A quiet fight is being waged across America today, a fight for the right to eat what you want.
At the top of the list of contentious foods is a beverage: raw milk. The FDA doesn’t mince words about its view of the food, calling it dangerous and advising that nobody consume it, under any circumstances, ever.
On the other side of the battle, consumers who believe in the healthful properties of raw milk, say that they should be allowed to purchase the stuff, and consume it if they choose.
Stuck in the middle are scores of small farmers who attempt to make a living by connecting those conscientious consumers with a product that can be hard to find — if it’s not downright illegal. In recent years farmers who stick their necks out to provide raw milk have seen their farm stands raided by armed guards, their computers confiscated as evidence, and their product destroyed. Basically, they’ve been treated like terrorists.
This week a group of 100 criminal moms decided to protest what they see as an outrageous imposition on their rights. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
A self-described “caravan of criminal mothers” defied federal law Tuesday by transporting raw milk across state lines from a Pennsylvania farm and drinking it in front of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Maryland….The protest sprang from an FDA sting operation on Amish farmer Dan Allgyer’s tiny dairy of three dozen cows in Kinzer, Pa., that culminated in a predawn raid on the farm last year. Allgyer had been selling milk to consumers in Maryland who had formed a buying club. None of Allgyer’s milk was contaminated. His alleged crime was selling it across state lines.
More hopefully, this week Chelsea Green attended the Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference, which was an oasis of whole-fat foods, raw dairy products, and grass-fed meats in the otherwise abjectly unhealthy American food landscape.
Writer Jessica Claire Haney shared a vignette from the smorgasbord:
Chicken broth was on tap today at the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund fundraiser breakfast at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Literally on tap. Conference-goers filled up bowls of beef and chicken stock from a shiny silver carafe that you might, at any other conference, think was for dispensing coffee.
Serious about nutrient-dense food, attendees of the Weston A. Price Foundation’s annual Wise Traditions conference feasted on full-fat local and organic yogurt, soaked oatmeal, pastured hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the day, coconut wraps with pulled chicken and lard-fried tortilla chips for lunch, and garlic sauerkraut with grassfed beef for dinner. A far cry from standard conference fare, this food had big shoes to fill: to nourish a group of hundreds of people who believe in the power of food as medicine and who see sustainable farming as important as breathing.
This year’s conference theme was “Mythbusters,” with speakers challenging the wisdom of low-fat, low-salt and plant-based diets. In the exhibit hall, vendors sell lacto-fermented vegetables, sprouted flour, coconut oil, nutritional supplements, meats and lots of books from New Trends Publishing and Chelsea Green.
Raw milk isn’t the only battleground food. This week farmers in Nevada were reprimanded for hosting an on-farm dinner with their own meat and vegetables. In an era when millions go hungry every day, these farmers were forced by the Southern Nevada Health District to destroy the wholesome food they were going to serve — they weren’t even allowed to feed it to their pigs. You can watch a video of the incident over at The Elephant.
What do you think, should consumers be allowed to choose the foods they want, accepting all reasonable risks thereof, or should the government try to protect them by making it harder or impossible to get foods they deem dangerous? Pop on over to our Facebook page to let us know!