By Anonymous, the agister of an organic micro-dairy farm-share in British Columbia.
I wake every single morning at 5am, no matter what the weather or how tired I am. I live on an income well under the poverty line. The demands of my job are very physical and emotional with very long hours. And I couldn’t be happier. I am a small sustainable organic farmer and I think I have the best life in the world.
The cornerstone of the farm and my job are my cows and the small cow share I operate. They are dairy cows. They provide my family and multiple others with fresh clean raw milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, sour cream, and clabber, as well as beef from their offspring. The cows have brought together people from all walks of life and occupation. Many of the shareholders are people who have a severe intolerance to pasteurized store bought milk and have found huge relief and noticeable health benefits from the raw milk. I myself am one of those people having suffered with IBS for years, until I became involved in a friends cow share, and then started my own.
Most of the shareholders are local, but some come from an hour away to be able to access the milk and products. I do not sell the milk. People have to buy into the cow so they become part owner of the cow; therefore it is their right to consume the milk and products. I am the agister and make sure the cows are well cared for.
Small cow shares like mine create community and bring people back to the awareness of the food they consume. Every new shareholder comes to meet the cows, give them treats and see how they are loved and cared for. Their milk and dairy products have a face and emanate personality and feeling. They are always welcome to visit the cows, there are no closed doors, and nothing is secret. In fact I say anyone should be wary of such a place producing food. I send out updates on a regular basis on the welfare of the animals and any new interesting information that gets passed along to me. It has become much more than just a place to get milk and cheese. It has become somewhat of a family. We help each other in times of need and the shareholders keep me going with much thanks, kindness, and support. That is not something you get when pushing your buggy through Superstore or Costco or Thrifty’s. We support each other.
The shareholders also have the option to buy farm fresh chicken, turkey, rabbit, seasonal vegetables, and even the odd canned goodie. The more I can grow, plant or animal, the more people want as it just tastes so good, and is so fresh. I can’t count how many times people have said they could taste the happiness. And that is a fact and not imagined. It is one thing that scientists have documented and proven. Your body feels the way food is grown and produced on a cellular level.
I have never met a more brilliant, vibrant, and conscious group of people as the shareholders. People really want to reconnect with their food and the farmers that grow it. There are people that still eat at venues like McDonalds and that is their choice. But I ask, why do we as supposedly free citizens have the choice to eat McDonalds, but are treated like criminals when we want to access raw milk? You can buy cigarettes and alcohol and a Humvee if you like but not raw milk because that will kill you. Please…….
We forget that before human greed got a hold of the poor cow, all the beautiful bovines raised many healthy people. Possibly your parents, but for sure your grandparents and great grandparents. It is no mystery to the Mennonite and Amish families why their kids don’t have all the allergies which our modern day sterilized kids are riddled with.
We are in very dire times and there is a huge movement and awareness to change our food systems. Our government needs to be the leaders that we elected them to be and look after its citizen’s health and welfare, not big business. If, touch wood there is not, but if there is a disaster, and our little farm is still standing, we will be able to feed ourselves and our neighbourhood for a good while.
And to address the health and cleanliness side of things, I drink the milk, my family drinks the milk, my friends and their families drink this milk. I would in no way knowingly endanger anyone’s health. That is actually why I prefer my milk to that of the store version. Mine is whole and full of vital nutrients. Store milk is dead and that is why people are intolerant to it, it lacks all the enzymes which enable you to digest it. They have been cooked out. And for clean, I would bet money that my barn sink is cleaner than my kitchen sink, and my kitchen sink looks pretty good. It is my goal this year to become a member of RAWMI. They have created a wonderful template including HACCP procedures (I have taken the entry level of this course meant for small farmers.) and milk testing so that people are always assured they are getting fresh quality milk.
To conclude, the person giving you this letter is keeping my identity secret. How sad is that? I am considered a criminal. I am not afraid, and it angers me that I cannot be publicly vocal about my passion, but I have to worry about my cows in the event I was to be arrested. They are 100% dependent on me. And as we, my husband and I, do not yet own the part of the property on which the cow share operates, I have to be mindful of the resident children who would be forever scarred if officials were to show up with guns in full flack suits wanting to arrest me as they did Michael Schmidt and countless others.
Be the Change.
Every single person’s actions count.