”If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny.”
— Thomas Jefferson
On August 3, 2011, I enjoyed a lovely breakfast including organic eggs with raw cheddar cheese and fresh raw milk. I got the girls settled with some toys then grabbed my laptop for a little check-in with the rest of the world. As I logged into facebook, I found posts beginning to flood my news feed about armed police raiding an organic foods buying club in Venice Beach, CA, called Rawesome. I could feel my blood boil immediately. This exact thing happened only months before, with the FBI taking out the humble little co-op with bullet proof vests and guns drawn. Why the heck is this happening again?! Over the next half hour, I joined some conversations about a rally that was being organized immediately and realized I had to get there. (I owe it to the commenters at www.FoodRenegade.com who encouraged me to go and support this travesty, representing farm-fresh-food supporters across the nation.) I had to witness this. I spent some time trying to contact all the local media networks, then loaded the car for a trip up to LA.
I finally found a parking spot and got the stroller and baby-wrap strapped on, then raced to the scene. A small crowd had gathered, watching with silent despair. The police guarded the back gate of the co-op, armed with weapons and with bullet-proof vests (the necessary equipment needed to move caution tape and transport organic food.) My heart felt frantic. I thought, “Where are the news people?” “Why aren’t there crowds of people yelling and protesting this?!” I think people were just confused and didn’t understand what in the world was going on. Why were these armed cops taking this harmless food? After a few minutes, I was pushed back against the gate by a cop with caution tape and told that it wasn’t safe to have my children in the alley. (Just to add insult to injury- having some idiot woman not only steal food but insult my parenting on behalf of the government. By the way, I am a full supporter and fan of our police/peace officers, but right now…not so much.) A giant flat-bed truck slowly pulled out of the co-op lot- FULL of fresh, nourishing food. TONS of food. Where were they taking it? TO THE TRASH!
I couldn’t believe it! I yelled at them, “I hope you take all that food downtown and destroy it in front of the people on Skid Row!” I was trying to calculate what the value of all that food would be, only to later be told it was estimated to be worth over $70,000! My heart was pounding out of my chest with rage and sadness. It took everything in me not to shout, “Somebody do something!!!!”
I ran to a woman who seemed to have a nice camera, Sarah Brown from SarahBeTV. She wasn’t from any major news media outlet, but I told her she had to get a video together so this could be put on the internet as soon as possible. Here’s her video, which has, in fact, reached thousands of people already:
I think my outrage was coming from feeling like my family’s American freedom of choice in food was being literally stripped away with brute force, right before our very eyes. My three year old daughter, Eden, seemed to understand that something very important was happening. The ladies from www.RealFoodRights.com took this photo, which also ended up on the home page of www.NaturalNews.com.
Over the next hour or so I talked with some great people, including Anne Marie from www.Cheeseslave.com, a blogger who I’ve followed for a while now. KTLA news finally showed up and interviewed people for the evening news, including me.
Click here to watch the KTLA coverage.
At the end of the day the internet was going crazy over this. A protest rally was formed for the following morning at the arraignment of James Stewart, Rawesome’s owner. Mark McAfee, owner of California’s largest raw dairy company, Organic Pastures, was planning a trip down from Fresno for the morning’s rally. Actor and raw milk drinker, Tim Robbins, contacted the New York Times to ensure national coverage of the raid. Rawesome supporters nation-wide were dedicated to exposing the unlawful and tragic attack on food freedom that occurred on this sad day.
The basics of the situation were this:
1. Owner/Manager of Rawesome Food Coop, James Stewart, and two co-op employees, Victoria Bloch and Sharon Palmer, were arrested on the morning of August 3, 2011. James Stewart was arrested without being read his rights, and put in an unmarked vehicle. Bail for Stewart was set at $123K, Bloch at $60K, and Palmer at $121K.
*Jenny from www.NourishedKitchen.com wrote, “For a little perspective, just a few days before this raid, a woman was arrested for pulling a stranger’s baby out of its carriage, slamming it into a metal wall and attempting to eat its arm. Her bail was set at $30,000.”
2. The police dumped over $10,000 worth of raw, grassfed goat and cow milk down the drains. They filled a flat-bed truck with over $70,000 worth of organic meats, produce, and other specialty foods and drove away with it to “test” it or simply destroy it. (Some of those seemingly very unhealthy cops could have seriously helped their health by eating that food!)
3. The police confiscated $9,000 cash, files, computers and harddrives from Rawesome’s office.
What is important to understand here is that food freedom is ferociously being challenged by the U.S. Government, and is not being detected by the majority of the American public. There is a large issue happening here, affecting not only the Rawesome co-op members, but ALL citizens interested in their right to access farm fresh foods, without the intervention and processing of the commercial food industry. We have to raise our voices do something about it if we are going to maintain our freedom of access to organic, healthy food- raised, produced and consumed in their most natural state…the way God made them and intended for them to be consumed. This whole ordeal happened because the state of California is not acknowledging our right to herd-sharing, where people own farm animals and pay for the housing, care and delivery of those animals’ “bi-products” (or milk, eggs, etc.) This is a way for individual people to have access to farm-fresh food even though they don’t live on the farm. This food is not available at a supermarket or even health-food stores.
What can you do? Stay informed! There is so much available online for you to learn more about the Rawesome Raid on August 3, 2011. Here are some great links to learn more and get connected. Stay tuned with my FACEBOOK page for up to date information regarding food freedom and rights issues.Websites and Articles: www.RealFoodRights.com, also on Facebook www.FarmtoConsumer.org (Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund), also on Facebook New York Times Washington Times Communities The Complete Patient- article on Clearing Up Any Confusion Videos: Mark McAfee from Organic Pastures discusses Rawesome Raid Rawesome Foods Raided…Again!