Monday, December 21, 2009

Fighting the Man

Just this weekend I learned about the Kenmore Milkshed.  I have been thrilled that there is a buying club that provides raw cow and goat milk for my cheesmaking as well as getting fresh chickens.  While it would be a monthly shlep, I'd be buying directly from the farmer--and that is important to me.

Word just came in, they've shut down:

The organizer generously provided her home as a drop point for people to come and buy direct from local farmers raw milk, goat milk, grains, eggs, meat, and honey and jams. She and her late husband built a little shed beside their house with barely enough room for 4 refrigerators to keep the food in.

On Dec 7 a King County Health Department official along with the City Of Kenmore Compliance Officer visited her house and issued a cease and desist order on the milk shed. There are currently people WATCHING the property to catch people leaving her house in order to both throw her in jail and charge a $250 a day fine from not adhering to the cease and desist order.

This is only the first of many closures to come, from what the Dept. of Health is saying. We were just the first because we are so big and so well known with a website which made it easy for them. They will be visiting all drop points and buying clubs in King County requiring that they have the following in order to continue to operate:

1) Unisex bathrooms
2) A Utility Sink
3) "Proper Sanitation Requirements" (whatever that means)
4) Commercial grade refrigeration units
5) a minimum of a 4-room building
6) a $3,000 + licensing fee to operate as a grocery store.

What does this mean besides the problem for the milkshed?  This means that *any* CSA or buying club or drop points  in King County delivering to drop points in the city (aka Thundering Hooves, Full Circle Farms) are operating illegally.

This is potentially catastrophic to our local, small farmers.  As soon as I know more on how to get involved, I'll post here.  These laws *must* be changed.  The lobbying groups who are interested in shutting down these farmers (and it doesn't take a genius to realize who is involved) must be stopped.

Support your neighbor. Support your local farmer.

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