by Kimberly Hartke
Some of you may remember John Moody. He presented a talk at Wise Traditions 2009 about how to put together a successful local foods club. His is a founding member and administrator for the 180 member, Whole Life Services farm food club is based in Louisville, Kentucky. Last Friday, May 27th, the club had a threatening visit from health authorities, in the church basement where they gather to do weekly pickups.
A county health inspector paid the foodies a visit, noticed milk and served a Cease and Desist order, plus put a Quarantine order on the milk that was there to be picked up.
Cassie Chaplin, a stay at home mom with a Masters degree, was panicked when she saw the Quarantine Notice on her milk, “Our four month old baby has digestive issues, but is doing great on homemade baby formula with fresh milk as an ingredient. My husband, the General Manager of a coffee shop can’t drink processed milk. I was heartbroken to be turned away from picking up my own milk.”
The next day, her infant screamed for 7 hours after being fed an organic baby formula, which Cassie used instead.
“Kentucky is uncharted and untested waters for herd shares and lease agreements. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund website says there is currently no law in the state prohibiting them, although retail sales are prohibited.” John Moody explains.
The Whole Life food club members are 60% owners of a Kentucky dairy farm. So, they were pretty shook up when told they couldn’t retrieve their own milk, from the farm where they are majority owners.
John recounted the incident, “At first, members were shook up and frightened when informed… Soon after, their emotions turned to anger and resolve towards officials who overstepped their bounds, tried to deny them their private property, and endangered the health and well-being of their family, children, and farmer.”
The group leases space in a church basement, to facilitate deliveries and help build community around support for fresh, local foods. Moody estimates that members nourish well over 1000 extended family members via the club.
Dr. Barry Joslin, a PhD who teaches New Testament and Greek at Seminary, and his wife, who has a Masters degree made the switch to farm fresh milk 3 years ago. “One of our 4 children, at 18 months, had fallen off the bottom of the growth chart. The only thing we changed in his diet was the milk.”
Astonishingly, after the dietary change, their son’s body weight increased 25% in two months time.
Dr. Joslin went on to say, “We had heard about government actions against other farmers, but it didn’t hit home until last Friday. My wife turned to me and said, ‘we could lose our milk, and I am ready to fight this’.
When asked how he felt about the health inspector’s visit, he said, “I felt violated. This is my freedom, my choice. You don’t have any right to tell me that I can’t feed my family something that has been consumed all over the world for thousands of years. Pasteurization is something new, in fact, fresh milk may be more commonly consumed worldwide, than processed milk.”
At least 90% of the Club members responded to the county inspectors quarantine document, by picking up their milk and heading for home. But, before they did, they signed a document of their own, which affirmed their rights under the Kentucky constitution to private contracts.
Here are a few of the provisions that they cited, which they believe protect them from state interference:
Section 1: Rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms.
Section 10: The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable search and seizure; and no warrant shall issue to search any place, or seize any person or thing, without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.
Section 19: No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be enacted.
Section 26: To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void.
Cassie Chaplin and her husband, Dr. Joslin and his wife are typical of the consumers that choose local, fresh milk to feed their families. They are well educated, they did a tremendous amount of research before making the transition, and they had a compelling health reason (their children) to do so. They also are typical in the sense that they believe in the American ideals of personal liberty and right to private property, limited government.
“I do not hate our government or system of government,” stresses Joslin, “Rather, I am a patriot, a flag waver, and I thank our veterans. But, my priority is to protect my family’s liberty. I will not lie down.”
Kimberly Hartke is the Publicist for the Campaign for Real Milk, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The nutrition education and activist organization will hold its 13th annual International Wise Traditions 2011 in Dallas, Texas, next November.