Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ann Marie Michaels of Village Green Network Comes Under Fire

Ann Marie Michaels of Village Green Network came under fire this week for using private google analytics to prove her point: stay with our blog network and make $, or leave us and go it alone while losing your audience and sponsors. Since we have had our own issues with Ann Marie in the past, we felt that her dubious use of another bloggers private Google Analytics should be shown to the general public.

Kimi Harris, the blogger whose Google Analytics were used as Ann Marie's example, fired back to prove a point: stick with your principals and make your own way. We applaud her! Her open letter can be viewed here:

An Open Letter:  

I have emails from some of you expressing concern and care for me since Ann Marie choose to talk about me and my stats on a forum – stats that I didn’t realize that she had access to, nor that I would have thought she would avail herself to if she did, and certainly never imagined that she would publish online. First, thank you so much for your concern for me. As disheartening as it was to feel that the story of my blog was being used to try to compel others to stay with a certain blog network, your emails of care were balm to my view on humanity.  

We are currently working with Google to try to take care of the issue with Ann Marie having access and control to my analytics. But meanwhile, I didn’t want to talk to you about that situation, but rather use this situation to explain the story of my blog in thehopes that it would encourage you as you continue to work on your own blog and make decisions regarding it. My hope is that it will address both the dubious use of my stats, but also hopefully allow me to encourage you in your blogging journey.  

It is true that my blog has not grown a lot during the last couple of years, but that actually is to be expected and has very little to do with leaving her network. It has been simply a matter of where my priorities and energies have been the last three or so years.  

Blogging friends, it is so important that you know who you are – what your goals are, what you want your blog to be, what values you bring to your blog and what you hold as most important. You need to hold onto that tightly. For me personally, that has meant an extended period of time investing more of my energy into my family first.  

My mother in law passed away over three years ago of cancer, and it was during her illness that there was (I believe) a mutual understanding that the blogging network and myself were going in different directions and with different values (and that’s okay, wedon’t have to have the same goals or values).  

After quitting the network, we were in a very sad time as we grieved my husband’s mother’s early death, and got ready to have our next daughter. My labor with her was wonderful in many ways, but there were moments that were very scary too. After weknew that both of us were going to be okay, I held my newborn girl in my arms, and a flood of relief, gratefulness, joy and love filled my whole body. I didn’t want to waste a minute of her life, or take that gift for granted.  

We have seen death more than once in our family, and it helps put things in perspective. It helps me not make growing my blog top priority when it would be to the detriment of my family.  

Since she has been born, we have been on a road filled with giggles, and long nights, and sweet snuggles, and tired days, and lots of love and hard work. During this time I had new opportunities because of my blog, including getting a job blogging for a large website, and writing two books. This, along with a very focused time on my family, and a whole whirlwind of tragic situations with several close friends, has meant little to zero social media, interactions online, and very minimal posting for much of these years on my own blog. That has naturally meant that I haven’t grown quickly in the last few years. While I have been blessed with thousands of new readers, certain aspects have even dropped (like my Alexa ratings) simply because I haven’t been as proactive in certain things.

And that’s okay. I haven’t regretted any decision I’ve made, and it becomes clearer and clearer that staying true to what I think is right for me is the only way to survive and thrive long-term in the blogging world.

You see, I feel all of the decisions I made above were in line with what I valued most, what helped me grow as a writer, and what helped my family thrive. And that’s what’s important. Be true to yourself – your values, your goals, and your overreaching vision for your life.

If you feel that staying with this blogging network, or that one, is the best fit for helping you be true to who you are, and what you want to accomplish, then go for it! But if you want to strike out on your own, or do something different, please don’t let my blog story discourage you from that choice! Most of the successful bloggers I know did so without any type of official blogging network, so please don’t think that my story somehow demonstrates the “need” to be part of one (And I found another network that worked with my goals and values well, so now I have that too).

I just recently had the heart to really start loving blogging again, and am learning new things about how to blog more effectively, and yes, even have a Social Media presence! It’s a new season for me, and I am grateful for it. Being true to who you are, and what you want for your life can look differently at various times in your life, and that’s okay.

I hope that we can all learn what it looks like for us to embrace who we are, what we bring to the table, and how we can remain true to our values and ourselves as we seek to become professionals in our field.

Once again, thank you for the emails, and also for letting me share a little bit of my heart with you.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weston A. Price Foundation: Buy our Endorsed Products to make Raw Milk Baby Formula...until a baby dies.

Below the Belt? Sally does know how to incite ire! Image via JD Mumma

Dear Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF):

When a baby dies from e.coli 0157:H7 induced Hemolymic Uremic Syndrome, from your promoted, marketed and endorsed Raw Milk Baby Formula, the nonsense will stop. You, however, seem hell bent on it happening.

Now, why am I coming out in public with this belief that a young child or infant will probably die from drinking raw milk? WAPF advocates and endorses and markets a raw milk formula. And you've come under the scrutiny of the pro-human milk and breastfeeding blog world these past few weeks, that's why. For good reason.

You've gotten into really hot water for asking, "Is Breast Always Best?"
Pretty much every breastfeeding advocate has responded: YES. and IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT THE MOTHER EATS.

I will not mention who or what or why this phenomenon has originated from because I don't want to give you any more "controversial" web traffic that you so crave. :-P Suffice it to say, WAPF's founder and leader, Sally Fallon Morrell, has been spouting this nonsense since the dawn of WAPF. Her adoring PR machine on the interwebs has kept it going into the 21st century. A notable exception is a WAPF PR machine heavyweight: Jennifer McGruther of Nourished Kitchen on her FB page.

What has been your, WAPF's overall response? Meh. The usual. You are wrong, we are right. We shouldn't even be really discussing this. Here is our stance. Read it and feel ashamed for your lacking diet and buy our products to make raw milk baby formula. Don't believe me? This blog post sums it up better than I can:


I'll add this: AND because it leads well meaning mothers to feed their infants Raw Milk.

And I repeat, only when a baby dies, will this raw milk nonsense stop. Not because you, Sally Fallon, or WAPF, will ever admit that raw milk is dangerous for babies. Nope. But if a baby dies, raw milk will hopefully be legislated out of existence. Even then it will continue on the black market because the fanatics will still find a way. But hopefully, if a baby dies, people will think twice before giving their children raw milk.

I pray that such a horrendous thing will never happen.

Good day,
Farm Muckraker

My favorite responses these past few weeks:
~Debunked has fabulous images of indigenous women tandem breastfeeding:
~Unlatched has the best summary of why this cannot be ignored:
~Just say no to booby traps:
~To tickle your funny bone, this is a FANTASTIC read:
~A shout out to Jodine Dale Chase of Human Milk News for sharing the huge interweb response on her Facebook Page:

And the heavyweight of breastfeeding advocate heavyweights:

~Dr. Jack Newman, via his Facebook page:

"I have been getting a number of emails and questions on Facebook regarding the Weston Price Foundations recommendations for infant feeding. I answered thus, with a few additions, to one of those requests:

If the Weston Price Foundation says that home made formula is better for the baby than the milk of a vegan mother, they really don't know what they are talking about. As long as the mother is vitamin B12 sufficient the mother's milk of a vegan mother is far superior to any formula, home made or otherwise. One dose of vitamin B12 is enough to render the mother B12 sufficient for many months, even years. Studies also show that mothers who are malnourished still produce adequate milk and it shows once again that if the Weston Price Foundation says any formula, even homemade made from raw milk, is better than the milk of a mother whose diet is anything but what they think is ideal, they also don't know what they are talking about.

I should add that even if any formula were as good as breastmilk (impossible), breastfeeding is so much more than breastmilk and the special, intimate relationship of breastfeeding cannot be duplicated even by the "best" formula fed in a bottle."

If any reader cares to know what happens to a child whose body is completely ravaged by e.coli 0157:H7 from drinking raw milk, please read (and DONATE) to the latest public case: Kylee is Getting a Kidney on Facebook: 

For those of you who care about Kylee, please leave kind and respectful words for this family. Please. They need a huge outpouring of love and comfort.

If you are a raw milk advocate and think it's cool to harass a family that has and is going through crisis, you'd better think twice. You will be blocked and damned for eternity. In fact, you should put your money where your mouth is and donate to this family because your propaganda is why families like this expose their children to raw milk in the first place.  

Buy off your shame, please. I dare you.