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For those who are interested in the issues surrounding the sale and distribution of raw milk, this week has been an encouraging one. Tuesday’s Milk and Cookies rally attracted about 150 mothers and others who, along with just about every well-known spokesperson, expert and activist in the field, dared to transport raw milk across state lines and gather in front of FDA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD with positive results.

Today, we learned that Ontario dairy farmer and raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt ended his 37-day hunger strike after he met with the premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty. McGuinty says they won’t be changing the law anytime soon, but Schmidt will have an opportunity to speak on the issue to the recently-elected Liberal caucus in the near future. According to Schmidt, whose farm was raided in 2006, he only wants the government to take an objective view of the issue.

Schmidt organized a cow-share program, yet he was still prosecuted. Here in California, raw milk is legal, and cow-shares abound. However, California lacks a definition for what a cow-share / herd-share operation is, so they have been treated as being outside of the law.

Six days ago, Mark McAfee (Chairman/President) and Stacy Pearson (Vice President and Secretary) of the newly-formed Raw Milk Institute attended the Secretary of Agriculture’s Small-Herd Working Group at the Capitol in Sacramento, with the goal of assisting the Working Group create a definition for a legally operating herd-share. According to Stacy, “It was good to hear several Commissioners state that this would be good for Ag because farmers are always looking for value-added products they can sell locally. Our success would be good news for Californians where the demand for raw milk continues to outstrip the supply.”

Elaina Luther, Mark McAfee and Stacy Pearson in front of RAWMI Headquarters

I can vouch for that. This past week, I’ve been making regular trips to my local Sprouts to pick up Organic Pastures whole raw milk, often to find that there’s only one half-gallon left! But today they were fully stocked, so in honor of Michael Schmidt and his efforts, I will now go drink a glass of raw whole milk. I have a feeling that he’s done the same today.

Until next time~