Gettin’ Educated

I feel like things have been on the up-and-up for me recently. (Knock on wood now that I’ve said that). I’ve been enjoying life–work, home, gym, food, etc. It all seems to be balancing itself really well. I’m obviously excited that I can run again, even though I’m trying to build up my base back to where it was before. But I’m happy to be looking at goal races instead of selling my race tickets to coworkers!

Work life just seems to get better and better. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve been in a job (beside my jobs back in college) where I like pretty much every aspect of it + feel like I’m contributing something meaningful to the business.

Hoorah for a positive attitude!

I’ve been trying to read more recently since I have a bunch (like maybe 10) half-finished books. Going back to where I started in February, I think, I’ve taken up Jenna Miscavige Hill’s Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape.

I’m only into chapter 8, I think, but reading about what little 7-year-olds had to do on “The Ranch” is ridiculous. It sounds like something from a dystopian fiction novel, and sometimes I have to remind myself that this is her autobiography of sorts. She barely ever sees her dad (maybe once a week for a few hours) and can only write letters to her mom.

She lives on a ranch of kids doing hard labor and being treated as small adults–who are supervised by other children. Hill’s job was essentially to be a nurse at age 7. There’s no real “school” except the memorization of L. Ron Hubbard’s sayings. Everything is graded from week to week–from how you’re doing your job to your understanding of words.

They essentially had to take lie detector tests daily and weekly. It seems like a high stress environment for kids. “Yes, let’s give our kids no real education so they will be useless outside our church/cult society.” Creeps, man. I’m trying to set aside time to read at least 1 chapter a night (sometimes more if I can will myself to stay up that long). I’ll make sure to review the whole book when I’m done.

Sean and I also got a free 1-month trial of Netflix again. We had Netflix a while back, and we used it a lot at first–watching tons of documentaries and Disney movies. But after a while, we weren’t watching enough to justify the cost. Well, since it’s free, we figured, what the heck? We’ve been watching interesting stuff so far (like The One Percent).

Last night we watched Farmageddon, a documentary about the unnecessary search, seizure, and regulation of small, organic farms. One interviewee mentioned that the only produce more regulated than raw milk is marijuana. Interesting. Many states have banned the sale of raw milk and raw milk products (that just means it hasn’t been pasteurized).

The whole concept of the government banning a food product is ridiculous, if you think about it. People can buy raw meat and choose to cook it or eat it raw (sushi or steak tartare, anyone?), but the government spends a TON of money each year regulating raw milk (which, by the way, people can choose to boil or drink raw).

The documentary highlighted a case where the USDA seized an entire farm of dairy goats and killed them all with no evidence of them getting mad cow disease (which they couldn’t even get!). The people who did this later admitted under oath that their tests proved the disease wasn’t there, and they just killed the animals and a family’s entire investment and business because of political pressure.

They seized and confiscated the family’s equipment as well and even their hay, which was supposedly “contaminated,” to incinerate it. When the farmer followed the seizure vehicles, he found they were just dumping everything in the local landfill. Government at it’s finest.

It seems like the major political pressure comes from bigger food companies and the fact that people will happily take jobs at giant dairy producers and then move to the USDA and then back to their dairy jobs. Gee, vested interest much? The dairy goat farming family won their case, but many other farm families have not. Court refused to see their appeals and one USDA motion from NY said that US citizens don’t have the right to feed their families what they want and that the government has the right to regulate that.

I don’t see any Republicans or Democrats taking issue with that. Ridiculous. If anything, it encouraged Sean and I to take advantage of our local farmers market more often.

It also features this guy from Polyface Farms in VA, Joel Salatin. He’s like the Dr. Overstreet of farming. I love him.

Have you watched or read any good eye-opening documentaries or books recently? What political issue has you up in arms?

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2 thoughts on “Gettin’ Educated

  1. My milk lady had her farm illegally inspected by the USDA a couple of years ago when they switched from a commercial dairy farm to an all organic, all grass-fed, raw dairy farm. The woman just drove onto their property, said she was with the USDA and needed to look at their facilities. Fortunately the USDA rep didn’t confiscate anything, though she did park her car at the end of my farmer’s driveway for a couple of days after being told she couldn’t come on the property unless she had a warrant. She also put fliers in all of their neighbor’s mailboxes basically slandering the farm for stopping their commercial dairy farm. All for selling raw milk. Crazy stuff!
    -Abby

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