Michael Schmidt Raw milk advocate & heritage breed farmer
Michael Schmidt is a Canadian heritage breed dairy farmer and advocate for raw milk. His story is documented in the film Milk War.
Milk War is a story about Michael Schmidt’s battle to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk. In defiance of the law Schmidt has supplied his neighbours with raw milk for over 20 years. On November 21, 2006 Schmidt’s farm was raided by armed officers, his equipment was seized, all dairy products were destroyed and Michael was charged with 20 criminal offences for distributing unpasteurized milk.
On October 18, 2011, he delivered a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty requesting a dialog to discuss the right of people to buy food directly from farmers.
Raised in Germany with a Masters in Agriculture, he practices biodynamic principles of farming on his farm, Glencolton, in Durham, Ontario.
The Schmidt’s farm was raided when the government heard about Schmidt’s cowsharing program in 1994 and again in 2006.In 2008, he was found guilty of contempt of court for ignoring a court order. He appealed the charges. In 2010, he represented himself in court and the judge, Paul Kowarsky, agreed with Schmidt and dropped all of the charges. The Ontario government appealed. In September 2011, the acquittal was overturned.
His farming operations have continued following the latest judgement. Schmidt plans to appeal. In the meantime, his latest fight involves him undergoing a hunger strike, which began on September 29, 2011 and ended on November 4, 2011. He has been enduring more raids on the farm and milk related charges since, most recently the members of the farm’s food share program have also been charged.
Michael was charged along with Montana Jones, Robert Pinnell and Suzanne Atkinson after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA ) seized, killed and tested all Montana’s heritage Shropshire sheep. All were negative for scrapie.
LifeStock Food & Farm Festival 2016 is a celebration of food and farm culture, and a fundraiser to help raise the estimated $150,000 in legal expenses still needed for hopefully the final, but certainly the most important leg of their 6 -year chapter. Proceeds will go to the Canadian Constitution Foundation and their counsel Shawn Buckley to represent them at the upcoming criminal trial where they both face impossible fines and a possible 12 years in prison, all for trying to protect Canada’s heritage breed livestock.