Price Foundation and others have documented the healthy effects for years.

READ MORE (Pdazzler) ]

Milk: Processed to Death?

You wouldn't drop an extra couple ounces of breakfast cereal into each box just to make sure you meet the minimum package weight. You wouldn't set a filler to give away six extra ounces of milk with every gallon. So why are dairy plants pasteurizing milk far in excess of sterilization requirements, in the process wasting energy and degrading the taste of the finished product?

So asks Warren Taylor, a process engineer turned self-proclaimed "dairy evangelist" preaching the gospel of minimal processing. His small Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy, Ohio, pasteurizes milk at 165 degrees F for less than 20 seconds, far below what conventional dairies do but safely above the FDA's Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) minimum requirement of 161 degrees F for 15 seconds.

READ MORE (Food Processing) ]

Michael Pollan chronicles rise of the food movement(s)

In what is ostensibly a five-book review for the June 10 New York Review of Books, journalist Michael Pollan has an epic essay charting the emergence and character of the food movement. Or, as he puts it, "movements." They are unified, for now at least, by little more than the recognition that industrial food production is in need of reform, "because its social/environmental/public health/animal welfare/gastronomic costs are too high." (Pollan, of course, has been indispensable to the rise of this movement, even though he omits his 2006 best-seller, The Omnivore's Dilemma, from his list of its catalysts -- among them Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Marion Nestle's Food Politics.)

READ MORE (Grist) ]

PepsiCo to invest $2.5 billion in China in 3 years, eyes organic growth

World's biggest maker of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages PepsiCo Inc (PEP) said, Friday, it will invest $2.5 billion in China over the next three years to tap its booming economy.

"This investment reflects very clearly our great confidence in China and our long-term commitment to this very important, growing market," PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said in a statement.

READ MORE (International Business Times) ]

Feed The Future Guide For Obama Administration's Food Security Plan Released

The Obama administration's Feed the Future initiative will focus efforts on scaling up local food production in a small number of countries, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said Thursday during a speech outlining the principles in the Feed the Future Guide, which was released at a daylong symposium, Reuters reports (Abbott, 5/20).

The initiative, which will work in 12 African countries, four Asian countries and four Latin American and Caribbean countries, requires the nations "to draw up their own development plans, which could include everything from establishing research stations and breeding better seed to giving farmers access to credit, insurance and markets," the Wall Street Journal writes. The new strategy "would be a break from the recent past in which the U.S. has largely helped hungry nations by spending roughly $2 billion annually to donate U.S.-grown food, a strategy that has aided U.S. farmers and shippers," according to the newspaper, which also notes that most of the initiative's budget "has yet to be approved by Congress" (Kilman, 5/21).

READ MORE (Kaiser Family Foundation) ]

A green movement grows in rural China

This small village on the Zouma River - inside the municipal boundaries of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province - is the site of a fascinating effort to fight one of China's biggest problems: the dangerous levels of pollution in its rivers and streams.

"In the last 30 years, China's economic miracle has helped pull millions from poverty, but has put tremendous pressure on its ecosystems," said Ma Jun, whose 1999 book "China's Water Crisis" has been compared to Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." "Sixty percent of our rivers are polluted," and "300 million rural residents have no clean drinking water."


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