SILVER SPRING, Maryland, November 1, 2011 – A group of mothers plans to break the law today by enjoying milk and cookies outside the headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland. The crime: drinking and distributing raw, unpasteurized milk that was purchased across state lines.
Mother of five Liz Reitzig is one of the women leading the charge. Co-Founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition
, Reitzig has been an outspoken activist for the rights of consumers to buy and consume the foods they believe to be healthiest for their families and for the rights of small farms to operate without government harassment.
Reitzig and another dozen “raw milk freedom riders”
will pick up fresh milk from a farm in Pennsylvania and then transport it to Maryland where they expect hundreds to join a rally outside FDA headquarters. Speakers at the rally include Weston A. Price Foundation
president Sally Fallon Morell, Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy
, and Polyface Farms
’ Joel Salatin, featured in the book Omnivore’s Dilemma and several documentary films, including Farmageddon
whose producer, Kristin Canty will also appear.
Joining the bill to speak with these and others stars of the farm freedom movement is Michael Schmidt
, founder of Cow Share Canada. Schmidt has been fasting since September 29 to protest the Canadian government’s heavy hand in the food choices of its citizens and prosecutions against cow shares that meet legal standards. Many activists throughout the U.S. and Canada have joined Schmidt’s Hunger Strike for Responsible Food Freedom, which was one of the motivating factors in the timing of today’s demonstration and rally, which the FDA has been invited via video
Reitzig explained that the first goal for the November 1 event are to push for a change in FDA policy that makes it a crime to transport raw milk over state lines, even if it the purchase is legal in the state and the consumer brings the product to the state where he or she lives. The other important goal is to get the FDA and the USDA to back off small farms. “There is no place on our peaceful family farms for guns and raids,” Reitzig said, calling it a waste of money to use government resources to raid farms
and to enforce the interstate commerce rule.
Reitzig said that she and other farm freedom activists feel a deep sense of unsettlement with the aggression of the government. Why should it turn people into criminals for the act of purchasing food that should be entirely lawful? When Reitzig’s first child was young, she presented with health issues that improved when she stopped drinking pasteurized milk and improved further when she started drinking raw milk. Many mothers, including filmmaker Canty, have similar stories of turning to raw milk not only as a basic source of nutrition but as a healing food for children who are ill. Who is the government, they ask, to tell them not to give their children food that they thrive on?
Whether others choose to consume raw milk is not the point. It’s the right to do so freely that is at stake. The activists planning today’s rally hope to raise awareness about the waste of government money on restricting the choices of consumers and to bring a groundswell that will result in change.
More details are available on the author’s blog
Jessica Claire Haney is a freelance writer, editor and tutor. Her writing has appeared in parenting publications and poetry journals. A former high school English teacher, Jessica is mother to a five-year-old son and a baby girl. She is passionate about holistic health and well-being and is a leader of a chapter of Holistic Moms Network.
Jessica’s blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama, crunchychewymama.com, and her writer’s site is jessicaclairehaney.com.
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This holistic mom dreams of a day when all kids -- and adults -- eat foods with only recognizable ingredients. Paying attention is not an option for me; it's a necessity.
A few years ago, my body started breaking down and let me know I wasn’t like all those other Jessicas who were still in their twenties. I began making the rounds of alternative health practitioners and nutritionists to deal with stomach problems, thyroid problems, chronic grumpiness, and infertility, issues that my doctors weren't addressing with any success. With a lot of help and a bunch of lifestyle changes, I managed to work my way back to healthy and happy. And pregnant!
Now a full-on convert to natural family living and a mom to a three-year-old, I’m on a mission to share my insights -- and my persistent questions -- about nutrition and holistic health with other moms and with anyone else looking for something that will work and feel good when other stuff doesn’t. As a leader of a local chapter of Holistic Moms Network, I've tried to build a community that supports other parents in making healthy decisions for their families.
My writing has appeared in parenting publications and poetry journals. I blog about life on the alternative/mainstream divide at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, and I'm a contributor for DC Metro Moms.
Contact Jessica Claire Haney