California Raw Dairy Consumer Works to Defend Raw Dairy Farms

Christine and her children at Stueve's Farm, the "original" raw milk dairy in CA - Alta Dena

Christine and her children at Stueve's Farm, the "original" raw milk dairy in CA - Alta Dena

Raw Milk Mom Set to Testify on Milk Pool –A Burden on Raw Dairy Farms

Christine Chessen started feeding her children grass-fed raw milk and experienced, first hand, the immune system building power of this wholesome food. Her three children made it through the winter with nary a sniffle, which was a first in her household.

When back room political maneuverings by California bureaucrats got a law AB 1735 passed, her life was changed forever.  This law stipulates that raw milk, a pro-biotic product has to meet the same bacteria standards as a sterilized or pasteurized product.  This impossible standard  threatened to harm the raw milk producers in her state, and Christine was thrust into politics in a way she never expected.

Everyday Mom Thrust into Food Politics Battle

Because of her enthusiasm for raw milk and its healing properties, Christine was studying at nearby Bauman College to become a nutrition educator. She was selected to appear at hearings before the state senate on the brewing raw milk controversy.

Legislators were outraged that they had passed a bill, touted by government officials as non-controversial, that they later found would endanger two very successful businesses. Organic Pastures, the largest raw dairy producer in the nation, and Claravale Dairy which had just invested millions in new infrastructure and improvements to its operation. Bill SB201 was introduced to reverse the damage done by the previous bill AB 1735.

She enlisted the help of her friend, a former network news producer to shoot footage of the hearing, and the lobbying activities of concerned raw milk advocates. Her excellent video on SB 201 is now on You Tube.

Christine and two of her healthy children

Christine and two of her healthy children

Raw Dairy Consumers Unite When Their Favorite Food is Threatened

Christine then founded CREMA, a non-profit group designed to be the voice of the raw dairy consumer.  When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the SB201 (on the advice of the bureaucrats, no doubt), the need for such a group became even more evident.

Clearly, unelected government officials were holding sway over representative democracy, at least on this issue.

Consumers Getting Active to Defend Their Farmers Interests

Small farms, even as large as Organic Pastures and Claravale, can’t possibly compete with Agribusinesses and their lobbying firms.  So, consumers are offering to do constituent lobbying on behalf of these smaller producers.

CREMA, the new raw milk consumer group in California, will testify at a hearing on March 11 that the Milk Pooling Program, the State’s 40-year-old system of dairy market regulation, deprives many families of affordable, high-quality organic and raw milk by favoring large industrial producers while penalizing smaller dairies who must pay into the pool but receive nothing in return.

“It’s a costly, antiquated system that does not reflect the growing demand for more nutritious milk from smaller, local sources,” says Christine Chessen, the CREMA co-founder will be giving the testimony. Christine is now a certified nutrition educator and works very closely with the state legislature to give them the consumers’ views on these food issues.

Buy Local, Go Natural and Whole Food Trend is Stimulating Demand for Fresh Milk

Demand for organic and raw milk has exploded in recent years as consumers are paying more for foods that are free of pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones.   Producers of organic and raw milk, and even some smaller conventional dairies, say that the Milk Pool costs them thousands every month, chokes off competition, and keeps prices high.

“While we have a surplus of cheap milk from struggling CA dairies, demand continues to rise for milk from local sources with drug-free, pastured cows.  Milk is moving away from being a commodity and the market needs to catch up,” notes Chessen.  “High-quality milk should be affordable for everyone.”

Consumers No Longer Willing to Stand By as Farmers are Mistreated

Christine Chessen says, “In response to continued abuse of raw dairymen by regulators, concerned citizens have rallied and organized to protect their access to raw milk. CREMA was founded in January, after overwhelming support by consumers and legislators for a pro-raw milk bill that was vetoed by the Governor in September.”

More information, including testimonials, research, and news, can be found at:

Milk Pool Hearing Details:

What: California Milk Pool Hearing

When: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 2:00 p.m.

Where: California State Capitol, Room 112


  1. Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.

  2. Diane W McGee says:

    I am so grateful for your dairy! I am able to get raw milk as part of my CSA in Idaho and when I travel to CA with my 2 children to visit my family, I am so grateful that I am able to continue to give them raw milk! This time I was so lucky to connect with Dr. Kelly near Truckee who met me and my family with a supply of raw milk as we were passing through.
    Thank you for your work to keep this CHOICE alive!

  3. Diane W McGee says:

    Thank you for all you do to keep Raw Milk available in CA! I am lucky to get raw milk from my CSA in ID and another biodynamic farm. I was lucky to connect with Dr. Kelly when I visited my family in CA. It is so important to me to have Raw Milk available for me and my precious daughters. Thank you for all you do to keep this CHOICE alive!


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