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Save A Family Farm In Just 10 Minutes

Imagine this. You’re a farmer. You home school your many children and keep to a peaceful country life. You specialize in making the highest quality raw milk cheese from grass-fed cows. Every morning you walk out into a gray morning and watch the sunrise over the swaying fields of lush, green grasses while you go about your daily farm chores. You don’t own a gun. You’ve never even fired one. You are a law-abiding person, and you’ve never so much as gotten a parking ticket.

Then, one day, federal agents show up at your door, guns drawn. They storm into your farm house like a SWAT team, armed with high-powered guns and sporting bullet proof vests. They scare you, your kids, and seize your property while flashing badges, waving warrants, and shouting orders. You never knew you were so dangerous. After all, you’re Amish.

Good thing this is an imaginary story. And yet it isn’t. Watch this:

Often times these raids are conducted in ways that over-step the boundaries outlined in the warrants. Seized goods (which represent the farm’s entire income for the year) are improperly transported, stored, tested, and destroyed. The government policy seems to be “Destroy now. Ask questions later.”

Of course, that policy has caused farm after farm to go under. Then, years later, when the farmers are cleared of any charges brought against them, it’s too late. They’ve lost their home. They’ve lost their farm. Their entire lives have been turned upside down. And of course the government offers no real restitution.

As these raids become more frequent (2 prominent ones in the last month!), it has become clear that those of us who value local, organic, unprocessed foods and the farmers who supply them have to change tactics. We have got to stand behind these farmers so that they don’t go under.

Spend The Next 10 Minutes Saving A Family Farm

1. DONATE! Every little bit helps.

The two farms raided last month will suffer the loss of their entire inventory of cheese for the year, despite the fact that NO ONE has gotten sick from their cheeses and NO TESTING AT THE FARM has come back positive for any food borne pathogens. (There have been some positive tests for certain bacteria in the cheeses, but the circumstances surrounding the testing is shady at best. The cheese was improperly transported, stored, and handled from the time samples were seized during the raids until the time they were tested.) Furthermore:

What is unjust about the actions taken against Morningland and Estrella is that there has not been an adequate level of proof shown to establish that the bacteria found in the cheese and the environment are actually harmful to human health. There are many subtypes of L. mono (and Staph. aureus); as mentioned above, many of these subtypes have not been found to cause illness in humans. The agencies have the capability to determine the subtype of a pathogen found and whether that particular subtype is on record as having caused human illness; if the subtype has not, then there is no adulteration and no need to destroy the product.

Neither the FDA nor Milk Board, which is working at the direction of FDA, has conducted any testing to determine the subtype. Once the agencies had the initial positive tests, they should have done subsequent testing for the subtype. Even if the subtype is known to cause illness in humans, it still needs to be determined whether the amount of bacteria in the food is enough to actually do so. FDA has a zero tolerance policy for L. mono, a standard widely rejected by the scientific community throughout the world. The zero tolerance policy, in fact, reduces the incentive to test for L. mono.

What stands to happen now is that the dairies could be forced to destroy hundreds of thousands of dollars in product that are no threat to the public health. Morningland and Estrella have suffered significant financial losses as it already is; neither has produced any cheese in the last two months. The destruction orders from the courts would further cripple their businesses, if not entirely shutting them down.


Click here to lend your support to: Uncheese Party and make a donation at !


Click here to lend your support to: Help the Estrella Family Creamery and make a donation at !

I know times are tough financially, but PLEASE search your heart and see what you can honestly afford to give. Then give it. Even if it’s just $5. If all my readers gave at least $5, BOTH these dairies would be able to be financially solvent this year, despite their heavy losses.

2. Sign Up For Our NEW Farm Raid Fund Email Updates

Just enter your name and email address below to sign up for our email list. (You can also sign up here.) We will send an email out every time a farm gets raided so you can pledge $5 (or more) to save the farm from going under.

(Please note: we will ONLY use this email alert when a farm needs help due to a raid. We will not share or sell your email addresses — ever! You can opt out at any time.)

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3. Spread The Word

Email your friends and family. Share this post (using the buttons below) on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. And go read the other posts from other bloggers who are blogging about Saving Food Freedom today.

(photo by susieblackmon)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Food Renegade's ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.

6 Responses to Save A Family Farm In Just 10 Minutes
  1. Raine Saunders
    November 19, 2010 | 2:34 pm

    Hi Kristin – thank you for posting this. Please everyone, pass this information along and donate to help our sustainable farms and future of our food! Personally, I believe these raids are constructed by our government as a means to try and produce false evidence against sustainable farms to claim they are producing dangerous substances that they sell to customers, and thereby justify the passage of horrific measures such as The Food Modernization Act S.510 and its counterpart S3767. I’ve posted about this subject today, donated, and spread the word on Facbook and Twitter.

    • KristenM
      November 20, 2010 | 8:21 pm

      Thanks, Raine, for your activism!

  2. Kimberly Hartke
    November 19, 2010 | 6:49 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Kristin. I know your blog is hugely popular and maybe other bloggers will follow suit. Please everyone, consider running the pledgie buttons for both of these campaigns on your side bar, until the fundraising is complete. This is an ongoing campaign which will provide much needed sustenance to farms on the verge of disaster!

    Here is my post from yesterday that explains the whole concept of this fund raising crop mob:

    With every body giving the equivilant of the cost of a latte, a crop mob of 50,000 can raise 250,000 to help a family farm in its struggle to survive!

    God bless you all for helping!

    • KristenM
      November 20, 2010 | 8:21 pm

      Great links. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ness Lum
    November 20, 2010 | 9:36 am

    Kristin, thank you so much for keeping us informed. This is a battle and only by taking a stand can we preserve our right to healthy food access. And that is just not exercising our choice at the marketplace, but also supporting the marketplace farmers that give us those choices!

    • KristenM
      November 20, 2010 | 8:22 pm

      Amen. We need to support our farmers.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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