By Kelly Moeggenborg | November 29, 2011
At the Wise Traditions conference in Dallas recently, I met John Moody who has quite a story. He spoke at the Chapter Leader’s meeting on how to be prepared in case you’re raided by a government agency over raw milk, or some other equally menacing food rights issue. (Such law-breakers we Real Foodies are.)
John said that he told his small kids, “Someday men with guns might come to our house, but it’s OK.” He did that to prepare them for what could surely be a frightening situation. (Be sure to watch the Rawesome raid video and also read about the Manna Storehouse raid if you haven’t already.) John knew there would be a government action at some point against the food buyers club he manages, and he was right. Thankfully there were no guns this time…
When an inspector from the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness slapped a quarantine on 76 half gallons of raw milk about to be picked up by members of a local buying club ten days ago, the action seemed to come out of the blue.
But John Moody, the club’s co-administrator, wasn’t in the least bit surprised. “I have been preparing for this for five years,” he says. “It’s only a matter of time till something happens that involves a showdown with the state. It’s not a maybe, it’s a certainty. I’ve always told this to my members.” [The Complete Patient, 6/7/2011]
Here’s how John’s heroic buying club members responded:
On Friday afternoon, as the administrator of a Kentucky buying club was setting out raw milk and other food for pickup by members, an inspector for the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness appeared at the church basement storage site. He presented two pieces of paper: a cease-and-desist order (from the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness) and a quarantine order (from the Kentucky Department of Health Services), and placed “Quarantine” notices on each of several coolers containing 76 half gallons of milk. (See the quarantine order below.) The order is made out to one of the administrators along with the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, apparently because the buying club administrator called a FTCLDF lawyer while the inspector was present.
By the time members arrived, a new piece of paper had been placed on the coolers, stating:
I, the undersigned, hereby declare that I have taken my milk that comes from cows I own via private contract under the protection of the KY constitution (articles 1,2,4,6,10,16,26), and if the county health department would like to speak with me about this matter, I can be reached at the number given below.
Before the afternoon was out, about 40 members of the buying club had signed the statement, and taken their quarantined milk. “A large number of my members pulled in today and ignored the cease-and-desist and quarantine orders,” John Moody, a co-administrator of the buying club, told me.
In other words, these buying club members openly defied the Louisville public health authorities. In so doing, I believe they are the first consumers to sign on to such an act of group defiance to protect and preserve their food. [The Complete Patient, 5/29/2011]
Let’s do the same and BE THERE
Just as John’s buying club members stood together to fight back, we need to do the same for those who take risks to bring us our Real Food. Mark McAfee mentioned my friend, Ann Marie, in his talk at the Wise Traditions conference and said he’s grateful she’s there whenever he needs her. He knows she’s only one phone call away and then the world had better stand by because that girl will be all over the internet with her pictures and videos and Facebook pages.
She did the same thing for Michael Schmidt when he was on a hunger strike recently. (She got on me and the other Real Food Media bloggers to change our Facebook profile pictures to show our support, which forced me to learn how to actually do such a technical thing.)
Let’s you and I be that person for OUR local farmers and buying clubs. Maybe you aren’t the raw milk producer or the one helping to distribute it, but those who put themselves on the line for you deserve your support when it’s their livelihood on the line.
The other day my son saw some people picketing and protesting on the news and asked, “Why do people protest?” I said, “They do it for something they believe in, when something is going on that is WRONG. Someday it may be me with the bright neon sign on the news, so plan on it.”
I hope you’ll be ready, too!
How to Prepare:
After taking notes from John Moody’s talk on ways to prepare for a possible raid, I came up with this list to share with my local friends who run buying clubs and with the local farmers on our Weston Price Chapter’s local food resources page. You may want to share this post with your friends, too.
Steps to minimize the trauma of a government raid on your farm or buying club:
- Keep in mind that government officials work best when you are fearful, so the first thing to say to them is, “Do you have a warrant?” and “I need to call my lawyer.”
- The very first call you make should be to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and if you’re not a member, you should be. Join now and they will back you up in the event that anything goes down. They give free legal counsel to all members for just these types of situations.
- Have a person who you could contact in the event of a raid, your person who could rally support quickly by putting it all over social media and getting over there to start snapping pictures.
- Immediately call the media. Government officials hate this and want to keep it quiet. John warned that every single time people “cooperated” when asked not to get the media involved, it always turned out bad.
- Be sure to take loads of pictures and videos yourself.
- Have your computer files (and cell phone) all backed up off-site, as those are the first things they’ll take. (They’ll usually give them back, but you won’t have access to them in the meantime.) I use online services that backup automatically whenever you have new information on your computer.
It’s $5/month for Carbonite or Mozy. (I’m currently trying to figure out where to back up phone numbers here at home because if I didn’t have my phone or computer, my entire contact list would be unavailable. Mozy or Carbonite or even my own hard drive would take a while to download back onto a new phone or laptop. Anyone have ideas besides messing with paper copies?)
Keep in mind that Carbonite, Mozy, Google (if you use google docs, Paypal or whatever), will all “roll over and play dead”, as John says, if asked to turn over their files. Nothing will stay private.
- Can you think of more ways to prepare?
Be thankful for the raw milk in your refrigerator for the farms or buying clubs where you can get it, as many are suffering greatly to make it available to us. If they come after you next, use the information here and in the links in the sidebar to be ready!
Kelly Moeggenborg is a Weston A. Price co-chapter leader and lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s been blogging at KellytheKitchenKop.com since 2008.
Last updated December 8, /2011