Articles

Bakerview Ecodairy: Educating and increasing awareness
Lorene Vanderwal

Bakerview Ecodairy: Educating and increasing awareness

By Lorene Vanderwal, BC
Photos by Mikaela Ruth
Reprinted from Winter 2012 Cowsmopolitan page 138

Bakerview EcoDairy is a demonstration dairy farm in Abbotsford, BC, which focuses on ecological farming practices and educating the public on the dairy industry. With a prime location just on the south end of town, EcoDairy borders the city from the country – working towards educating consumers on the farm-to-table process for dairy products.

The guided tours includes a 6-minute video to introduce the background of what dairy farming is, provides educational story boards to focus on various aspects of dairy operations, and finally tours through the barns– highlighting new advancements available in farming and the importance of cow comfort.

Currently milking 45 cows in a DeLaval VMS system with gel mattress bedding, misters, controlled humidity and temperature, and of course cow brushes, cow comfort is hard to beat in this highly innovative barn. Featuring ecological bedding and barn designs by Artex Barn Solutions, this dairy uses every opportunity to teach guests the importance of combining eco-friendly designs with cow comfort.  Houle automatic barn scrapers keep the aisles clear and automated footbaths allow these cows to always be able to put their best foot forward. An anaerobic digester is used on farm not only to help power the farm, but also to introduce the move towards self-sufficient farming.

Only in its second year of operation, EcoDairy averages an impressive 800 guests per month to tour the facilities, with another 800 guests who stop by to check out the complimentary petting zoo. Already a name well known to the community, it has become a popular and worthwhile stop for class field trips and family outings alike. In 2010, EcoDairy received the Abbotsford Business Excellence Award for Agriculture & Agri-Business.

With 5 webcams throughout the barn, the public may tune in at anytime to view the EcoDairy herd online at the websites listed below.

Owner Bill Vanderkooi started the EcoDairy as an educational facility that emphasized on progressive farming, environmental stewardship, and highlight Vitala Foods– a brand created by the Nutriva Group of Companies that Vanderkooi started in 2009. The Brand Vitala markets functional milk, yoghurt, ice cream, eggs, and soon cheese – all enriched with DHA Omega-3 Fatty acids, conjugate Linoleic Acid (CLA), and Vitamin D.

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For more information, visit www.ecodairy.ca or www.vitalafoods.com


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