Montana Jones – LifeStock 2012
By: Margo McIntosh, RHN, RNCP, CH http://balanceyourapple.com
Before I begin to write about the LifeStock event yesterday in Hastings, Ontario, I want to show you some pictures that are just plain heartwarming.
The Shepherd and her charges. These sheep love and trust this woman. That is obvious and made me smile. My grandfather was a shepherd and being around these sheep brought back wonderful memories of baby lambs, gentle curiosity, being in the barn and the love that was there. Love is apparent on this farm. It just felt good to be there.
The story of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and their attack on this small farm has been written about extensively so I will give you a few links to look at if you do not yet know the whole story.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation with lawyer Karen Selick are representing this case. The CCF works from donations and is able to help these farmers due to the generosity of all of us. Please donate if you can on their website.
If you couldn’t come out to LifeStock and you want to help to get this farmer back on her feet, please go to this link and make a contribution of any size. http://lifestock.ca/
LifeStock 2012 was an awesome success. The official head count was 274 people. Many of us came from 3-4 hours away and one man even came from Sault Ste. Marie which is about 7 hours away. The weather was overcast and threatening rain all day but it did not start to drizzle until everyone was leaving about 8 p.m. Divine intervention perhaps? The day started at 10:30 and got progressively colder as day moved into evening. I’m explaining this so that it is evident that supporters, who will spend that many hours driving and be outside in the cold from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., really belive in this cause and this fight against government agencies pushing their agendas and power plays way too far.
This was the first time that I actually was able to meet Montana Jones in person. We’ve talked over facebook and e-mail but meeting her was a real pleasure. There is a genuine sweetness about her that is backed by a strength that is obvious as she has held herself up in the face of this heartbreaking fight.
Montana’s farm is beautiful and her animals relaxed and very healthy looking.
I’m a sucker for old barns so had to take a picture of this one. It’s really picturesque!
This pig was having the time of his life digging up a patch of ground and not the least bit worried about the many humans that were gathered around him.
Two beautiful horses that didn’t flinch when the lady with the hat and the black thing in front of her face (camera) got really close to them.
Animals this comfortable with new people are obviously well loved and well handled.
The day was packed with singing entertainment and talks by various people. For information on all the speakers present yesterday you can go to http://lifestock.ca/speakers.
We were fortunate to hear Elwood Quinn, the president of Raw Breeds Canada explain to us the importance of preserving these rare genetics. It was distressing to hear his account of the appointment he had with the CFIA. They ignored pleas to find an alternative to this mass killing and Mr. Quinn is concerned, as are most of us, this will not stop with Shropshire sheep. The following is from the LifeStock website linked to above. I think it is important information to add to this blog post for a better understanding of why heritage breeds are important:
“Rare Breeds Canada is a federally registered charitable organization formed in 1987. We are working to conserve, monitor and promote heritage and rare breeds of Canadian farm animals.
Conservation takes many forms: we work to increase popu-lations, encourage registration of pure stock, assist farmers to find breeding stock, educate the public, maintain a bank of rare semen and create networks so farmers can find and exchange stock and find markets for their produce.
Markets are developing for heritage meats–in many cases demand outstrips supply. Thanks to years of dedicated work by Livestock Conservation organization around the world, there is a glimmer of hope for heritage breeds. As long as we will eat them, farmers will keep them.
Many breeds that played a vital part in feeding Canadians in the past are still in danger of extinction. Our annual Conservation List takes the pulse of these fragile populations. Rare Breeds Canada also collects data in targeted census counts to understand population distribution.
Food security is an important issue in our conservation effort. The genetics of the older rustic breeds have qualities that are in demand now and may be invaluable in the future. Today’s industrial farming methods of intensification and specialization have put our food supply at risk by creating a dangerous dependency on a narrow genetic base and highly mechanized management.
Heritage breeds are thrifty, easy keepers– are disease resistant, birth easily, and have superior mothering abilities. Chefs and cheese makers all over the world are excited about the superior taste of heritage meat.”
Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Professor Emeriti, B.Sc. (Manchester), Ph.D. (Sheffield), F.R.S.C. at Trent University is a professor of alternative agriculture, environmental studies and farms helping to preserve heritage breeds. Dr. Hutchinson added his concerns to Mr. Quinn’s about the destruction of heritage breeds without looking for an alternative.
Pam Killeen educates the public about the falsehoods that are being promoted as healthy and their alternatives. Ms. Killeen teaches the Weston A. Price Foundation food concepts like I do and she pointed out some things to the audience that even this health dedicated crowd may not have known. Her website is here http://pamkilleen.com/.
Michael Schmidt, in that no nonsense, straight from the hip way he has become famous for, congratulated Montana on her strength to fight this battle and keep going. He talked about the need for people to wait no longer to stand up and speak up to their politicians and make them selves heard. As he has in the past, he compared our situation of increasing government control over our food and property rights to what happened in Nazi Germany. By the applause, it was evident to me that many people agree with him. Michael invited the undercover agents to step forward and introduce themselves. Nobody came forward. Everyone at the farm yesterday believed some undercover people where there.
Karen Sellick , Litigation Director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation and lawyer to both Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones, spoke about the injustice in Montana’s case. She also invited the undercover CFIA or OPP officers in the crowd to identify themselves. She challenged that if they are okay with treating people the way they are doing and believe they are right then speaking up should not be a problem. Of course nobody admitted to being there undercover. Without the help of the CCF and Karen Sellick, neither Michael or Montana could fight these bullies so please donate so that farmers in the future can also benefit from the help of the CCF.
Montana’s short talk was heart moving. Her sincere desire to keep this heritage breed of sheep from going extinct and her hard work in breeding them to be the best they could be was obvious. Her hurt and disappointment in our government’s violent acts was heartbreaking. Many of us in the crowd are and have been reevaluating our notion that government is there to protect us. The system has gotten so big and so corrupt that people’s welfare and rights have taken a back seat.
Jason Bowman, a representative for the Mohawk Sovereign Nation, gave an impromptu talk about the history of tyranny comparing it to Nazi Germany as others have done. He is like an encyclopedia of knowledge and never fails to amaze me with what he knows and how he pulls facts out of his head so quickly!
I missed the talks of Doug Kennedy and Keith Salisbury so I can’t comment on them unfortunately.
There was a variety of musical entertainment all throughout the day. The stage was constructed the night before and worked very well. It was situated at the bottom of a slight incline so the acoustics were awesome! Every one of these talented young artists donated their time to this event and their contribution added greatly to the day. For a full list of who played and sang go to this link http://lifestock.ca/music/. Of course my personal favorite was Kaleigh Mason, a young woman I have come to be friends with. Her voice is powerful and soul full. I fully expect to one day see her on television. In fact, any one of the young artists that performed yesterday could easily be “discovered” and added to the growing list of famous Canadian performers. I have a video of one of Kaleigh’s songs that I will add here when I get it edited.
People set up tents and provided coffee and food for the crowd. A list of the foods provided is at this link http://lifestock.ca/food/. The pizza cooked in Montana’s outdoor stone oven looked awesome. I have to mention the wonderful coffee supplied by Kyoto Coffee in Peterborough. Fresh and yummy! I drank way too much of it but then it was cold……..
A good time was had by all. Everyone is anxious to see how this whole issue plays out in court. The food movement has many facets and they all come down to freedoms. Heritage animals, heritage seeds and raw milk from pastured animals all apparently pose a threat to big Ag and companies like Monsanto, who are interested in the $ and market share before the health and future of humanity. Apparently our government is influenced by these mega corporations. Don’t we vote politicians in to think of us first? Michael Schmidt and Karen Sellick are right when they say that it is time for us to stand up to this type of tyranny and demand our rights before these large corporations put all small farmers out of business and destroy our ability to feed our families nutrient dense real food. As the future unfolds, it is my belief that we will look back and understand just how significant these food freedom issues have been to our children and our grandchildren’s health. It is my prayer that we create change so that we look back and are happy that we averted disaster and changed the course of history to a more sustainable food supply and eco system complete with breeds of animals and types of seeds that are natural and original to the earth.
In closing I would like to share this picture of a little girl wearing one of the t-shirts that we used for the raw milk rally at Queens Park November of 2011. Look how healthy she looks. Her mother feeds her nutrient dense foods and raw milk is one of those foods. Can anyone tell this sweet, innocent little girl that the adults in her world are ignoring and don’t care about the way that government is slowly but surely limiting our food supply to foods that do not create a healthy future for her and that it’s okay because scientists know better than nature? If you can look this sweet child in the eye and tell her that, then you are reading the wrong blog and I’m really glad I don’t know you.