Michael Schmidt—farmer and raw milk advocate— fights for the right “to eat what we want.”
Michael Schmidt’s grandfather was part of the Agriculture course with Rudolf Steiner in 1924 and his family fled their ancestral biodynamic farm in Germany in the middle of the night from occupying Russian troops at the end of World War II. Michael has fought tirelessly for the rights of farmers and consumers in Ontario for the better part of a generation.
In November 2006, Michael Schmidt’s farm in Durham, two hours north of Toronto, was raided by over 20 armed officers.
They weren’t looking for drugs or guns.
They were looking for milk.
Michael’s crime: Selling and distributing raw milk.
Schmidt, a graduate of the Waldorf school in Stuttgart, has seen his share of trouble with the government over his fight for consumer freedom. He saw his farm threatened and his livelihood disintegrate as a result of the first “Milk War” in the 1990s. He had to sell 500 of the 600 acres of his family farm to pay his legal bills. The toll on his family was immense, but he built his business back up by partnering his customers with his cows (he actually “sold” each teat for $300) in a cow-sharing program. His customers owned the cows and he took care of them. However, it was still illegal in Canada to sell or distribute raw milk to consumers.
Michael Schmidt’s opposition to the raw milk ban put him on a collision course with the Ontario government, and has set off a public debate that touched upon a whole host of issues: the immense power of Canada’s $12-billion dairy industry and the challenges facing small, independent farmers; the increasingly controversial nature of large-scale factory farming methods; and a growing public unease about the way most of our food products are processed before they reach us.
After the raid in 2006, government pressure continued and after $80,000 in legal bills, Schmidt decided to represent himself in court in the second “Milk War.” In his own words, his goal had always been to be “a happy farmer.” The most recent court judgment acquitted him of any crimes and allows him to continue his farm’s raw milk sales in Ontario.
Despite a government appeal to try to overturn the judgment, Michael and his supporters remain confident that their freedom to drink raw milk will not only be supported in Ontario, but will spread to the rest of Canada. A group of highly respected constitutional lawyers has taken up Michael’s case in the appeal, leaving him free from fighting the legal battle against the appeal himself.
Michael, whose son Markus is helping with the cows on their farm in Durham, is busy traveling across Canada and the US to support the many initiatives and farmers who are trying to enshrine their right to drink raw milk in a vast array of proposals that are coming before legislative bodies this year. Many of these farmers remain under constant threat from the government and the dairy industry. Schmidt insists that this fight is about more than just milk; it is about the fundamental right “to eat what we want.”
In September 2010, a film about Michael Schmidt’s courageous battle premiered in Toronto. Milk War was co-produced for the ichannel by Stornoway Productions and The Path to Gimli and features an award-winning production staff.
The Bovine (Michael Schmidt’s raw milk blogsite) is a great place to start for more information about his campaign to guarantee the right to drink raw milk.
This article is shared from WaldorfTeachers.com Michael Schmidt talked with them during a regional biodynmamic conference in January. He told them about his raw milk campaign and shared the recently released documentary about his work entitled “Milk War.”
If you missed the chance to see Race To Nowhere when we premiered it at Chicago Waldorf School last Fall, you have another chance to see this wonderful film that is being screened at Loyola University this Thursday March 3 at 7:00PM .
Race To Nowhere is a new film—produced by concerned parents—that examines the culture of hollow achievement and pressure to perform that has invaded America’s schools. This film examines the price our kids pay for this “race to nowhere,” where cheating is commonplace, and stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant.
Featuring the stories of young people who have been pushed to the brink and educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills needed for the global economy, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic running rampant in our schools. Race To Nowhere is a call to families, educators, experts and policy makers to examine current assumptions of how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright contributors and leading citizens in the 21st century.
Join us as we view this documentary and discuss important educational concerns shared by parents, college students, teachers, principals, counselors, and future educators.
Loyola University, Sullivan Center: Galvin Auditorium
6339 North Sheridan Road / Chicago, Illinois
Tickets to the event will be sold online for $10: Click here for tickets.
Root, Shoot, and Fruit: Cultivating Imagination in Childhood & Adolescence
Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 pm
A Presentation for Parents and Friends
by Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, Wilton, NH
Children typically go through three major phases along the path of their development, starting with birth and early childhood, passing through the elementary years, and culminating with puberty and adolescence. During each of these developmental phases they learn in radically different ways, partly for reasons of their changing physiology––including the maturation of the brain––and partly because of their burgeoning inner life.
A Waldorf program responds to these inner and outer changes by helping children unfold their nascent capacities. Chief of these is the imagination as a faculty of cognition. Imagination can be trained to perceive truth and reality just as effectively as rational intellectuality. Out of childhood imagination, cultivated in the lower school, arise in the high school teenager those crucial abilities to weigh, to assess, and to arrive at truth.
Through examples drawn from the artistic as well as the academic curriculum, we will explore in a practical way what it means to learn “from the inside of things” rather than to be instructed about them from the outside.
Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, has taught history, literature, German, music, and life science at the Waldorf high school level since 1983. He presently divides his time between adult education and teaching in various North American Waldorf schools. Douglas is the founder of the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program at the Center for Anthroposophy and editor of several books related to Waldorf education.
News segment airs Tuesday March 1st at 10pm
Today the children in our youngest program were featured in a special profile segment being developed by CBS (channel 2) Network News & WBBM News Radio. News anchor Mary Kay Kleist brought a cameraman and visited one of our Parent/Child classrooms. Ms. Kleist interviewed parents, children, and Waldorf teacher, Susan Bruck, about the special qualities of the Waldorf approach to support child development from infant through 3 year old phases of growth and learning.
CBS2 news had been researching a story on the value of programs that foster child socialization and focus on the will and independence of the child. Their investigations led them to the Waldorf Parent-Child program as an exemplary model that recognizes and fosters the child’s growing free will to explore, determine and effect their environment.
Sitting around a finely appointed table watching the children forming—and then eating—hand-made fresh baked bread, Mary Kay Kleist, recognized the CWS program as an extraordinary model that demonstrated constructive, engaged interactions between the children and adults. “This is one of the only programs we’ve found in the Midwest that mirrors the Resource Infant Educare programs on the West coast that we were inspired by,” Ms. Kleist said. “Waldorf is special—just like these programs—in that you treat the child like a real individual with choices and self-agency; and not just an object to be carried around and spoon-fed to.”
We are very proud to be receiving national attention and recognition for our Parent/Child program. If you are interested to see the full news report, it will be aired this Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 in the Channel 2 CBS Network News program that starts at 10pm.
Please tell your friends to tune in as well! Tuesday, March 1st at 10pm / Channel 2 News
If you are interested in learning more about our Parent/Child program, please contact program coordinator, Jennifer Zielinski at firstname.lastname@example.org
Qualifying Swim Meet: Saturday, Feb 19th
State Sectionals: Friday & Saturday, Feb. 25th & 26thCome and cheer for ARMEL CAZEDEPATS and KEVEN HENLEY as they swim in IHSA State Sectionals representing the Chicago Waldorf High School! This weekend they will be competing to qualify for State Sectionals at the Illinois High School Association swimming meet which takes place at Evanston High School (map) on Saturday, February 19th.
They could advance to the State Finals Swim Meet the next weekend—-Friday, February 25th at New Trier High School in Wilmette (map) for Preliminary events and Saturday, February 26th for Finals.
Imagine having two swimmers from our school compete at such a high level. This is the THIRD YEAR Keven has competed for the Chicago Waldorf High School in State Sectionals. They both train with the Evanston YWCA FLYING FISH all year round.
All are invited to come cheer them on!
Friday, Feb 18th, at 8:15am
at Commons on the Corner
Look into the fire behind Building Intentional Community (BIC)
at the Commons on the Corner. February, 18th after drop-off.
BIC & Student Social Action Council (SSAC) cultivate and nurture an environment of mutual respect and inclusion, implementing practical strategies for building agreement and creating a healthy social environment.
Come find out more about the work, share stories, ask questions, and meet some of the team.
2010-11 Senior Project Presentation Week
The twelve-year Waldorf curriculum has been compared to a climb up a spiral staircase inside a tall tower. In first grade the students enter through the ground level door and wind their way upwards. Each year provides a higher window and a different perspective on the outside world. In their senior year, the students arrive at the summit of the tower and step out onto the roof and view the entire vista stretching out far beyond them.
The senior year at a Waldorf school is designed to be a synthesis of the students’ education and a preparation for their next step in life. The senior curriculum leads the students through a study of the human being’s relationship with the world while synthesizing the high school themes of phenomenological, comparative and analytical thinking.
A highlight of the senior year is the senior project. Towards the end of their junior year, the students pick a topic for independent study. Reading and research begins during the summer months and culminates in March of the senior year with an oral presentation before classmates, faculty, friends and family. The completed project also includes a research paper and an artistic or technical component. An array of the students’ papers and artistic/technical work is on display in the back of the auditorium throughout Senior Project Presentation Week.
This year’s seniors will present their projects Monday, March 7-Friday, March 11 in the Chicago Waldorf School Auditorium. Topics range from Combat Trauma: Brain Chemistry and PTSD to The History and Zen of Motorcycles. You are warmly invited to Chicago Waldorf School’s Senior Project Presentation Week. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the culmination of many months of work! Lively Q&A sessions follow each presentation. Its a great way to see—and support—the expert knowledge our seniors are sharing with the community.
Monday, March 7
11:00-12:00 Naomi Muskovin Combat Trauma: Brain Chemistry and PTSD (Grade 9 and up)
1:00-1:45 Nick Park-Reynolds Art Theory (Grade 8 and up)
2:00-2:45 Olivia Juarez Australian Aboriginal Art (Grade 6 and up)
Tuesday, March 8
10:45 Preview of Day
11:00-12:00 Blake Palder The Festival of Life: Chicago in the Summer of 1968 (Grade 8 and up)
1:00 –1:45 Hannah Prinz The Art of Beer (Grades 9 and up)
2:00 -2:45 Lena Smith Hypnosis: An Altered State of Mind (Grades 6 and up)
Wednesday, March 9
10:45 Preview of Day
11:00-12:00 Laura Holdrege Orphans: A Perspective (Grades 7 and up)
1:00-1:45 Jackson Hallman John Muir and the Creation of the National Park System (Grade 6 and up)
2:00 – 2:45 Elodie Betend Exploring Five Countries Through Food and Culture (Grades 6 and up)
Thursday, March 10
10:45 Preview of Day
11:00 –12:00 Silvana Poole Tarot: A Map of Divination (Grades 7 and up)
1:00 –1:45 Seth Brav-McCabe Chicago Street Gangs (Grades 9 and up)
2:00 –2:45 Michael Moratto 3-Dimensional Printing (Grades 8 and up)
Friday, March 11
10:45 Preview of Day
11:00- 11:45 Mike Wright The History and Zen of Motorcycles (Grades 7 and up)
12:45-1:30 Oliver Beirne True Stories of Real Fakes; The Power of Persuasion (Grades 8 and up)
1:45-2:45 Rachel Osran The Evolving Music and Artistry of the Beatles (Grades 8 and up)
Chicago Waldorf School has declared 2010-2011: The Year of the Teacher. Our Annual Fund is focusing on an important and very special educational initiative. During The Year of the Teacher we hope to raise significant funds to support the effort to reinstate the full teacher salaries and pension for our faculty and staff that had been ceeded in cost-cutting measures in 2009. To that end we ask you to join the CWS community in giving a gift to the 2010-2011 Annual Fund to support our teachers and maintain the values we hold dear at Chicago Waldorf School.
When you make a donation to the Annual Fund, you are nurturing the initiative to support our teachers and our students. Healthy community participation in the Annual Fund demonstrates to potential investors and philanthropists that we are an actively engaged community, and that the Chicago Waldorf School deserves support from the greater community and these institutions as well. All contributions to the Annual Fund supplement the operating budget at the school, support CWS’s students and faculty, and improve the school’s programs, facilities and financial stability.
There are many ways you can make a gift.
Please contact CWS Development Director, Jackie Johnson (email@example.com or 773-828-8458) to ask about these opportunities. She can also discuss options to enhance your giving with a list of companies that offer matching gift incentives!
Finally, we thank all of the families and individuals that have already made their Annual Fund contributions. We are very grateful for all the members of our kind and benevolent community! The generous support of parents, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents and friends of Chicago Waldorf School enables us to provide a diverse student body with an education that supports the development of free-thinking, self-directed young adults eager to contribute to our world.