The road to liberty is strewn with the bodies of those who stopped to take a rest…Brian Bex
by Tim Wightman, President Farm to Consumer Foundation
I still have the issue.
Growing for Market Volume 7 Number 8 August 1998.
Inside this edition was… Manure Spreader Blues….Birds for Bug Control..Safe Manure Handling..Colorado Dairy’s CSA…..Hmmm.
After a year of consumers coming up to me at my own vegetable CSA & Farmers Market asking for raw milk and my feeble attempts to get it to them via a small dairy farm with a few jerseys…illegally I might add (or more to the point told by State officials it was illegal)…this CSA idea seemed the ticket and my first exposure to what would become known as the Cowshare Arrangement in Wisconsin…
Now, after 11 years and 5 months of keeping that concept alive through 1000′s of families whom have benefited from various versions, several non-profit organizations and dozens of lawyers opposing hundreds of State officials, a few Secretaries of Agriculture…and the Health services of Ontario, finally a verdict.
Michael Schmidt brought home the dawn of personal choice as it relates to our food…and all the hours, tears and sacrifices of both sides of the border were laid to rest.
Laid to rest alongside the ghosts of farms lost, the relationships interrupted, the crushing pain of the depth of the resistance, all tightly knitted together in the view of a farmers calling…and like Atlas…it felt as if we carried the world on our shoulders.
His Worship Paul Kowarsky realized the cooperative, private, nature of cowshares. The world is no longer on the shoulders of the few.
This however now begs the question……will our co-producers…cowshare members accept the responsibility woven within the decision given by His Worship.
Signs of the affirmative are appearing..but the biggest gift in this decision was not the obvious we have been looking for all these years.
It was the ability to shape the futures of our children, through cooperation and measured action.
We now have the freedom to act for the benefit of the many, and remove that burden from the few who have protected it so eloquently.
Thank you Michael, and thank you to Michael’s family..and many thanks to the cowshare members, and may the best come from your efforts.
If you need anything just give us a call……
I’ll be right over.
Tim Wightman is a founder and board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and its education and charitable arm, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. He is the author of the Raw Milk Handbook, a handy resource guide for farmers interested in producing quality raw milk, and who wish to implement testing and safety standards. A lifelong farmer, Tim is on the forefront of our nation’s transition back to a local farm economy. His Wisconsin farm, Clearview Acres was among the first cow boarding programs. It no longer exists due to legal bills and emotional challenges of being on the leading edge. Currently a consultant for Midwestern Bio-Ag for Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, Tim works with other farmers on ecological ways to grow profitability. In this role, he helps clients to mineralize their pastures, increase soil fertility, and improve herd health.
Tim was profiled last year in a Huffington Post article by Julie Moulden, How Small Farmers are Saving the World.
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is selling a DVD about Michael Schmidt, all proceeds go to support Michael Schmidt.