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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for August 27, 2010

FDA denies the fundamental right to choose your own food

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has been cracking down on dairy farmers whose raw, unpasteurized milk crosses state lines to out of state consumers. An enforcement action out of Philadelphia against an Amish farmer is one example of a trend.

Advocates of raw milk and its health properties are fighting back and in February of 2010, a group of raw milk consumers and sellers joined with the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund in filing a lawsuit claiming that the FDA’s regulations (21 CFR 1240.61 and 21 CFR 131.10) prohibiting raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce are unconstitutional.

READ MORE (Examiner) ]

Where To Find and Buy Delicious Raw Milk

I love milk. Raw milk, anyway. I never buy milk from the grocery store, even if it is organic. Raw is really the only way to drink it. You can read up on the so-called raw milk “debate” if you really want to, but just take my word: raw is better and it’s the healthiest way to enjoy milk. If it ain’t raw, it’s dead – devoid of nutrition and all the good things that make drinking milk actually healthy. (For more information on this subject, also consider Sandor Katz’s book, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.)

But perhaps you are not sure how to actually obtain raw milk. It is difficult, after all, considering every state has its own laws surrounding sales of the stuff. In many states, it’s downright illegal to sell. In others, you can get it only if you promise it’s for pet food (ha!), or if you go directly to the farm and purchase it. Thankfully, I live in a state where it is legal to buy directly from the farm. Even better, I can bike the 1.5 mile trip to my local dairy to get my raw milk fix whenever I want. (Did I mention that raw milk is especially superior for making cheese? It’s actually impossible to make many cheeses with pasteurized milk.)

READ MORE (Sustainblog) ]

Grist vs. New York Times: Debating Local Food

A tomato from California or from a nearby city garden? For the local food movement, there's no question—cut those food miles.

But journalist and self-described "liberal curmudgeon" Stephen Budiansky challenged this wisdom in a New York Times op-ed last week, declaring that local food is "not an end in itself, nor is it a virtue in itself." His article, titled "Math Lessons for Locavores," set off a wildfire of debate online about what it really means to eat local as well as the other aspects of sustainability, from seasonality to community.

READ MORE (The Atlantic) ]

The Local Food Debate Heats Up

"Eat local" has become such a commonly cited slogan that it's starting to lose its punch. You know an idea is getting shop-worn when major food retailers commandeer it, bumper stickers champion it, and no one blinks an eye when you talk about being into it. Even characters in movies are chatting about local food. (The Kids Are All Right, anyone?)

Luckily, the moment when an idea is becoming so commonplace as to be scarcely controversial is also the moment when we can finally start talking about what the heck it all means. It might seem, from a quick perusal of Stephen Budiansky's New York Times op ed and excellent set of rebuttals on Grist that I discussed in my last post, that the conversation, as James McWilliams put it, is one in which "we smugly embrace our favored positions while dismissing the enemy as either hippie/yuppie-elitists or corporate shills who do little more than build straw men."

READ MORE (Change.org) ]

Small Farmer Speaks Out about Raw Milk Access in Massachusetts

I own a small farm in Sandisfield, a small Berkshire County town which once had dozens of dairy farms. There are no others dairy cows here or in any neighboring town. People bring their children here to show them what a cow looks like. I might be the only person in The Commonwealth to have launched a dairy enterprise in the current mine filled landscape. I brought back land that hadn’t been farmed in years, and am negotiating for the use of adjoining pastureland which is for sale as house lots. It is beautiful, historic high ground the state has rejected for protection because the soil type isn’t a priority.

My personal investment in this business is now over $60,000. I am nurturing a small herd of milking shorthorn cattle on pasture.

READ MORE (Hartke) ]

Joshua’s Farm vs. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Brigitte Ruthman is 50 years old, a career journalist who now lives and runs a small 36 acre farm near the Sandisfield State Forest in Massachusetts. As a young girl she became fascinated with farm life, she begged her father to allow her to work on a number of farms in Connecticut, and Vermont. The lessons she learned as a teenage farm hand stayed with her. As she describes, the farm work “stung her with an infection she couldn’t ignore–a love for cows.”

Brigitte worked as a reporter for 30 years, even served as a bureau chief, and still works as a journalist today, while farming part-time in Sandisfield, population 800. On her farm she produces and sells eggs from a flock of 80 heirloom hens, Auracanas, Bantams and Barred Rocks. She raises a few pigs and has several cows.

READ MORE (Hartke) ]

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