why raw milk is greener and maybe even healthier

raw milkHomogenization and pasteurization add a whole lengthy and energy intensive industrial process to milking and make milk processed that way a “product.” Homogenization and pasteurization require trucking the milk from the dairy in huge milk trucks to a facility with machinery that sends the milk through both processes, bottles it, then distributes it to stores and supermarkets. Simplified, homogenization is a process that applies high pressure to force the milk through little holes, rendering the fat globules so small that they won’t separate again. Pasteurization, simplified again, involves the quick heating and subsequent cooling of milk to destroy potential pathogens.

Raw milk from pastured cows, in comparison, is a totally low tech and unadulterated food from nature. Raw milk is something like an emulsion. Even if you shake it up, the milk fat (from which you could make butter or icecream or use it in a sauce or over hot cereal) separates from the skim milk again and rises to the top, leaving that famous cream line.

In recent years the potential benefits of raw milk have turned up on peoples’ radars as we have become more interested in our food supply, a bit more wary of the food industry’s motives, and, perhaps more importantly, how the food we eat influences our health.

Not only is raw milk a lot less labor intensive, ergo “green” as in sustainable and requiring minimal energy input; after all it gets bottled right after the cow has been milked, you can buy it the same day (it doesn’t get any fresher than that) – The End.  It is also a local food since you buy it directly from a farm in your neighborhood.  Moreover, recent research seems to indicate that raw milk is potentially easier to digest (many lactose intolerant people tolerate raw milk), might boost the immune system, potentially prevent various allergic and asthmatic conditions, and is generally a more complex and valuable food because it retains all its nutrients, which otherwise get destroyed during the pasteurization process.

Of course plenty of detractors, but also fearful and perhaps insufficiently informed people have lobbied against raw milk in recent years. Inform yourself, do your research, know your body and your dietary preferences, then do what’s best for you with.

Voices of Hope

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.36.21 PMI just attended the Voices of Hope in a time of crisis conference in NYC.

We are in crisis for sure – environmentally, economically, culturally, healthwise, politically. It is quite chaotic out there. Why is this crisis manifesting itself across the board on all fronts? Because everything is interconnected, which makes it very complex.  Yet, there is hope when we can see the bigger patterns, the grassroots movements that show where we may be headed, the pioneers who are guiding us with their visions. That’s what this conference was about – not losing sight of the bigger picture, or perhaps rather recognizing it.

We heard awesome speakers whose minds fiercely cut with determination through the grease of chaos (Chris Hedges, Laura Flanders, Camila Moreno, Elizabeth Yeampierre, Michael Shuman), or quietly plowed through the cultural morass fuelled by an inner vision (Catherine Ingram, Bayo Akomolafe), or joyfully embrace a life as we would all like to see it (Scott Chaskey, Judy Wicks, Manish Jain).

The overriding message of the conference was the importance of relocalization of our economies to put the power back into peoples’ hands in a very direct and practical way – Helena Norberg-Hodge said “our arms have grown so long that we can no longer see what our hands are doing.” Other messages were about rebalancing male and female energy to get away from the relentless push towards efficiency, and changing I to We in a spirit of cooperation.  And while many tend to see the crux of the problem in their particular discipline, and others believe that the ultimate and main challenge of the 21st century is climate change, Charles Eisenstein, one of the speakers and an author with a big vision, put another spin on resolving our chaos. He said that precisely because everything is interconnected you can move and shift and budge in one area and things will seemingly miraculously start to move and budge and shift in other areas. It works that way on a personal level, and it works that way culturally once critical mass has been achieved. But shift we must.

When we come together as a community and enact a vision, as we do here in Warwick, there is hope.









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