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Scott-Milking-Barn

Scott Trautman and his daughter in the Milking Barn

Food Activists Take Message to Politicians in Wisconsin and Washington

by Kimberly Hartke, Publicist, Weston A. Price Foundation

This week a lot is happening on the food front. In fact, on the same day this Wednesday, March 10, Wisconsin holds historic public hearings on raw milk legislation, and in Washington, D.C., NICFA is holding their annual Farm Food Voices lobby day on Capitol Hill.

I heard from Tim Wightman last week, in regard to the hearings in Wisconsin. He said, “the state is purposefully trying to keep the consumer out of the argument by ignoring the farmshare arrangements and that anybody that speaks should center their comments on CHOICE…. not health.

This is very important. I have heard from other legislative hearings that the politicians just don’t buy the health argument. Even though that is where the rubber meets the road for many of us, their eyes tend to glaze over after hearing about the third raw milk “miracle.” I have even had that complaint from a blog reader, who said something to the effect, “it seems raw milk cures everything, including hangnails. It just seems too good to be true.”

To understand the background on the Wisconsin public hearing, see my recent blog post Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero. This public hearing is so significant, we ask that you make every effort to attend.

Gumpert-Kane

Dave Gumpert and Max Kane


And, if you get the opportunity to speak or submit written testimony at the Wisconsin public hearing, focus on access, choice. Instead of using the term raw milk, try these descriptors suggested by Sylvia Onusic and blog commenter, David C. Lowell: farm fresh, unprocessed, untreated, unadulterated.

Plus, if you are the owner of a cowshare, make sure you explain agistments are a longstanding American tradition. Cow boarding is a legal contractual agreement known as an agistment. Boarding agreements, or agistments, enable a livestock owner to board their animal at a farm, when they do not have enough land themselves. Horses are commonly boarded this way.

The form of agistment the politicians will be more aware of is horse boarding. Draw the comparison, and make sure they know that to deny you this freedom is denial of a basic right. See my article on a similar struggle in the state of Maryland.

Here are more details about the public hearing on the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund website, if you can make it to Wisconsin, I promise you, it won’t stay in Wisconsin!

NICFA Travels to our Nation’s Capitol

I will be attending the Farm Food Voices Lobby Day this Wednesday, but I will be with Wisconsin, in spirit! National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association is bringing to Congress its message that small farms produce the safest food. NICFA members fear the proposed federal food safety bills could destroy small farms, by adding unnecessary burdens.

According to another organization, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, local direct selling farms already have many state and county regulations to follow, and health inspectors to answer to.

Deborah Stockton, Executive Director of NICFA, says, “Small farms produce the safest food available, without regulation. Small farms are also increasing at about 13,000 a year, according to the USDA. “The current Administration that wants to ‘rebuild’ rural America, is pushing food bills that will do the opposite. Just like family farms brought us out of the Great Depression, they can bring us out of the food safety problem and this recession, if they are allowed to thrive.”

Fine Dining Chefs Come Out Strong for Local Foods

This is the fourth year of the Farm Food Voices lobby day, and this year, Liz Reitzig, head of Maryland Independent Consumers and Farmers Association is jumping out of her skin with excitement. Eric Johnson, of Krishon Chocolates who has helped in year’s past, has networked Liz with fine dining chefs who are supportive of local foods.

The Main Event Caterers in Arlington are the coordinating caterers for the event. Main Event and the participating restaurants will be working with food donated from local small farms. Like last year, the centerpiece of the buffet will be a whole roasted pig from Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm.

Eric-Johnson

Eric Johnson Presents the Roasted Pig

Restaurant Nora the premiere organic restaurant in D.C. is preparing food, along with other D.C. dining establishments, Sonoma Restaurant, Poste Brasserie and Coppi’s Organic. Restaurant 3 in Arlington, VA and Woodberry Kitchen of Baltimore.

Others joining in the fun are Lavender Moon Cupcakery and Food Matters both of Alexandria, VA,  and Catering by Anna St. John of Wheaton, MD and Suburban Trading Company of Kensington, MD.

Adding to the excitement, the event will have also have offerings for the buffet luncheon by the Top Chef TV show’s second runner up, Carla Hall of Alchemy Catering. Carla also catered the Mark Nolt Fundraiser, and did a beautiful job.

Biodynamic farmer, Allan Balliett, who recently wrote the story Testing Produce for Nutrients for this blog, is bringing beauty queen, Alexandra Booth, the reigning Mrs. West Virginia International to the event. This may be a first, during her reign, Alexandra chose for her platform, Local Foods. And, we are excited to have her star power with us this Wednesday!

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Alexandra Booth, Mrs. West Virginia International

Listen to what Mrs. West Virginia International has to say on her webpage:

“I like knowing exactly what I’m putting in my body so I buy my food locally, the quality is much better and it’s also packed with nutrients. My husband and I love to be active too, it’s easy to get our exercise in when we’re having so much fun!”

If you would like to join me and other food activists for our D.C. Lobby Day and this fabulous local food feast, visit the NICFA.com website for more information!

Oh, and do contact the Agriculture and Health legislative aids from your Congressman and Senators’ offices and tell them to meet you there!

Here is my post about last years event, with a link to my photos on Flickr:

Peasants, Pitchforks and a Perfect Food Supply

Kimberly Hartke is publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit which advocates farm fresh foods for their nutritional benefits. She is also a cowshare owner and raw milk activist.

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Comments

  1. Thanks, Kim, for another information-packed blog.

  2. S. 510 will do nothing to improve food safety, as it promotes burdensome paperwork, not inspections. The paperwork and record keeping it will require is so extensive that many small farmers may be forced out of business. Worse yet, S. 510 would give the FDA complete control over how food is raised, allowing them to require anything they want in the name of “safety.” This bill must be modified to exempt the small farmer, or defeated.
    .-= Stanley Fishman´s last blog ..Stop Senate Bill 510 — Save Organic Food =-.

  3. I would love to have a movement get started in Hawaii. We moved here a year ago, and raw milk is illegal. We’ve been able to get it, but it’s difficult and expensive (marijuana is cheaper and easier to come by here – and less frowned upon!). In fact, a fresh, local food movement in general is desperately needed. Most of the food is imported, and the general diet here is one of the worst I’ve seen – amazing when you consider the natural bounty of Hawaii, and the healthy traditional diet of the islands.

    But back to my original point – what can be done to fight the law against raw milk here?

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