November 24, 2011

Raw Milk Rally

Today I'm taking you out of my kitchen for a little jaunt down to Queen's Park in downtown Toronto and yesterday's raw milk rally with dairy farmer Michael Schmidt. According to Canadian law, Michael Schmidt is a serious criminal. His crime: selling unpasteurized milk. In 2006 his farm was raided by 25 armed police and since then he has been in and out of the courts fighting a battle for the right to sell raw milk. He recently completed a 37-day hunger strike resulting in Premier McGuinty finally agreeing to speak with him and starting some dialogue on this issue.

To me, our criminalization of raw milk is a sign of how lost we have become as a society, and in a sense how we have fundamentally lost our basic human dignity when it comes to the foods we eat. The world we live in is mind-boggling. Canada sells asbestos, a proven carcinogen, to other countries even though it's banned here. We allow corporations whose listeria-tainted processed meat killed 20 people in 2008 to continue to sell us the same mystery meat. Our store shelves are full of unlabelled, patented genetically engineered foods with unknown long-term consequences. We can buy cigarettes, guns, fast food, which all have the potential to kill us, yet we can't access the most basic and nourishing substance around.  

Recently I spent some time in Maine where I got to drink delicious raw milk from a local farm, because it is legal there, like in many other states. What a treat that was! There are many reasons to chose raw over pasteurized. Peer-reviewed research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that children who drink raw milk have a 41% lower risk of asthma and a 50% lower risk of allergies, compared to children who drank pasteurized milk. Shouldn't it be up to us to weigh the risks & benefits of drinking raw milk and make our own decisions about whether we want to drink it or not? I'll leave it at that for now, since it's a complex issue and I need to get to work. I think the video speaks for itself… let's just say that rally got me RILED UP! So raw raw raw!  Please sign the petition of support regarding Michael Schmidt's sentencing hearing tomorrow (November 25). Also, speaking of dairy, stay tuned for a recipe made up mostly of whipped cream (sadly not raw because then the RCMP might have to raid my kitchen!). Oh and that roasted red ketchup video I promised a long time ago is just about done, finally, so you'll be seeing that soon too!

Raw Milk Rally in Toronto from Kitchen Vignettes on Vimeo.


  1. Extremely well put! It's insane how food laws in Canada conspire against the small farmer (and limit our choice as consumers). In B.C. they passed a law forcing all restaurants to only buy meat from giant, government-approved slaughterhouses. Several local, organic restaurants suddenly were breaking the law by buying from local organic farmers. It's insane.

  2. Interesting post with smart perspective on the raw milk debate. I'm interviewing Michael Schmidt for my own blog and going to visit his farm next week. I'll send you the link when the story goes up. There's also a good post in the Guardian about raw milk right now, not least of all for the hundreds of reader comments on the topic:

  3. Hi OlmanFeelyus, yes food laws in Canada are insane. I had seen something about the new BC law , a video with a bunch of beautiful local organic food being thrown out for "breaking the law". It really makes my brain want to explode when I hear these types of stories.

  4. Hi Val, I LOVE your blog! That caramel nutmeg chicken sounds amazing. Send me the link once you post that interview with Michael Schmidt for sure. Thanks for stopping by :-)