We know, we know. The "
Bakerview EcoDairy?" What next, an Eco-Gravel Yard?
It's true, the catch-all green prefix is thrown around rather liberally these days. But this 80-acre operation in the lush greenbelt east of Vancouver, BC in Abbotsford is the real deal-an impressive and innovative working model for how sustainably produced milk can be good for you, the cows, and everyone else as well.
To wit: Bakerview EcoDairy Association president Bill Vanderkooi built the new learning centre, (which opened in June) ceiling from trees killed by the mountain pine beetle which, spurred by climate change, is presently chewing its way through millions of hectares of western forest. An on-site anaerobic digestor will soon be making electricity, organic fertilizer, livestock bedding and finished compost out of manure. Meanwhile, to produce the finest milk enhanced with DHA Omega-3 and CLA, the cows enjoy better working conditions than most fast-food employees.
A "free-run" barn brings the pasture inside, the beasts sleep on giant mattresses (made of recycled tires) and an enormous rotating "cow brush"-just like the SUV-sized scrubbers inside a car wash-evidently feels fantastic on Bessie's backside. The milking? It's handled by robots. Of course.
"My passion is functional food," says Vanderkooi, referring to the practice of enhancing natural foods with healthy components such as flax seed or Vitamin E. And, it would seem, functional farms, too.
Abbotsford British Columbia
James Glave is a writer and consultant based on Bowen Island, BC, who focuses his work on sustainable-development issues and local solutions to global challenges. His first book, Almost Green (Greystone/Skyhorse), was released in September 2008. Glave blogs at