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So I’ve been reading this two-part (part one, part two) article on AlterNet about raw milk, and the laws which surround it’s use and consumption.

The articles tell the story of a man sued by the sate of Maine for ‘the unlicensed distribution and sale of milk and food products’.  The story goes on to confirm that rather than being a ‘distributor’, Brown (the farmer in question) is simply a farmer, with one cow whose milk he uses to feed his family. What is left over from the cows regular milking is then sold at his farm stand. The complaint from Brown and other farmers like him is that the laws which cover actual distribution farms don’t understand what a small-scale diverse farm like his does or how it operates. These small farms have some vegetables, fruits, a few chickens maybe a cow or a goat- what they do not have are herds, flocks, or thousand acre crops. These types of farms are not interested in becoming industry farms or anything close. They simply want to be able to sustain their families and those from their community who are interested in the fresh foods they can provide.

Luckily for farmers like Brown who live in Maine, there are local ordinances in place which provide support to the type of small-scale farming we’re talking about. Lawsuits such as the one against Brown go against such ordinances, and this is where I see a huge problem. The ordinance which specifically protects Brown is intended to allow it’s citizens to choose their food. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Across the country however, small scale farmers who are hoping to have access to raw milk are being shot down….but, in the wake of Mr. Brown’s fight, they find hope in similar local ordinances.

I cannot help but feel that we all should have the right to eat and drink as we please. In fact, I feel outraged that the sale of raw milk from a small, clean, well looked after farm would be ridiculed while no one blinks an eye as millions of  McDonalds hamburgers are sold each year…. even after finding that they don’t deteriorate….

Certainly there are risks to drinking raw milk, but I believe that those risks are well understood. What’s more, anyone who is going out of their way to get raw milk is doing it for a specific reason and desire. We aren’t talking about a fast food restaurant that any Tom Dick or Harry can find on any street corner from NYC to L.A.

People seek out these types of raw fresh foods for very specifically desired benefits, or lifestyle choices. Most people who buy overly processed foods aren’t so much choosing that food as they are choosing the cheap price tag attached. So why then is it that there is a need to put an end to these small farmers who have chosen to help their like-minded neighbors and promote healthy, wholesome foods? I say give the people what they want.

http://www.alternet.org/food/153364/why_is_a_farmer_who_sells_extra_milk_from_his_one_cow_to_neighbors_being_sued_by_the_state_of_maine

http://www.alternet.org/rights/153371/regulators_crack_down_on_micro-dairies,_but_small_farmers_fight_back_with_local_food_sovereignty_ordinances

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