Living experience on a raw food farm – Amish insights on day 3

Day 3 12/15/04 a.k.a. The Beginning of Pain

My back hurts. Not terribly so but more than it has in a while. Enough for me to say, “Whoa, my back is sore.” It should be, I spent 5 hours today bent over sorting, cleaning and packaging eggs. I literally packed over a hundred dozen eggs. That’s over a thousand eggs touched by me. Hope you like them. Susan, Albert’s sister was there with me. She didn’t complain at all. She’s 14 and she’s tough. Amish-tough. She can do more work and lift heavier loads at 14 than I can now. It’s really quite amazing to see how tough they are. Every half an hour or so I wanted to say, “How many boxes left.” Every hour I wanted to say “Can I take a break.” Every two hours I wanted to say, “Can I do something else?” It’s funny, coming from the English world, (“English” means everyone who is not Amish), I ‘m so used to having someone rescue me when I get tired, or say, “Hey, take a break.” Not here, they don’t care. They do, but they do not take many breaks.

I was fortunate today to go to an Amish farmers meeting with Albert(1). It was in the second story room of a country health food store. There were about twenty Amish farmers and about 5 English, including myself. They were discussing raw milk, how they are going to start making it more available to customers, how to make it legal, how permits were not a good idea etc. It’s really quite amazing. Most of them have started getting involved with the Weston Price Foundation, talking with Sally Fallon and reading Wise Traditions. A lot of them have only been starting to drink raw milk again in the past several years, even though they were knee deep in it before. It’s amazing how Sally Fallon, who has probably never farmed before, has inspired scores of Amish farmers to start producing and using raw milk products. I was talking with Albert and he said that they didn’t even eat butter that much before they met Sally and now the whole family can’t get enough of it. AND THEY OWN A DAIRY!!!!(2)
This one English lady has infiltrated and gained the respect of a group of people who are known for being private and separating themselves from the outside world. She is doing something which as far as I know has never been done before; she is bringing Amish and English together in a way that has never been done before in history. It’s great to hear the Amish Farmers talk about how great they and their family feel now that they drink Raw Milk and eat grass-fed meat. It’s touching to hear the stories people tell them about how what they do saves their lives. They don’t seem too afraid yet. And I can tell that they really want to help people. They are going to need English help though. Albert said that the Amish can be ignorant on some things like loopholes and legalities.
A couple of the English were there. They had some helpful things to say and offer. One person was a “constitutional scholar” and knew everything about permits, loopholes, clauses, etc. I think he could really help them. The other English were helpful too, they got the meeting sidetracked sometimes and seemed like they wanted to run it. It’s funny, most of the Amish there sat and listened and were patient and asked questions.
Most of the time, the English were interrupting, getting off track and trying to run the meeting. One English told everyone that if were going to start as association, “We need to start slow and grow slowly like a seed does.” I was thinking, “You ... idiot, they’re farmers, of course they know how seeds grow. They’re Amish farmers. Before they could tie their shoes they were planting seeds.” I know he didn’t mean it in a bad way, I just thought it was ironic. He seems like a good guy. I think he might be gay. He told me later that he lives with his mom(3).
I feel really privileged to witness all of this going on. I feel like it is a revolution and I’m right in the middle of it. I caught my first runaway goat today, it was easy. A loose bull almost attacked me. That was a little unnerving. They invited me to go to church with them on Sunday; they are having it at their house. I don’t know if I will go yet. They might need family time.

I’m tired, Goot-Nat (Good-Night). Sleep well (Schlof-Goot)

1. This was really quite an extraordinary event. Most Amish are poor and if they are farmers, they are usually even poorer. Organizations and people like, Weston Price Organization and Aajonus Vonderplanitz have created such a demand for grass-fed meat and dairy that many of the Amish are able to support their families by producing these products. Of course the PDA and FDA don’t like raw dairy or family farms and were starting to come down on some of them. This meeting was to create some sort of group or organization to represent these raw dairy Amish and Mennonite farmers. So together they would have more power to deal with these authorities. All the Amish and Mennonite heavy hitters were there. It felt revolutionary. I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings at the part where they were trying to decide who was going to take the ring to Mt. Doom. Or like a Union meeting where emotions boil over and everyone starts yelling, “Strike, Strike! Let’s take it to City Hall!”

2. I found this type of thinking pretty prevalent among many of the Amish raw dairy farmers. They would own pigs, but not eat pork. They would milk cows, but buy margarine. The most common reason was, “We were told it was unhealthy for us.”

3. When he gave me his card, it said his name and “Nutritional Consultant”. Everyone and their mom is a “Nutritional Consultant” nowadays. Even I had cards that said “Nutritional Consultant” and I didn’t know shit.

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