I recently joined a raw milk co-op - a group of 9 moms who met through the local mother's club online forum (community building in yet another form). We will be getting raw milk starting next Friday and perhaps every Friday thereafter from Organic Pastures Dairy, a fairly local dairy with pasture-fed cows.
I'm pretty sure that raw milk has less of an impact on the environment than pasteurized milk if, for no other reason, than it does not go through the emissions-producing process of pasteurization. But there's more. Raw milk contains live bacteria and enzymes which are beneficial for your intestinal tract. Ingesting these bacteria and enzymes naturally, from the source, instead of from store-bought probiotics is healthier and provides one with a more diverse population of beneficial bacteria than any available probiotic. In addition, as it has less steps in its production, raw milk is better for the environment than store-bought probiotics. Drinking raw milk helps people with asthma, allergies and immune disorders. Buying from a local dairy with pasture-fed cows is also obviously greener than the pollution spewing mega-dairy farms.
So while I'm thrilled to be part of this little co-op, the news isn't all good. The California legislature passed a law which will ban the sale of raw milk in California starting January 1, 2008. This little coop could end up being pretty short lived if we can't get the law reversed. As I've written before, it is important to speak up. I'll write our governor and local representatives, email other moms I know and generally get the word out. Other raw milk drinkers will be doing the same thing. If you feel strongly on the topic, please let our governor and legislature know.
I'll keep my fingers crossed - you'd be surprised what a little vocal opposition can do!