02 June 2011

Rally for Food and Farm Freedom

Being involved with the local food movement in my area, I often hear from farmers how certain regulations limit what they can do on the farm. The farm I get my grass-fed beef and pastured pork has to send their animals out of state to be butchered. Should they be able to butcher on their farm, they would be able to sell these items much cheaper (and have a much lower carbon footprint). Typically Big Ag and/or Big Government is the focus of their frustration and from what I can tell in most cases rightly so. It was through one of my friends of the local food movement (she blogs at Fish In The Water) that I found out about a rally in DC over the ability of people in Maryland, Virginia and the DC to purchase raw milk and other products from an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania. Already in the area for other pre-surgery adventures I figured I would attend.

Hands Off My Milk
Naturally being a person who likes to kayak without a life jacket and ride my bike without a helmet, I would like the option to purchase and drink raw milk. I am educated, I know the risks. I am a firm believer that huge, blanket bans or laws prohibiting a complex issue are a waste of time and money and tend to hurt more than they help. Healthy cows produce healthy milk. Unhealthy cows kept in confined conditions (as typical in the Big Ag industrial process) do not produce healthy milk. So, alas, here is another example of Big Ag ruining it for the smaller family farms who appropriately care for their animals. Sure even the most pampered cow can still get sick, but with smaller herds and the farmers knowing their animals on a more humane and personal level, the risk should be low. I grew up on a river and learned to swim at a very early age. I've been water skiing, wake boarding, and surfing my entire life. To say I must have a life jacket in my kayak at all times is complete bullshit. Sure, being educated, I realize situations may present themselves that a life jacket on board would help keep me alive, but I accept that risk. Everything in life has inherent risks.

Here are some photos of the rally:
Jonathan Emord, Attorney
Baylen Linnekin of keepfoodlegal.org
Sally Fallon Morell of Weston A. Price Foundation
They handed out free glasses of raw milk.
They even brought a Jersey
For more information, check out Grassfed on The Hill. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts. I've tried the milk and like it. Given it is coming from several hundred miles from where I live, I doubt I will ever be a member of this farm. I've got quality dairy farms around me and I wish they could sell raw milk, butter and cheeses to me. Hell, in Maryland, farmers are not even allowed to sell me raw milk if it were purely for the dogs. Who is being protected there? Bull. Shit.

Dairy and Paleo

“Recent studies claim that early milk drinkers left ten times as many descendants as their abstemious siblings.” - From N. Wade, “Lactose Tolerance in East Africa Points to Recent Evolution,” NY Times, December 11, 2006.

So those in the Paleo community do not always approve of dairy consumption, this is known. I've always wondered if those ancestral people who consumed milk (clearly raw) were healthier and stronger from it, or if simply the milk provided more food to allow more people to survive like grains did. So I am curious if it allowed people to thrive, not simply survive. I am always on the lookout for more information on this.

In most cases of diet I tend to go with Robb Wolf's Look, Feel, Perform. Grains and processed foods are definitely a no go. Milk, yogurt, butter from pastured sources have always made me feel great and have been a major asset in my recovery from intense physical exertions. I have noticed an inflammatory response when I am drinking daily, but it is mild compared to when I was drinking grain-fed organic milk from the grocery store. So, right now for me, my dairy consumption is very similar to my overall carbohydrate consumption, purely dependent on my activity level.