Declan ODriscoll, farm to consumer legal defense fund, ftcldf, ichannel, kevin okeefe, michael schmidt, milk war, raw milk states, walkerton e coli outbreak, walkerton water poisoning
By Rady Ananda
Amid a resurgence in local food systems emerges Milk War, a documentary highlighting raw milk skirmishes that pit corporate-owned regulatory agencies against food freedom – the right to eat of the Earth without government interference. Milk War airs this Sunday in Canada on the ichannel at 8pm and 11pm Eastern.
Written and directed by award-winning journalist Kevin O’Keefe, and produced by Declan O’Driscoll, the 60-minute film explores the Michael Schmidt case, a biodynamic farmer who legally challenged Ontario’s ban on raw milk.
The Bovine gave it high praise, saying the film “dug deep and presented perhaps the most complete picture yet of the raw milk story around Michael Schmidt and Glencolton Farms.” Having been raised in post-Nazi Germany:
“Michael sees, perhaps more clearly than most, that the greatest challenge to the freedom and liberty we cherish and that our forefathers fought for, is coming not from terrorists or outsiders, but from an unaccountable proliferation of regulations that looks, from the outside, like bureaucrats on a power trip.”
Producer Declan O’Driscoll has long been a cowshare member and brought the idea to ichannel, Canada’s political and social issues network. In an interview with radio show host, Kevin Bernard, writer-director Kevin O’Keefe gives background into the making of the film. Included in the film is a view into biodynamic farming, which O’Keefe describes:
“It’s sort of like hyper-organic farming. It’s beyond organic. It’s a very strict system of farming developed by an Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner.”
At the center of this David and Goliath story is living food. “Milk is a living product. It’s alive. It contains lots of bacteria,” O’Keefe explains. Schmidt’s strict biodynamic system allows him to produce living milk safely, unlike conventional dairies that often sell tainted supplies.
O’Keefe then mentions the poisoning of Walkerton, Ontario. In 2000, a deadly strain of E. coli from factory dairies leached into the water supply. Thousands took ill and seven people died.
Canada is the only G8 country that bans the sale of raw milk, says O’Keefe. In the US, ten states allow for retail sale of raw milk for human consumption. According to this interactive map created by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, those states are Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Idaho and Washington.
“The Queen of England drinks raw milk,” O’Keefe said. In fact, raw milk is legal throughout most of Europe. David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution, reports that, in Europe, people often buy raw milk from vending machines.
Check your cable station to sign up for ichannel, which costs around $2 a month. Here’s a trailer of Milk War: