Huffpost Green
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Shiva Rose Headshot

Rawesome Shutdown: The War on Food Freedom

Posted: Updated:

"If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." -- Thomas Jefferson.

It always seemed preposterous to me that we have to continuously fight to maintain our reproductive rights, but now the government has decided they are going to determine what we eat, as well. What if I don't want to consume packaged food riddled with antibiotics? What if I don't want to shop at Whole Foods, where they produce the main staples? What if I refuse to shop at Trader Joes where the source of their food is Monsanto based agro business? What if I want to give my children fresh, unpasteurized milk from a grass-fed cow so they have all the incredible enzymes and vitamins that was the way nature intended? The government is now wanting to dictate how and what I feed my family, which seems as undemocratic as telling me I have no right to choose what happens with my reproductive decisions.

This week, Rawesome, a legal food club in Venice, California, was illegally shut down by a Multi-agency armed unit and over thousands of dollars worth of fresh food and produce destroyed. The SWAT style, helmet wearing, gun carrying enforcement agents came rushing in as if they were seizing heroin or dealing with gangsters.

Instead, in their ridiculous theatrical act, they dumped gallons of pure, unpasteurized milk and took possession of organic coconuts. (Really? Coconuts? Can't our tax dollars be spent on attacking real criminals and destroying drugs?) The owner of Rawesome, James Stewart, was then arrested and charged with a bail of $123, 000. Along with Stewart, Sharon Palmer of Healthy Family Farms was also arrested with a ridiculous bail amount. Palmer's farm is a sustainable; pasture-based farming operation where they raise all the animals from birth. They do not feed their animal's corn or soy or dose them with antibiotics. This is the criminal our tax dollars is putting behind bars.

For the last couple of years I have barely walked into a traditional grocery store. Yes, I visit one for some basic goods and household products, but generally I get my food for the week at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market for fresh organic produce, and then at Rawesome for milk, cheese, butter, oils, meats, eggs, snacks, treats, nuts, juices, nut milks, yogurt, kiefer, ghee and so much more. Since I have been feeding my daughters unpasteurized products, we have not caught one cold or flu bug. All the health issues that used to plague me for years have dissipated.

I not only feel better than ever, but I also feel good about knowing where my food comes from, and from supporting a community of farmers that I respect. Now my comforting nourishing routine has been shattered in a violent, illegal way. The question is, why is our government so fearful of these farmers and products? Are the dairy lobbyists behind these violent actions? Is Whole Foods? In the brilliant documentary Farmageddon, Kristin Canty exposes how the government has been targeting small, local, family owned farms instead of focusing on food safety.

These arrests were on charges of criminal conspiracy stemming from illegal sales of unpasteurized goat milk and cheese. The arrests are a result of a year-long sting. While it's legal to manufacture and sell unpasteurized dairy products in California, licenses are required. So in essence the government has spent our dollars to plan an undercover sting action and arrest these folks because they may have sold some cheese to a non-coop member? Why go through all of this trouble unless someone is truly worried and afraid. Perhaps they know that there is a massive, determined, passionate movement afoot that may someday jeopardize the corrupt and insidious agro businesses.

Just this week, Mother Jones published a piece about how a resistant bacteria has infiltrated the meat sources here in the U.S. Also this week there have been deaths in California from salmonella tainted turkey meat. This is all a result of the over-use of antibiotics in the agro farms: "The U.S. meat industry uses 29 million pounds of antibiotics every year." In Europe, this has been banned and in Sweden it has been banned for 20 years, but here we continue to raise our animals with corn, soy and antibiotics. If enough of us get smart and start consuming grass-fed animals, the agro business will lose profits. Is this what is fueling the shut down of family owned natural farms?

I am truly devastated by the Rawesome shut down. It should be my choice how I feed my family, not the government's. I am furious that I will have to purchase pure, nourishing, enzyme rich food on the sly, somehow as if I was buying contraband drugs. I am disgusted that they believe we are "terrorists" for wanting control of our food source. I want my tax dollars to be spent on finding ways to really protect us from mainstream poison found in the meat and dairy. I refuse to give my children the bleached water they like to call milk that is inhumanely dragged out of corn-fed cattle udders. Perhaps I will have to find my own farm and produce my own food source. Perhaps we all need to take control of our health and fight for food freedom.

More from Shiva Rose at thelocalrose.com.

From Our Partners