Two years ago, on the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend, inspectors from the local and state health departments clamped cease-and-desist and quarantine orders on coolers containing raw milk intended for members of a Louisville-area food club. What happened next surprised everyone. Prompted by the trial of Vernon Hershberger two weeks ago, the Louisville food club’s co-administrator, John Moody, was moved to write the following retrospective of the events that transpired. Moody not only helps run the food club, but owns a farm, and is author of a handbook on establishing a food club.
by John Moody
Sometimes, you wake up from sleeping, not so much feeling rested (I still felt physically worn out from the previous day), as feeling re-centered. Clear headed.
It was early, probably before 6.30am.
I spent some time reading the Bible, turning to a reliable source of wisdom and guidance.
While reading and praying, I felt compelled to read the Kentucky Constitution.
I had never read it before.
So, to Google I turned to find a copy.
As I read, something clicked inside of me. I called Kane Holbrook, the club’s co-administrator.
I have an idea, if you are willing to go all the way, I think we can prevail. I think we can win. But it puts you and me on the line, all the way.
What is it?
How Stuff Works
The governments main approach to crushing people and their liberty is either divide and conquer, or single out and systematically destroy.
The right-left, Republican-and-Democrat game is the old divide and conquer approach get people squabbling so they ignore the real danger right in front of both of them.
But they also love the single-out approach, whether it be singling out a sole individual or small group.
They are the consummate bullies on the block, more than willing when they have their boys at their back to harass and hurt and harm others.
But when confronted by united, unyielding opposition they are left like the liverless liars and cowards that they often are.
So, I wanted to change the calculus of the situation that we were facing.
First, I wanted to change the target from one to many.
To some extent, we had already successfully done that, as when we were served the cease-and-desist and quarantine orders, they didnt even know who really to fill them out as affecting.
(Those who saw the orders at the club or afterwards and looked over them were appalled at how poorly they were filled out. If there was such a thing a government form grader, these would have received an F).
To the Kentucky Health Department, we were already a community, an unknown one at that.
Second, I wanted to challenge people to do what has been a major problem in America over the past few generations challenge citizens to actually uphold their constitutional rights in the face of government overreach through peaceful non-compliance with illegal or unconstitutional government actions.
Or to put it another way, I wanted the members to say to the government, You want my milk, you want my food and the food from my kids’ mouths, come take it from me then.
Third, I wanted to uncover the evil going on for all to see in Kentucky.
And I had an idea as to how.
Kane replied, Lets do this.
I broke into a wide grin.
On that morning, after speaking and praying with Kane, I sent out an email to the members of the club, inviting them to come and take their milk, despite the various government orders.
Because they had every right and duty to do so under the Kentucky constitution.
Here is that original email
76 half gallons of member milk is embargoed at the club. 76 half gallons of milk that belong to members per the member agreement, that comes from cows that members own a partial stake in, are wasting away. People right now are buying cigarettes at Krogers. People are buying psuedo-chicken at Mc.D’s… People are eating food subsidized with your tax dollars that lowers their kids IQ, that is tainted with E. Coli (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43180177/ns/health-food_safety/)…
But your milk – can’t touch this, or so says a county health inspector, even though we are in violation of no KY food laws.
What are you doing tonight (or when you read this)? If it is a business as usual, we are all in trouble. The County Health Department doesn’t think you are smart enough or have the right to make your own food choices. The state government feels the same. As do the people way high up at the top of this grand pyramid scheme – when will you do something about it?
It is your milk. They have put a quarantine on it – you are free to come make a written statement and break their quarantine. What a statement if all 250 members of the club were in solidarity, from all our racial, ethic, economic, and religious backgrounds, come together, and all take a stand against the corruption and control they want to exhibit over every inch of our lives?
We are formulating a plan – this plan IS COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON YOU. If the membership doesn’t truly, actually want access to real milk and real food, and instead want to feed their kids the most allergenic food in the place of real milk and lower their kids IQs with processed, pesticide laden foods, stop reading. IF you have given up on your freedoms and want to bequeath ill health and no freedom to your children, stop reading.
BUT If you still believe that you can restore our nation to “the land of the free, the home of the brave,” instead of the land of the fee and home of the slave… If you believe you are the final arbitrator as to what you and your family eat and drink…
Then we have a plan. And that plan intimately and in every way involves every one of you (especially if you are female with young kids).
But you need to decide – what will YOU do with the cease and desist order? (BTW, keep reading, below are some long sections from the KY constitution that give you an idea what it says you should do with your private property).
Remember, this is your club, your milk, your farm, your cows, your money, your health, your family, your community, and your state.
Are you willing to tell a pencil pusher, “heck no, get out of my food, get away from my kids, get out of my kitchen, leave my health, my farmers, my family…
ALONE. ALONE. ALONE.
So, members… what will it be?
We need to know. If you are willing to fight, if you are willing to MAKE SOME NOISE. Then we have a plan. We can become a movement. We can reclaim our rights.
But be sure – this is we. Every single one of us, working together. Every single one of us sharing the risk. Every single one of us, with a story to tell our kids, our grandkids, our nieces and nephews, cousins and descendants…I was there.
I didn’t back down. I didn’t sacrifice your rights, your well being, your future, because I was afraid. I was too busy. I was too lazy.
Are you in? Are you on board?
If so… reply to this email. In the header and the body… just say yes.
Second. If you have real milk at CHUM… your milk. A sign will be on it today. It will say,
“I, the undersigned, am picking up MY MILK from my COWS that I own, and if the county health department would like to speak with me about this, they can reach me at the listed phone number.”
Every member can lock arms together starting now. We are passing the baton… to each of you – are you in the race?
We do have one other option – to lose. Be assured – any other route we take will result in our dairy farmer going bankrupt and under, our other farmers being threatened with the same, the club’s members and children suffering increased ill health, poor growth, allergies, and more
…In our freedoms being further weakened, lessened, and lost.
And be assured, without ALL the members locking arms, we will lose. We need each and every one of you.
If you were wondering, the Kentucky Constitution guarantees that the government is to PROTECT your private property, and that you have a right and responsibility to fight, petition, and redress wrongs they commit that do not comport with these ends.
(I then quoted several sections of the Kentucky Constitution, including Section 1, which states, “All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights,” and Section 2, which states, “Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.” I hope the above gives you courage, and helps you see that you have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to defend yourself against the government–the founders of this great state and our nation gave and expect nothing less from you and your family.”
If any member wants to talk with me today, I will try to take as many calls as needed, though if you can imagine, I have been on the phone close to 12 of the last 18 hours with people all over Kentucky and all over the USA.”
That sinking feeling
I sent it, and then I started to doubt myself.
My entire plan hinged on all of us. Each and every one of us.
If the membership did not buy into the plan, we were doomed.
And I had my doubts that some parts of the membership would hold fast and true.
Let me make this abundantly clear: without the almost unanimous support of the membership of the club, there was no hope of countering the state health department.
There would today be no WLBC (Whole Life Buying Club). No Kits organics at the club. No smiling Kane.
No packs of small kids to keep curtailed during pickup when they pass through.
No annual dairy farm day. No Facebook group where a member exclaims, I have learned more in the past few months on here than I did in four years of college
There would also perhaps be little to no raw milk available in Kentucky, especially in the cities.
The Kentucky Department of Health had for years been harassing farmers providing raw milk, pushing many so far underground you had to be a spelunker to get their product.
There would be the further evisceration of the Kentucky Constitution at the hands of corporatism and its cronies in state and national governments.
So, I had devised a plan that rested entirely on a bunch of people being willing to risk themselves in the defense of upholding their states constitution and their God-given inalienable rights, something that happens about as often as a blue moon in America these days
I clicked send. Then I cringed.
What would that response be?
An Inbox that never gets smaller
The first reply, funny now looking back, was from the administrator of a buying club in Lexington that we were friends with who was willing to drive all the way to Louisville to sign on and grab milk.
The second was from Mark and Emily Robinson, about three minutes later.
And over the course of the next few hours, they poured into the admin email box.
First, we reached a dozen then two dozen a drizzle turned into a down pour.
I can say without a doubt that this was one of the proudest days of my entire life regarding the club and its members.
When we have hit particular rough spots of patches over the past few years, I often look back to this day, sometimes I will even re-read your emails.
While I was receiving email responses from members, many were already en route to the club to sign the document we posted there and take their milk.
Kane noticed that they came with determined faces, ready to sign next to the copy of the Kentucky Constitution we had hung next to the unlawful orders the inspector had served.
On Friday, the health inspector had arrived right in the middle of delivery. Some of the milk had been dropped at an alternate location a few blocks from the club, at the house of the Claridges, members of the club.
What was left of that milk was brought back over to the club.
Within a few hours, every half gallon was gone.
Kane and I chatted yet again, and he headed home for some much needed and deserved rest while I continued plugging away at phone calls, emails, and more.
Jessica remembers, as only a wife can, that I spent most of Sunday flooring the house with a friend in the midst of taking phone calls and writing emails
A world full of evil
A few days ago, many members mentioned how discouraged they were after this week seeing what was happening to Vernon Hershberger in Wisconsin, to others, seeing what the government was doing
And feeling so powerless to do anything about it.
So one reason I decided it was worth taking a few hours to write this retrospective, while you may be powerless, we are not.
I have learned farming, I suck at farming alone. I lack the sheer physical strength and other things. But then I also realized, God never intended me to farm or do anything alone. God created us to live in communities. To share our strengths and weaknesses.
Through community, we become something greater than ourselves.
Our culture idolizes the great go it alone hero but what really changes history? Communities.
People who put principles before profit and personal gain.
People who believe in principles and each other.
People who live by principles and put others before themselves change the world for good.
They do it without guns. They do it without guilt. They do it for the good of this and future generations.
That is what you did in Kentucky.
That is what Vernon Hershberger and the hundreds who helped, organized, trained, supported, traveled, donated, and more, did in Wisconsin last week.
A long story made slightly shorter
I could write probably 12 more pages of details about what transpired.
Members came to get their milk and sign the pledge.
Even members whom had never once drunk raw milk it was incredible.
It was inspiring.
At the same time, we honed our strategy.
When facing the government, the stakes are very, very high. It is like no limits Texas Holdem.
You either come strong or you dont come at all. You either play big or go home.
So, we decided to go all in.
We then encouraged members to start calling on Sunday and Memorial Day their elected officials.
We gave them very brief talking points that basically would capitalize on the timing of what the health department did.
Why are you calling me?
Well, you know, it is Memorial Day, the weekend when you all say we should celebrate the FREEDOM that our families members suffered, sacrificed, and died to secure for us and oh, yeah, your state health department doesnt think I should have the freedom to choose even what I eat or feed my family!
It was highly effective, both with elected officials and with media. I went on a number of shows, and contacted dozens of other groups in KY that I had become friends with (Take Back Kentucky, Community Farm Alliance, and more) to get them involved and get them calling.
Saturday turned to Sunday. Sunday to Monday. Monday to Tuesday.
If I only knew then
One of the interesting parts of life is we always know so little about what is really happening, and often later we get information that would have made a major difference at the time if we only had access to it.
About a year later, I was at an event and ran into an acquaintance who works on legislative issues in Frankfort.
He looked at me and said with no initiation on my part, Man, the KY health department You all burned them BAD my friend. They took a lot, a lot of heat on what happened They dont want nothing to do with you all
From what I could gather from my sources in the KY government, Tuesday was an unenjoyable day to work in the Kentucky health department.
Three days of flood waters building behind a dam broke upon their phones.
Senators, representatives, council people, and hundreds of concerned citizens called. And called. And called.
The senators and representatives were not at all happy about what had happened because of all the angry calls they received from constituents (and having their weekends interrupted). Note, we always instructed people to be very courteous, but direct, with the government officials.
Take my ball and
As I said before, you either go big, or you go home.
The Kentucky Health Department took its ball and went home.
For the first time in the history of the governments war on food and farmers, the government left the playing field.
They released a statement saying something to the effect that it was a misunderstanding.
(The government, as the recent IRS, Benghazi, and AP records seizures show, along with dozens of other examples, never admits wrong-doing or mistakes. They truly think themselves gods.)
On Friday, a lady from the health department came to give us forms of release for the quarantine and cease-and-desist.
I was alone at the club when she arrived.
I thanked her for the letters, and then asked, Would you or someone from the health department come and speak to the members of our club? While we see things differently, we really want to hear your concerns and have a chance to talk with you about it.
Her eyes bulged and she flushed reddish/pink.
She shook her head. She tried to say something, but instead jerkily gesticulated.
She couldnt even bring herself to articulate some WORDS in response to such an offer.
How dare we think that these are issues that we are allowed to sit down and DISCUSS with them?
She made an almost inaudible grunting noise, a final semi-wave motion, and departed with haste.
In aint over until
Sadly, not too long after all this, I received a phone call from the Weston A. Price foundation.
They were tipped off from a person within the KY government that the Kentucky Department of Health was going to shake down all the states raw milk farmers.
They didnt bother the club again or our farmer.
Like any good bully, they were looking for better, easier targets.
I often get asked by members, think we will be visited again?
I cant really answer sometimes I think yes. Sometimes no.
But regardless of if it happens, I have no doubts about the outcome.
Because I know the members of WLBC.
And there is no one else I would rather go against the Kentucky state government with than our members.