Photo Credit: Dave Gumpert
Constitutional Rights Reclaimed at Raw Milk Rally
by Kimberly Hartke
On March 2, 2012, 300 supporters of the right to choose healthy food, signed a Declaration of Food Independence on the courthouse steps in the tiny town of Baraboo, Wisconsin. According to Liz Reitzig, organizer of the peaceful rally in defense of personal liberties, “Lines and lines of people were eager to sign the food freedom declaration. By the end, signatures were between the lines, in the margins, every where on the document.”
Vernon Hershberger, a Wisconsin Dairy farmer who once provided organic milk to a distant processing plant for pasteurization, let go his dairy license a number of years ago. His local, private direct sales had reached the point where he could break free of a heavily controlled supply system which financially benefits the processors and consumers, to the detriment of the farmer.
As you can see in a previous story, Brave Dairy Farmer Stands Up for Private Contract Rights, a Wisconsin official made it clear at the time, that private direct sales were beyond the purview of the government. Today, however, independence from the conventional food supply is under assault. Producers and consumers in private contracts find themselves having to defend a right that they once took for granted.
Vernon Hershberger is not giving in to intimidating tactics of the government, which is very inspiring to his club members and other supporters. He knows that he may be jeopardizing his freedom, even as he stands up for the liberties of others. One observer of the court proceedings is calling him the Rosa Parks of the raw milk movement (see link to op-ed), in media coverage at the end of this article.
Pop Music Video Celebrates the Declaration of Food Freedom
Liz Reitzig served as emcee for the rally, and introduced Canadian dairy farmer Michael Schmidt who spoke to the crowd about how food rights and small farms were at risk all across North America. See his guest blog about the issue, The Tragic Reality of Human Kindness. Vernon Hershberger also gave a stirring talk to the assembled crowd, about why he is resisting the food tyranny of the state.
Two moms, Jenny Delonay, and Kelly West, members of the Grazin’ Acres farm club, spoke passionately about why they were a part of the community that supports the Hershberger enterprise. They spoke about what the farm meant to themselves and their families.
Jenny Delonay, a founding member of the club, expressed it this way, “This private contract between farmer and member owners has been a very satisfying way for our family to enjoy the benefits of animal ownership and access high quality food. My contract with Grazin’ Acres is perfectly legal under current Wisconsin law.”
The second mom, Kelly West made two strong statements in her speech,
“The government is supposed to preserve our liberties, but instead it’s taking them away….
The government is denying people access to the food they want and it is morally wrong for them to do so.”
David Gumpert, author of the book, The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights, described the mood of the rally attendees, “I had a sense that the crowd felt a very strong sense of purpose. As if they were really seeing the light and committing to taking action for their food rights. People are beginning to view food rights as a human right. Those I spoke to, expressed that the issue was much more important than they had realized, before they came.”
Here is an op-ed, which explains the type of arrangement that this farmer and his community have made, Cow Boarding — a CSA for Dairy Farmers.
Liz Reitzig Interview on Info Wars
More News Coverage of the Declaration of Food Independence
Liz Reitzig said the media coverage was excellent, especially for a town the size of Baraboo. The Josh Tolley radio show did a live broadcast from Baraboo during the event (listen on YouTube), and a leading alternative health website, Natural News helped with pre-event publicity and during the event monitored Liz Reitzig’s tweets and the live stream, and provided continual coverage of the event for their readers.
A 16 year old blogger scooped the media by publishing the first story. This home schooled teenager and Christian blogger attended the rally, see her story on Proverbs 31 Wannabe blog.
For a very interesting series of posts about Vernon Hershberger, please visit David Gumpert’s blog. He is a journalist who was at the events last week, and has followed this issue closely.
Joe Orso of the LaCrosse Tribune wrote an excellent op-ed, comparing Vernon Hershberger to Rosa Parks, the civil rights hero who refused to comply with an unjust law.
Here is the Channel 3000.com news story and video about the Declaration of Food Independence event.
Read and listen to Wisconsin Public Radio’s coverage of the rally.
Here is a good article which gives some context to the Vernon Hershberger case in the Reedsburg Times Press.
Another article on PRWatch.
More news coverage is yet to come, as media requests have come in after the event from Republic Broadcasting Network, and Steel on Steel, a nationally syndicated radio talk show. I will add stories as they appear.
Here is a reporter calling Vernon, a National Folk Hero. Rock River Times
What Would You Do?
Would you be willing to sign such a declaration? If you were a dairy farmer, could you risk everything you have ever worked for, to stand on principle? Please share your thoughts in the comments, below.
Are you willing to support Vernon as he moves forward in this epic battle? If so, please join us in our Pledgie.com fundraiser. If you have a blog or website, please post this button on your sidebar with a message of why your fans should help defend food freedom and the right to private direct trade.
Click on this button to lend your support or give a word of encouragement to the Hershberger family!