Bechard Family Farm Under Attack(from New Life On a Homestead)
I feel compelled to share this story with you, and to do all I can to get the word out, probably because this family could easily be my own, they could be any of our friends or neighbors. This is my fight just as much as it is theirs. And if you love natural food, if you love gardening, farmers markets, CSA’s, or raw milk, then this is your fight as well.
The Bechard’s are a quiet, simple family, living on 115 acres of farm pasture and forest land in Missouri. Teddi and her husband Armand have been busy raising 7 beautiful children, who all work together to make the Bechard Family Farm. True to homesteading nature, they converted a pole barn into their home, and lived completely off-grid there for four years. Though they have since installed a water heater and electric well pump, they continue heating their humble home with nothing but a wood stove.
On the farm they raise 5 different pastured meats: chickens, turkeys, beef cows, lambs, and pigs. Along with the meat, they sell eggs, breads, jams, soaps, and raw milk (which is perfectly legal in their state). They also run a food ministry in their town.
The Bechards have about 20 families who buy raw milk by the gallon from their farm. In the state of Missouri, the law says that consumers are allowed to purchase milk from a farm, and the farmer is allowed to deliver the milk to the customers; they are NOT allowed to set up a vending area outside of the farm to sell the milk.
The Bechards had designated a drop-off point for their customers to come and pick up their milk in the parking lot of a local natural foods store. They were not trying to sell the milk, simply distributing pre-ordered milk. On two separate occasions, two of the Bechard daughters (ages 17 and 21) were passing milk out to their customers, when they were approached by two Springfield-Greene County Health Department undercover agents, who asked if the had any extra milk that they could sell. By chance, on those particular days they happened to have some extra milk that had been pre-ordered but had not been picked up (which Armand said was highly unusual), so the girls allegedly allowed the agents to buy a gallon of milk on both occassions. The health department employees did not identity themselves. Now the father, Armand Bechard, is being charged because he is the producer of the milk, even though he was not there to supervise the teens during the sting.
Teddi and Berchard are now facing up to 180 days jail time, huge legal fees and fines, and the possibility of losing their precious farm. All because of what? Milk! This is infuriating!! Does Springfield-Greene county have no real criminals to be prosecuting? Are there no gang bangers, no thieves, no drug dealers or sex offenders to be watching, that their biggest concern is setting up a sting operation against two teenage girls distributing milk?! I’m sure the health department agents had nothing to do with the “mystery” order of milk which was never picked up. What a perfect way to set up such easy targets for their sting. Is this what the tax payers want their money funding? What a disgrace!
So, now the Bechards are being sued not only by the state, but by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster who is representing the State Milk Board. (I find it interesting that the Supervisor at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is also Chairman of the Milk Board.)
The Bechards aren’t giving in easily, though. They are prepared to fight. They are being represented by The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. But they need help raising financial support for their case. This is the main reason for me writing this post, they need help. If any of you on Facebook would like to support this family’s legal defense, you can donate any amount on their Sponsor Bechard Family Campaign page.
Raw milk from healthy, pastured cows is not only safe, but it’s BETTER for you than its store bought impersonator. If you don’t know much about the difference between raw milk and pasteurized/homogenized, I urge you to research it for yourself. Dr. Mercola has written countless articles on the subject, which you can check out on his website, mercola.com. And although raw milk has been safely consumed since the beginning of time, the FDA has so thoughtfully decided that it is now unsafe.
Oh, and since I’m on the subject, check out what the FDA had to say when confronted with questions regarding the constitutionality of raw milk bans:
“…there is no fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice or to give one’s family members the food of one’s choice.”
There you have it. We have no right to choose for ourselves what we use to nourish our bodies. Our government gets to choose for us. Aren’t we all so relieved to have them watching out for us?
This is why the Bechard Family’s fight is so important. This is why I wrote a letter to Attorney General Chris Koster expression my utter disgust with the way they have treated the Bechard family. Because the more they bully the small farmers out of business, the more powerful the big industry grows, and the fewer truly healthy choices of natural, local food we will have available to us.
I wish I could help them more. But all I can do is my small part. Here is my offer to you…
Any of you who either blog about what is happening to the Bechard Family, or who can donate even a small amount to their legal defense fund, will get an extra entry in my next giveaway, which will be for a $25 gift card to CSN online stores (I’ll get that giveaway up next week, as soon as my order from them has arrived for the review). Just leave a comment either here or on the giveaway post letting me know how you’ve helped this family’s fight, and a link to your post if you write one, and you’ll be entered.
I am holding my breath to see the outcome of this whole ordeal. May the Lord be with them, and preserve their home and livelihood.