Michael Schmidt—Canadian Raw Milk Hero—Needs Our Help
by Kimberly Hartke and Liz Reitzig
We have written numerous stories about farmers and their struggles to get out from under the onerous regulations that have made our food less safe, less nutritious. Probably one farmer more than most. Michael Schmidt of Ontario, Canada captures our heart, perhaps more than any other because of the dear price he has paid for our freedom. Michael has lost hundreds of acres of his farm, a marriage, countless hours in numerous courtrooms as a defendant, many more hours at protests and rallies, and a prolonged hunger strike that could have killed him.
Michael is an inspiration, a guiding light, a braver man we have never known. He is our modern day Gandhi. Don’t you want to say you stood with the Gandhi of our generation?
Amidst Court Battles and Escalating Charges, Michael Schmidt Maintains His Calm
Sometimes it is someone’s humility that has the greatest impact on us rather boisterous heroics. Such is the case with Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt. For 21 years, Schmidt has peacefully run his farm and provided his community with fresh, nourishing foods including raw milk. Schmidt produces raw dairy products for a group of families who want these foods and go to great lengths to obtain them.
In a recent article about Michael Schmidt, it states:
“In fact, these families have actually purchased the farm from Schmidt and his wife, Elisa, in an attempt to avoid violating the law. Absurdly, Canadian law outlaws raw milk distribution. It is legal for farmers to drink raw milk from their own animals, but not to distribute it. Schmidt claims that it is his natural right to peacefully farm and to provide clean, wholesome food to his community, so he continues to milk the cows and make the products available to the community of farm owners. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and other Canadian agencies, both federal and local, continue to harass him for this peaceful act.”
Rather than responding to the antagonism in kind, Michael calls on the strength of character to search for a positive outcome despite the Canadian government attempting to escalate it. As the government continues to treat Michael like a violent criminal, Michael remains peaceful.
“Schmidt continues to challenge the government on its authority to criminalize him and his community over milk. This past summer, the government escalated its harassment of him and the farm owners, by planting surveillance cameras on the road by the property to spy on anyone entering or leaving the farm. Schmidt discovered the cameras and publicly questioned who put them there and why. A concerned neighbor removed the cameras, leading to theft charges against Schmidt.
When he reported to the police station for identification, authorities demanded that he submit to fingerprinting – a procedure not required for the type of offense he was charged with. When he refused, he was jailed overnight, before being forcibly fingerprinted in the morning and set free. Meanwhile, around this time the MNRF and a multi-agency task force conducted multiple raids on his farm and delivery vehicle.
During one farm raid, farm owners, concerned neighbors and community members blocked the driveway and prevented the government from removing thousands of dollars’ worth of food and farm equipment. The government then said that the peaceful activists were promoting “anti-government” sentiment. Five people present at that raid have been charged by the West Grey Police for ‘obstructing police.’”
10 Years In Prison?
Despite the fact that Michael has remained peaceful through the past 21 years of government abuse, he is currently facing up to 10 years in prison.
“Almost four years ago when a fellow farmer – shepherdess Montana Jones – faced the wrath of the CFIA over an alleged case of scrapie in her healthy sheep, Schmidt suggested that the CFIA find a better way to handle the case rather than eradicating the entire flock of healthy sheep. Instead, the CFIA chose to put a kill order on the majority of the flock. On the morning of the day the kill was to take place, an ad hoc group called the Farmers’ Peace Corps surreptitiously rescued the healthy sheep and took them secretly into protective custody, until, they said, a better solution could be found.
On June 13, 2012, Michael Schmidt celebrated his 58th birthday by making a public statement (part 1 and part 2) regarding the actions of the individuals who called themselves the Farmers’ Peace Corps. As a result, he was charged – three years ago – on December 6, 2012, with being part of a conspiracy to violate CFIA orders and multiple additional charges.
Charges, court cases, attorney’s fees and time away from the farm have marked the past three years for Schmidt and his family. As Schmidt and Montana Jones, who was also charged, weave their way through and around the charges, they are faced with unending legal expenses.
Thankfully, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is helping support their legal fees. To date, the CCF has spent more than $125,000 defending Schmidt and Jones against the CFIA charges. It is estimated that another $150,000 will be needed to represent these food freedom fighters through to the end of their trial.”
Donate to their legal expenses on the Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones Indiegogo page. The original fund set up by the CCF shows that it is fully funded. However, with the additional charges and the pre trial hearings taking many months, they are in dire need to legal funding immediately and ongoing. In an effort to save a farm, save a farmer and save a family, please donate what you can and remain involved in this case as we watch the dramatic impact that true humility can have on a community. All donations at this link go to the Canadian Constitution Foundation in support of Michael and Montana’s legal fees.
Follow the cases on the Support Michael Schmidt Facebook groups page. Share this blog post and the Indiegogo campaign to tell others of these natural foods heroes.
Read more about this case on Natural News in Tale of Two Food Crimes.
Kimberly Hartke and Liz Reitzig are publicists for the Canadian Constitution Foundation.