Raw Milk Delivery – Tales of the Criminal Mind

By: Tisha Casida, That’s Natural!

9:47 AM, sunny day on Hwy 82, getting ready to get onto I-70 to deliver a gallon of raw milk to a friend.  I am going from Pitkin County, to Garfield County, to Eagle County.  About 71 miles, 2 hours total time on the road and completing the pick-up and delivery.

About 5 miles later, east-bound on I-70, there are flashing blue and red lights behind me.  I am terrified.  My stomach immediately sinks, and I begin thinking and wondering if I have all of my documentation to show that I am “legal” to drive and operate vehicle in the State of Colorado.  Drivers License, Proof of Insurance.. are my plates/tags up to date?   My heart is pounding and my hands sweating.  I was going the speed limit… under the speed limit.  Sh**, sh**, sh** – what did I do wrong?

I pull into the right lane and slow down.  The State Trooper buzzes past me.  He wasn’t going after me, this time, thank God.

Why is it that I felt like such a criminal?  Why is it that I felt like I was doing something wrong?  The inside of my car looks quite chaotic, and then my raw milk jars peeking from the cooler in the back-seat – do I really have the makings of a criminal?  Why is it that I get so scared and nervous when there are flashing lights behind me, when I am doing nothing wrong?  Is it conditioning?  Am I supposed to be scared?  Is it all in my mind?

My heart tells me that we, as a society, are being driven by fear, and make many decisions based off of this idea that we may be punished if we don’t “follow the rules”.  Well, “following the rules” is fine and dandy until the people making the rules make it impossible to survive.  Income taxes, property taxes, licensing of vehicles, licensing of businesses, registration of everything – all with special rules and associated costs.  All in the name of “protecting” others with the heavy hand of force to issue punishments to those who do not follow the rules.  Is it honestly bad for me to drink raw milk, to deliver it?  Is it dangerous?  Does it hurt others when I drink it?  Is it constitutionally illegal for me to deliver raw milk to people who want it, who willingly take responsibility to consume it?  Is it bad for me to want to make a living, to engage in enterprise – to sell my services to others who willingly pay for them?

Today, while driving on I-70, I went through all of the normal reactions a criminal would have – heart palpitating, hands perspiring, body engaging in fight or flight reactions.  There is just one problem – I am not a criminal.  And I should not be afraid of the very law enforcement that is there to protect my property.  It is time we engage our law enforcement and work together, peacefully, to achieve the “appropriate” use of force on our streets.  Check out the Peaceful Streets Project which is doing just that.

We Need To Get Kids Fat

Now that I have your attention, let me start with this:

Good, quality, natural fats are absolutely essential to the growth, development, and preservation of the human body and the human brain. And we, as a community, need to embrace local, natural diets that support getting essential and natural fats into the bodies and brains of the generation upcoming (as well as ourselves).

And, one should not consume only fat (personal responsibility always embraces moderation) – it is pertinent to have a diet with high-quality proteins and carbohydrates as well. But I do think that many people, especially kids, are devoid of foods that are dense in nutrients, proteins, and high-quality fats – and that is a cause for disease, and for the problems we see with behavioral issues and depression.

There are: Saturated Fats, Monounsaturated Fats, and Polyunsaturated Fats. All of these are natural, and produced (found) in nature. Saturated fats have long been demonized as the culprit of disease, but this is not the case (quality butter is actually good for you, margarine is not; quality eggs are also very good for you in moderation).

Trans-fats are one of the worst culprits in today’s society, and although many labels claim to have “Zero grams trans fats”, they are actually lying – if there is .5 grams or less, then the label can say zero. The problem is that “.5” is not zero. And these man-made fats are detrimental to the human body – they increase the bad cholesterol in our bodies while also lowering the good cholesterol. Trans-fats are the type fats that should be chastised – many other fats are very, very good for you (for digestion, your organs, your skin, your nervous system, and more).

Thanks to the federal government, we have the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has come up with a guideline of what we should eat. Now, this guideline could be influenced by political lobbying and studies conducted and made possible by the special interest groups that benefit from such – so we should think for ourselves a bit too, and do research and reading on our own about our health. We can take control of what we eat – and we can work on knowing the people who produce our food (whether they are local or not).

Many parents are having issues feeding their kids the high-quality foods that they would like to, and many lunch-lines in public schools are serving products that are devoid of nutrients. The little experience I have with trying to get local foods to market, shows the even eliminating bureaucracy in the school systems (including having to follow federal guidelines for kids’ lunches) would help get kids better food (e.g. if local farmers are willing to sell products to their local schools, then why can’t we make this happen faster?). It will take time, but we need to work on getting our kids higher-quality food – including high-quality fats that are going to help their bodies and brains develop in a healthy way.

I am working my way through a book called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon – and it has a great outline of the components of our food, including high-quality fats, proteins, and carbohydrates (produce, legumes and grains). There are studies, antidotes, and recipes, and a great way to start learning about the “politically incorrect” diet. There are more books too that I will continue to reference – look online, go to a bookstore, and start to take back your power as a consumer by changing what you eat.

 

 

Access to Local Food

In an AP article, a phenomena and trend which has been taking shape for quite awhile, is highlighted.

That trend is the limited access to food in rural areas (e.g. grocery stores), and the reason has to do with economics.  Smaller operations are generally more costly to run, and larger operations who can utilize the benefits of economies of scale to offer products and services for a lower price – will be able to attract more customers who are looking for cost-savings (especially if facing bad economic conditions).

Government proposals will include spending initiatives, and there are grants and other opportunities for these small grocery stores to try and stay in business.  What is truly sustainable, though, would be for consumers to change their purchasing patterns.  Because if the demand is not there, you cannot subsidize it – it will simply not work in a free market (and we are assuming that we are keeping the free market that we have).

So, if you are reading this and are a consumer and want to make a difference – find local farmers, ranchers, and producers to support, and be willing to spend some extra money to keep them in business.  If we keep our local guys open, and help their businesses to thrive, then eventually we will actually see local food prices decrease, and the wonder and beauty of economics in a free market can once again be realized.

It will take time, it is not easy, and we must all work together.  But it is possible.

– Tisha Casida

WALK THE TALK – Support Local

It’s easy to tell people what they should do.  It’s easy to say what you are going to do.  But actually doing something is a whole other level, and the level that we need to be at to really make sustainable changes with anything.

Simply a rant against people who talk but don’t walk?  Perhaps.  Or perhaps a reminder that we all need a reminder to do things.

Supporting local means trying to source products and services from someone imediately in your community – meaning that person is alive and operating in that community.  A local farmer or gardener grows produce there, a local shop-keeper has items that he or she resells there, a local brewer makes their beer there, a publication houses writers and advertisers there.

It is hard to purchase everything local – so don’t try doing that.  To start, try one or two things, and then build as you go – that is generally more sustainable for those of us who work for a living.

It all starts somewhere, but it must start – we make the difference, and we must walk the talk.

– Owen Sotto

Say NO to Genetically-Engineered (GE) Alfalfa

Sometimes you don’t get a second chance.  Our ecosystem is resilient and we have put it through quite a test, especially with intense conventional agricultural practices (fertilizers, chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides).  For the most part, up until a decade ago, even this unsustainable methodology of growing plants was at least something that could be eventually mitigated and developed into alternative means of farming (i.e. low-intensity, no-till, natural and organic methods).

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) substances – specifically seeds and crops – are a whole different issue.  The genetic modification of ANY seed, could never be tested enough to see and understand if it is safe.  But, no need to worry, we are now experimenting on ourselves, because much of the corn and soybean products that we may eventually consume already have genetically modified ingredients.

However, Monsanto now wants to use a GE alfalfa.  Alfalfa is used as forage for cows that produce milk.  Organic farmers who rely on organic alfalfa have reason for their concern of this GE alfalfa – once the product is in the environment, it can easily be spread around the entire ecosystem, thus destroying the potential for NON-GE anything. (We have yet to see the current impact of all of the GE-products already in our ecosystem.)

Want to read more?  Visit Food Safety News, and call your congressmen to make sure this does not get into our environment!  Ask them to sign on to the
“Dear Colleague Letter to USDA about Banning GE Alfalfa”

Senators should contact:
Adrienne Wojciechowski, Sen. Leahy’s office;
Adrienne.w@judiciary-dem.senate.gov

House Representatives should contact:
Emily Rohlffs in Rep. DeFazio’s office
emily.rohlffs@mail.house.gov

– Joni Cave

Slow Money Alliance

Meet the Slow Food Alliance – an organization with an outstanding mission to build sustainable local food systems (which are inherently better for the economy).

Their Goal?

A million Americans investing 1% of their assets in local food systems…within a decade.

Their Reasoning?

In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration.

Their Method?

Have people sign onto their principles – you can access those HERE!

Want to Learn More?

Watch what they are working on via their BLOG, which you can find HERE!

We applaud the Slow Money Alliance in their efforts to educate our communities about the importance of supporting and maintaining sustainable food systems.  Please take the time to listen to what they are creating, and take action to support local food.

More Reasons to KNOW YOUR FARMER

Paul Alhadef Photography

In an article from Bloomberg, producers are accusing and filing suit against Dean Foods (Dallas, Texas) and the Dairy Farmers of America (Kansas City, Missouri) for suppressing milk prices through controlling market access.

The economics behind this may or may not be complex, depending upon one’s political and social perspective.  So instead of arguing who is right or wrong (which will play out in court), let’s figure out how we can positively affect milk-companies that are producing a high-quality, safe, and nutritious product.

Here is one way – purchase milk shares from a local producer.  Have you researched if there is a dairy in your city/county?  Do you know if it is possible (or legal in the case of raw/unpasteurized milk) to purchase your milk and dairy products from someone locally?  Find Out!

Free-markets, which The Good American Post stands behind, are markets where consumers have access to information regarding what they are purchasing, and therefore can make an honest and informed judgment about what to purchase.

So, now you have some knowledge – KNOW YOUR FARMER, know who is raising those cows or goats that create your dairy products, and support the people who are making an honest living by providing a product you can feel good drinking and giving to your family.

– Joseph Poder

BEEF – It's What for Dinner IF YOU KNOW YOUR PRODUCER


I stopped eating conventional red meat about 7 years ago (by conventional I mean from a producer that I cannot know, i.e. Tyson).  When mad cow disease (aka: BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, CJD) became an issue, I decided that I did not want to have my brain turn into mush, and that I would rather not eat beef.

But I LOVE A GOOD HAMBURGER AND STEAK, so that led me on a quest to find great beef products produced by farmers and ranchers that I trusted.  Luckily, in Colorado, there are several.

In a recent article I found on Mike Callicrate’s No-Bull website, it became apparent, again, that many people in the United States are still eating and cooking meat that is subpar and even dangerous.  Being a food-snob myself, I still refuse to eat beef from even nice restaurants because they are usually not tasty and the meat comes from huge food conglomerates that use growth hormones, large amounts of antibiotics, and new drugs like Optiflex and Zilmax, which (IN MY HUMBLE OPINION) can have untested and could have unknown results on the body of a human being.

Do you ever feel like a guinea pig?  That is because if you are not becoming more aware of your food supply – YOU ARE.

Never has it been more important to be more sustainable – find ways to purchase food from local farmers and ranchers who you trust, and grow your own food.

Read more about what is happening to beef HERE!

– Tisha Casida

NAIS, Codex Alimentarius, Bill S510 and Other Bedtime Stories to Guarantee Nightmares

By Tamrah Jo Ortiz

This story was originally printed at The Good, Bad, & Ludicrous

Thanks to my good friends on Facebook, I was alerted that the ugly head of the government is once again poking its’ large and obnoxious nose into places it doesn’t belong.   Yes, I realize this is a inflammatory statement, hence, my writing here, instead of posting this as a comment at the www.opencongress.org website.  (which, if you’d like, you can visit and look at the hoopla going on over various bills.)

So, let’s take a look at each of these and try to make sense of them.

NAIS – The National Animal Identification System.   In brief, this idea is supposedly born of the desire to quickly identify and destroy animals that pose a threat to both food supply and our existence. (mad cow disease, avian bird flu, anyone?)

What is not so clear is how anyone thinks any of this will really work.   Number 1, the folks that want to implement this currently employ thousands to audit tax returns and apparently have not been successful in creating a database or secure electronic means of verifying taxes or conducting a paperless census (which, by the way, we filled out, returned and apparently was ‘lost’ as a census person showed up at my house saying they didn’t get ours.   On the flip side, my mom got 2 censuses to fill out and a friend never received any….)

Now, if these folks have not centralized, streamlined and made efficient the operations they have been in charge of for decades, how in the world are we to believe they can implement this kind of system and let us know about diseased food within 20 years of our consumption of it?

Number 2 – current figures show that given the ‘requirements’ of the system, most of the costs will fall on the small farmers and ranchers – courtesy of Wikipedia is the following:

“The costs of becoming NAIS compliant for a U.S. beef producer were found to be a minimum of $2.08 a head for large producers and as much as $17.56 a head for smaller operations, with an estimated average cost to cow/calf producers of $6.26 per animal, according to research by Christopher Raphael Crosby of Kansan State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics published in 2008.”

Does anyone hear “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”?

Number 3 – Historically, outbreaks of disease occur in close population, improperly nourished animals.   Farmer John who has 15 head of cattle and 160 acres of pasture does not face the same challenges as Mr. Beef, who has crammed 5,000 cows into a feedlot the size of a Wal-mart parking lot, where calves play on hills of cow patties and drink milk produced from the ingestion of soybean and corn meal (when cows have evolved to do just fine, thank you very much, on grass.)

Plus, Farmer John really depends on his herd for his food, to feed his family and perhaps a neighbor or two and to bring in some extra cash to pay the ever-increasing cost of living expenses.  So he has a HUGE investment in making sure his herd is healthy and well-nourished.  The loss of even one cow can make or break him.

Mr. Beef can depend on tax breaks, an adjustment of market prices, government bailouts, etc, if he somehow manages to lose his herd to disease.   So who do you think takes better care of their herd?

On to the next – Codex Alimentarius – Proponents will tell you it’s an international effort to ensure the safety of food for all – as well as to keep me from accidently killing myself from taking too much Vitamin C.

Again, these efforts are brought to you by folks who can’t even balance their own budgets and settle disputes among themselves in a peaceful manner.  Do you really think they know how much Vitamin C I can handle and furthermore, if I were receiving nutritious food, would I even need a supplement?   If they are so invested in “Nutritious, Safe Food to further the health and well-being of the populace” then why did they ignore the published findings of biochemist Dr. Mary Enig in the 70’s, who warned of the dangers of trans-fats and hydrogenated fats to the human body?  Um, no, took about 40 years before they figured that one out (if they even have yet……………)

I also find it interesting that many countries within the World Effort of this measure are ARDENTLY opposed to GMO foods and have been very insistent on pushing for foods containing those types of ingredients to be Labeled.   Those who have a vested interest in controlling both seed and food supplies, by getting ‘patents’ on their genetically modified seeds and plants have kept up the pressure and keep taking a run at getting that ‘pesky little nuisance’ of required labeling for GMO foods buried under the rug.

All in all, I cannot see the reasoning for extending all this effort on the Codex other than for countries who take their food and health seriously to put up a ‘fence’ to keep those exports out from countries that do not.  (meaning, US)

So with the history of these two long-running dramas, I now come to the most recent – Senate Bill S510.

Innocuously titled, “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act”, it lists high-sounding ideals and includes some of the following:

food facility re-inspection (um…I worked as a waitress for 12 years, I can tell you, restaurants get inspected every year……)
food recalls (aren’t they already allowed to do that?)
a voluntary qualified importer program (have these people never heard of eating locally?)
So those violently opposed to this bill read it and see how easily seed and food control could be placed in the hands of those who have no business telling us what we can grow or eat, share with our neighbors or sell at the local farmer’s market.   And I agree with them to a point; while the bill does not specifically state any of these intents, the large generalized points of it are open to all kinds of interpretations.

History tells me the interpreters will translate it for the benefit of themselves, their agency budget and their large campaign contributors (corporations) before they will for my health and well being.

Again, if you look to history, deaths and illness related to the consumption of contaminated, diseased foods, has been linked to large corporate mono-culture farms, not the small local producers.  Why?  Well, because the small local producer not only feeds you, but their own family.  They don’t have the time or the energy (or the insanity) to grow one garden with ‘good stuff’ for their family and another with ‘questionable stuff’ to sell at the local market.

In addition, if I get ‘bad food’ at the local farmer’s market, I know exactly who to go to with my accusations.   When large farms put out questionable produce, it has also traveled through one or more broker warehouses, a packaging plant or two, the transportation gamut….on and on and its’ so easy to pass the buck on who exactly is to blame.

I’m also curious as to why Homeland Security is one of the committees listed on the bill’s information page.  What, are they afraid terrorists are going to send us toxic bananas?   Newsflash, if everyone ate organic and locally, this fear would be laughable.  And I can tell you, any terrorist shows up at our local farmers market with evil intent on his mind, I can guarantee there are enough ‘rednecks’ around here that are just waiting for an opportunity to show the world what real Homeland Security looks like.

I also wonder just where they are going to get the money to implement all this when they are already crying about ‘deficits’ and ‘budget cuts’.   To my mind, this has less to do with feeding the nation safely and more to do with feeding the oversized monster we call our government, as well as nudging out any competition to the large centralized food companies.

Implementation, testing and compliance enforcement take money – and that money will come from those who want to ‘buy into the market’ (meaning smaller operations won’t be able to afford to be in the market) –  but most of the money will come from you and me, the consumer.   What?  You don’t think so?  Just who do you think is paying for the Tobacco Company Settlements?   It isn’t the companies or the government, its’ the consumers.  But I’ll leave that debate for another time.

The legislation listed above can only make sense in a climate of fear.   They can only pass when we blindly believe the government is really trying to protect us.  When we believe that death is more heinous than liberty. (Oh where is Patrick Henry when you need him?)

Quit looking to the government to save you from harm.   Know those who grow your food.   Have a relationship.  Trust me, they are much more invested in your health and well being than the FDA is.  Because without you, they don’t have a livelihood.  The FDA and government don’t either, but they have forgotten.

Remind them.

Innovations in Agricultural Marketing

Beltsville, MD Years ago, Indiana farmer Brian Churchill won a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program to experiment with new pest management strategies on his 100 acres of sweet corn, melons, tomatoes and other produce. Scouting for pests, withholding routine spraying and building habitat for beneficial insects cut his insecticide use drastically. He decided to use that as a marketing hook by inviting chefs to an “expo” and opening a now-thriving farm stand.

“We drive the point home about using less chemicals all the time,” he said. “The customers keep coming back and bringing friends with them…Our farm has grown a lot since the grant.”

Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers, a 20-page bulletin recently revised by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, features innovative SARE-funded research in a range of marketing options, including additional resources for further information. Throughout, farmers and ranchers like Churchill share how farmers markets, CSA, tourism, direct-marketing, season extension, adding value, restaurants, and/or the Internet improved their bottom line.

Marketing Strategies is the latest of a series of publications that feature the most creative research funded by SARE.  Preview or download the entire publication at www.sare.org/publications/marketing.htm.

To order free print copies, visit www.sare.org/Webstore, call 301/504-5236 or email san_assoc@sare.org. Agricultural educators may place orders for print copies in quantity at no cost.

“Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers” was published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is a program of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA, and works with producers, researchers and educators to promote farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.  SAN operates under a cooperative agreement between CSREES and the University of Vermont and the University of Maryland to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. For more information about SARE grant opportunities and other SAN resources, visit www.sare.org.

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