The Queen Charlotte Islands are located off the west coast of British Columbia, about 700 km north of Vancouver. They are sparsely populated and quite isolated. But now they are home to one of about eight cowshare operations now running in British Columbia. So you can live out there on the edge of nowhere and still get raw milk. That’s progress. Here’s a story by Heather Ramsay, which appeared in the Queen Charlotte Islands Observer last week. Thanks to Gordon Watson of Home on the Range cowshare in Chilliwack, for sending it our way!
“Every morning, Lisa Graham-Knight, who is running a cow-share co-op that provides fresh raw milk to 21 islanders, relieves Ebony and April, a Jersey Holstein and a pure Jersey cow, now living on Maude Island. An unlikely-looking revolutionary, the tanned, smiling 22-year-old has a clear conscience even though federal law forbids the sale or distribution of unpasteurized milk. That’s because she’s not selling the milk. Instead she’s participating in what some might consider a radical act. She sells shares in her small herd and buyers become part of a cooperative, paying her a maintenance fee each week. The milk produced by the collective cows is divvied up between owners.
Several other farms across Canada offer raw milk in a similar fashion, including a farm in Chilliwack where Ms Graham-Knight worked last year.
According to Health Canada, unpasteurized milk is unsafe. The agency has issued warnings over the last several years reminding Canadians that bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria can be found in raw milk and these can lead to food-borne illnesses involving fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and, more seriously, kidney failure, miscarriage and death. Continue reading