My Progression To Raw Milk

Welcome to the January 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


In my early days of embracing Natural Parenting, I joked that raw (unpasteurized) milk would be the end of the road, the final frontier for an all-natural family lifestyle. I didn't think I would really make it that far, but looking back it seems like an obvious progression.

Each step I took toward more natural parenting and natural family living led easily to the next step as I learned more and saw the results in my home, with my family.

It all started for me with breastfeeding, which led to co-sleeping, which led to fully embracing Attachment Parenting and its ideals, which led to cloth diapering, which led to homeschooling, which led to homebirthing, which led to more natural, sustainable homemaking, which led to a focus on holistic family health, which led to--you guessed it--raw milk.

I quickly learned that trying raw milk is easier said than done. This extremely healthy, all-natural, time-honored food is outright illegal to sell in many states and in other states, like here in Massachusetts, it can only be purchased directly from one of a few accredited raw milk dairy farms. Last month, we traveled 45 minutes out of the city to a lovely raw dairy farm to try it. In fact, it's easier to buy illicit drugs in the city than it is to buy raw milk. And I can go to any city convenience store and buy tobacco and Doritos which are known to be bad for health, but I can't buy raw milk there. Hmmm, what's wrong with this picture?

Critics cite dangerous bacteria in raw milk that can cause sickness and death, urging consumers not to drink it. I agree that if you drink raw milk distributed from one of the large food conglomerates and the massive dairy farms that supply them, it is possible to get very sick due to the unsanitary and often cruel conditions under which those cows live. That milk MUST be pasteurized. But raw milk from a small, local, pasture-fed dairy farm? Safe, nutritious, tasty.

Now, I'm not sure I'm ready to make the switch entirely to raw milk for my family. (We are partial to our glass-bottled, home-delivered, lightly pasteurized milk from a Vermont organic farm collaborative.) But the larger point is that I should have the unfettered option to conveniently, safely, and legally purchase raw milk here in the city. As I continue on the natural parenting progression, advocating for raw milk rights in particular, and better access to healthy, real, local food in general, will become an integral part of that process.

If you are interested in learning more about raw milk, I recommend the new documentary, "Farmageddon," about the rise in raw milk demand and the obstacles to its distribution, and the excellent book, The Untold Story of Milk: The History, Politics and Science of Nature's Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows, by Ron Schmid.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: