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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for November 23, 2010

Raw Milk Gaining Momentum Despite Crackdown

There is an underground culture in Berkshire County, literally. More and more families, against all odds, are opting for raw milk over pasteurized and homogenied supermarket milk.

Raya Ariella, coordinator for a raw milk club based in Alford, said that despite continued pressure from the state Department of Agricultural Resources, the demand for raw milk in the area has increased over the last three years.

READ MORE (iBerkshires) ]

Raw Milk Restrictions

One of my fondest memories from childhood is of fresh raw milk being delivered right to our door by the wife of one of the local farmers in our small Kansas town. The thick layer of cream that was settled on top was the stuff culinary dreams are made of and sibling battles were waged over. My son has never had the pleasure of tasting anything other than store bought milk. With the government currently in a debate over whether dairy farmers will have the right to sell raw milk here in the U.S. he may never get the chance. Laws regarding the sale of raw milk vary from state to state, and heavy restrictions apply where its sale is legal. Pasteurization of milk started in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s during a time in history when dairy producers were not as knowledgeable and sanitation conscious as they are today and diseases such as typhoid were unchecked. It seems strange today that the sale of tobacco products, known to be life threatening and unsafe for humans, continues with a mere label warning. Instead of outlawing raw milk, slap a warning label on it if need be, and allow people the right to choose whether they drink their milk pasteurized or raw.

READ MORE (AgInfo) ]

Milk Mania: Raw milk debate heats up

Three years ago, dairy farmer James Nors pondered whether to expand his dairy operation in Hill County or get out of the business altogether. Instead, he went with a third option -- selling raw milk directly from his farm.

"It turned out there was a pretty good market for this kind of milk," he said.

READ MORE (Country World) ]

Raw milk 101: The difference between raw milk/pasteurized milk

This will be the last in a five part series on raw milk; however, with all it's benefits, one could go on and on. Not only is raw milk a boon to health, and an economic boost for small farmers, it also has a benevolent effect on Mother Earth.

When a cow grazes on pasture, it releases, quite frankly, poop. That lovely manure has some pleasant benefits for the soil: it replenishes the nutrients back to the soil. You see, the cow eats the grass, which is hard for humans to digest fully (we don't have a stomach with four chambers to handle this task); the cows transform this carbohydrate into a very digestible protein for their young and humans: milk; and then replenish the field with manure, that then creates more rich green grass.

READ MORE (Examiner) ]

Local Meat for Foodies

It all started last year, when I tried and failed to find a local turkey for Thanksgiving. I defined “local” as raised and processed entirely in San Diego County. This year, I decided to find local meat. I was up for anything: steer, chicken, lamb, turkey. Even buffalo would do.

It would be an understatement to say I had a tough time. Several local butchers told me that local meat didn’t exist because there were no United States Department of Agriculture approved and certified slaughter facilities in San Diego County. Chefs told me they used local beef and poultry and then explained that “local” meant from Brandt Beef, which is raised in the Imperial Valley, or Niman Ranch, which is headquartered in Alameda and buys from ranches all over the country, including Northern California. Vegetable farmers told me they hadn’t heard of anyone raising animals for eating. It seemed impossible. And that’s what I reported in the Reader’s October 7 “Restaurant Issue 2010.” I wrote that local meat didn’t exist in San Diego County.

READ MORE (San Diego Reader) ]

Why Food Safety Advocates are Throwing Small Farmers Under the Bus

Produce, milk, meat, eggs, nuts, and all manner of processed foods have made people sick in recent years, and Congress has been understandably itching to cook up a big pot of food safety legislation. The result, Senate Bill 510, is likely headed for a vote soon in the current lame-duck session.

On the surface, food safety is an issue most everyone can get behind. But 510′s regulatory details offer plenty of points for contention. Small farmers and their supporters, as could be expected, are pitted against the large food factories. And the factory farmers have an unlikely ally: the food safety crowd, many of whom are motivated by the firsthand experience of losing a loved one to food poisoning.

READ MORE (Faster Times) ]

‘Farmageddon’ doc tracks the coming food-safety showdown

The Senate's food-safety bill, which we debated in depth here on Grist, will likely come to a vote next week. But even if it passes and gets signed into law by President Obama -- and I expect it will -- it's unlikely to resolve fights that are brewing about risk in the food system, particularly the risks embodied by small-scale, artisanal (sorry, Bonnie) dairy and meat producers.

I was grappling with this issue this very weekend, reading Burkhard Bilger's New Yorker profile of fermentation guru Sando Katz and Bill Neuman's New York Times piece on a small-scale cheese producer's fight with the FDA. As if on cue, the trailer for a coming-soon documentary on just these issues, called Farmageddon, has crossed my desk. It features Raw Milk Revolution author David Gumpert, who's written several articles about raids on farms for Grist.

READ MORE (Grist) ]

One More Bite At the Apple: Only a Little Time to Call Senators to Head off SB 510; Time to Feed Chickens Raw Dairy?

I swear, you have to be a parliamentary expert to figure out what's happening with the so-called food safety legislation, S 510. But in a nutshell, it's very close to passage in the U.S. Senate. When that happens, the Senate version will go to the House, which previously passed a similar version, and then to President Obama, who has committed himself to signing whatever Congress passes on food safety.

The pressure is on to pass this thing now, in a lame-duck session with holdovers already voted out of office, since the new Congress may well be less inclined to sanction the kind of broad clampdown on rights this legislation includes, not to mention the budgetary strains of hiring a new army of food inspectors.

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]




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