We are in of support for Assembly Bill 2505, the Home Dairy Raw Milk Safety Act, sponsored by Assembly Woman Mariko Yamada. (The Facebook page here.) The bill defines what is safe production of raw milk, how it is to be store and enables excess milk from family farm scale producers, like us, to legally sell clean milk to our neighbors and community. This is the time to weigh in with support for this bill. So if you are a raw milk consumer, wannabe consumer, producer or local food supporter who values this effort, this would be a great time to speak up. Here's Echo Valley Farm's letter (feel free to copy and share to further the success of this effort):
To Whom It May Concern:
We are a small, homestead family farm in the Bay Area, near the coast. Our mission is to grow healthy food for farm members, our extended family and to raise a modest, additional amount of food to contribute to the local food effort in our area. The members of our farm are deeply committed to participating and helping build a viable, local food system on the South Coast and our farm is our demonstration of that priority. On this farm we raise meat birds, layers for eggs, a few pigs a year, vegetables, fruit, berries, milk goats and dairy cows.
The animals on our farm fit into what we consider “best use” of our land. We have a very healthy system in place on our farm, producing excellent, high quality food and protectively managing our soil and building it’s fertility. We have 2 cows currently in lactation providing us with 2 gallons of milk a day. Potentially we produce enough excess clean milk to offer to at least ten families in our community. Passing AB205 will make it possible for our farm to offer a small but mighty contribution to our growing, local food system.
Unfortunately current regulations do not well support small farms, making it very difficult to sell products from a farm of our scale. The irony of course is that some of the best food possible comes from well-managed, sustainably minded small farms just up the road from your own home. Our current food distribution system and regulations make winter tomatoes from Spain available in Tahoe, but we’ve regulated ourselves into a corner such that we cannot buy milk off our next-door neighbor’s farm. We’ve designed regulations such that we cannot buy milk from the family farms we know, from the farms we can visit and inspect ourselves.
Echo Valley Farm is in favor of this bill as it will make clear the standards all small dairy farms like ours should meet. Small producers like us will have well defined safety standards for what is clean, properly produced and stored, milk. It will make clear for consumers what clean milk from a neighbor’s farm is. The Home Dairy Farm Raw Milk Safety Act will make clean, healthy milk from small producers like us more accessible and we will be a healthier society with a healthier food system as a result.
We encourage you to vote in favor of Assembly Bill 2505. And all of us at Echo Valley Farm thank you for the earnest, important, good work you do to better our food system and make safe-society for all.
Kate and Jeff Haas
Echo Valley Farm