when the plebs balk
service in solidarity
I was talking to someone from the UK a few days ago about the controls being laid down, one after another, on small farmers. He was telling me that during the latest bird flu scare, they were told to keep their poultry indoors. When he let the handful of chickens outside in their run, a neighbour reported him to the “authorities”.
We’ve had cases like that here. A few years ago, a fella’ butchered one of his pigs with a friend of his. His neighbour didn’t like that he was raising pigs and had alerted the Canadian food safety agency that he was raising meat on his little farm and, he was certain, sharing it. Yes, an absolutely vile act of disobedience, I know. One mustn’t legally sell or even share their meat here in Canada if it isn’t butchered in a regulated abattoir. That includes hunted game, by the way. The “authorities” staked out this guy’s house and lucked out when, at the end of a quiet harvest day, the friend that left his farm had a few packages of meat in his car. The meat was a “thank you” given from the farmer to his pal for the help he generously gave. The food safety fake police pounced on his car and the next two years were a hellacious dragging through the courts for the farmer. All of that time and resources for harvesting a pig with a friend and giving him a few packs of chops for his help.
There’s all sorts of stories like this, here in Canada, in the US, and abroad. In Canada, our dairy supply management system makes the possibility of raw milk legalization a pipe dream. When I first joined the Weston A. Price Foundation, only a couple of states in the US could sell raw milk, but now there are all sorts of places and ways to get it. Not so in Canada. It is as buttoned down and as illegal as it’s ever been. When our kids were small, I brought them to the court case of our friend and fabulously courageous and principled farmer, Michael Schmidt. I wanted my kids to really understand what the farmers that fed us put on the line so that
they, we, could be nourished. We had drank raw milk for years by then. I did my shady milk deals in church parking lots and on the sides of gravel roads, covering the bottles with towels so nobody could see the dangerous white stuff within. Speaking of dangerous white stuff, cocaine possession would be a lesser charge than selling raw milk in this country. I have seen the farmers who have lost everything for their commitment to doing what they believed in. We’ve all seen it. Because we’re supposed to see it. “Watch as the brave are toppled and take note citizens! You will be next!”
And I think we’ve all mostly stayed within the blurry lines of the regulations for the most part. Sure, maybe someone has slid you some venison for the eggs you gave them. Or maybe after a day of cutting fence posts, a few packs of jerky were handed over with gratitude. But, it’s increasingly becoming harder to pretend that there isn’t some strangeness afoot. In a time when we are hearing all about food shortages and climate disaster and inflation enough to drive us into homelessness, the controls around food production are tightening exponentially.
It was this week, when my “mandatory” agricultural census came in with “bi-annual” written on the top as if that’s the way it always was (but most definitely wasn’t). Why bi-annual? What happened to random census taking? The last census I filled out had me list every last animal on our farm, every last vegetable and fruit. They wanted to know about chicks born on the farm and chicks bought in hatcheries. They wanted to know how many eggs we collected and where they were sold. They wanted to know every last dollar value of production that our farm was capable of. And now they want to know again. “Biannually”. “Mandatory”. A stocktaking of the food of our country.
The regulations on raising food in this country are all written for the large farmers, feedlots, and processors. Years ago, a friend of ours decided that they couldn’t take the pressure of being a rogue raw milk farmer, “too risky”, she said, and decided to do everything “by the book”. It’s a good thing that her family made an excellent off-farm income, because the cost of being “legitimate” in the eyes of the government meant an incredible investment of dollars. I was aghast when she told me that she had to take a “milk transportation course”. This is a course designed for truckers picking up milk and bringing it to factories to be pasteurized and homogenized. Why did she have to do that course, and pay the fees to be licensed? She was walking the milk from the milking parlour, 25 metres away, to her inspected commercial kitchen, where the milk would be turned into cheese.
Today in this country, we have a program called, “Pig Trace” that’s supposed to control the spread of diseases in pigs. What pigs? Well, pretty much the factory pigs living in damp, concrete houses, squished together and given antibiotics and ractopamine and GMO food and treated as if they have no other needs in this world but to be kept alive long enough to be killed. Those pigs. But protecting immunocompromised pigs means that healthy outdoor pigs must be controlled. (Anyone drawing some parallels here?) Small farmers must be registered and reporting any movements of their pigs as they go from one farm to another. John is buying a pig from Sally to bring home to his farm. Well, by golly, he better call that pig into “pig trace”. A pig has a litter? Better tell Pig Trace.
And on it goes. I can’t legally have more than 50 turkeys and there was a time a few years ago when the turkey big boys didn’t want those turkeys to be allowed to go outside. In order to raise more than 300 meat chickens, I have to apply to the government for permission. I can’t sell eggs at the farmers market, only from farm gate. When I buy chicks from a hatchery, they record my name and report it to another agency. When I buy feed from the farm store, they record my name again. Our cattle need to have RFID tags in their ears (radio frequency tags, yup, right next to their brains). And raw milk? Woe to thee for even thinking it, dastardly heathen of hell’s evil lair!!!
We’re not concerned about our ability to feed ourselves.
We’re concerned about our freedom to feed ourselves.
Here’s the thing. The time to wait for others to do something about these archaic and unjust regulations and laws is gone. Gone, gone, gone, and only slipping further away. The time for civil disobedience is upon us and pressing on our shoulders. Can you feel it? If we cannot operate within a system to meet our basic needs of nourishment and our rights to have fulfilled lives as we want to live them, we are, by definition, in a time of tyranny.
The globalists want us to eat what they feed us. The globalists want us to live as they see a life should be lived. The evidence is all around us and one of the most powerful tools at their disposal is our desire to be agreeable. We like to go along to get along for the most part. Okay, not online, but in real life, who wants to make waves? Just leave us alone and let us live our lives in peace. But that’s not going to be our lot much longer. It has been. For quite a time, it has been. It’s why so many of us would rather keep denying what’s happening in plain sight over rallying our people and figuring out what we need to do to build resilience.
So what do we do to build resilience?
“If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I want raw milk so badly for my kids but we can’t get it here in Canada” I’d have a nice, juicy stack of dollars. Only we have “loonies” here, not dollars so, yes, I’d have a jingly bag of loonies. Probably too heavy to carry very far. You get the picture. I have a standard answer to that predicament, “We bought raw milk long before we ever had a farm here in Canada.” Usually that gets a curious look and the request for a name or two. But here’s the thing, why are so many people waiting for other people to give them things? I suppose it’s because we’ve been raised to want something and then to go out and buy it. That’s the old way of doing things and it’s not going to serve us in the new economy that will, by necessity, be replacing this crumbling version of commerce.
In the new economy, more is asked of us. We aren’t just consumers and hallelujah for that! We are participants. We are connected and woven together, not just into our food but into the people raising and growing it. If you are not a farmer, maybe you’re a beekeeper. If you’re not a beekeeper maybe you’re a seamstress or have some brute strength to share. If you want to make sure your children are eating the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, sourced locally from humans you know the names of, should you not put something on the line, too? Money isn’t enough. It’s not enough for the farmer who is being asked to take all of the risk and it’s not enough for the other people in that relationship who are more than lowly eaters.
You want raw milk? What are you going to do about it? This isn’t a grocery store. You don’t look at the shelves and shrug because it’s not there. This is about gathering a tribe that supports and reinforces the humans supplying them with the nourishment. This is about creating robust connections in a time of corporations trying to dissolve us of that inherent right. The time for sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it has passed. And, in case you haven’t noticed, if we don’t start building our local food hubs, there will be nothing to do but get in the handout line for whatever Soylent green lab creation they have for us. Maybe not us, but what about our children? What will they have seen of us? Dependance for convenience or our resolve to be a part of a new economy centred around duty to our communities in a robust way.
We can start small. Identify a need and see what you can do about it. It’s foreign, I know. It requires us to get out there and talk to people, to find our tribes. It requires work and dedication. I’ve mentioned before about various buying clubs and groups I’ve started over the years. Throughout our lives, we moved, on average, every two years. Military postings to obscure locations had me hustling to continuously find our farmers everywhere we went. It was a part time job, to be sure. I would go to farms, talk to farmers, buy a few of their things and see how they were. I would ask questions, and not just questions about food. I would get to know the people feeding us. I would bring my kids and we would volunteer on their farms, even just shovelling poop if that’s what was needed. I would find one farmer who would tell me about another. Word of mouth is always the best way.
I have started bulk organic food buying clubs. I have been the central farm pick up person at many a farm, buying eggs on flats, contraband raw cheeses and meats, veggies, fermented foods, etc.. I have had raw milk access continuously throughout our lives and all but two of those times were not established groups. I’ve even organized bulk, wholesale purchases of organic butter, salt, and for over 15 years now, bulk organic fruit. Yes, it’s work. Yes, it’s totally worth it. Yes, it is a responsibility I should take on and so should you. Is there something you wish you could get your paws on? Fix it.
The benefit of taking this on now is being a part of the growing of what will follow the collapse of our wilting system. Each new desperate regulation and proclamation from the globalists, a death knell of a system no longer strong enough to hold itself up.
We’re not here, at this time, by accident. We’ve had a pretty smooth go of it, most of us. Do what you must to mourn what is gone. Courage is needed now. Courage and clarity and resolve. I live on a farm with ancient apple trees we press into cider and vinegar and snack on, lazily picking one that looks unlike anything I could ever buy, as we pass under their ancient branches. A human being planted those. Maybe a human being that never even got to taste one. We’re those human beings now. Plant things even if you will never taste their sweetness. Connect with others even if your attempts might fail the first few times. Try again. Do it again. The point is never in the outcome. The point is in being a part of something you are specifically, pointedly, purposely here to do.
Get to it.
Slowdown Farmstead is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.