Learning about RAWMI. A raw milk seminar

Yes, yes, I don’t have goats – yet! Why let that prevent me from learning, eh?!

Last Sunday I attended a raw milk seminar sponsored by The Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) and the BC Herdshare Association. The speakers were Mark McAfee and Sarah Smith of RAWMI and local Herdshare community members. Up to this point, I’d no idea about any of this. What a great experience and learning.

I was fascinated to learn how raw milk produced for the processor is different from clean safe milk produced by best practices for people to consume fresh.

Discussions surrounding Grass-to-Glass optimization of raw milk production, which results in low-risk, safe raw milk which benefits both the consumers and the farmers were discussed as well as recent developments in HACCP-based “best practices”  to help prevent food-borne disease outbreaks.  Clean milk doesn’t need to be pasteurized. HACCP is short for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point systems, and is a branch of Canadian Federal Government pertaining to food safety.

I learned the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) has trained hundreds of raw milk farmers in the United States and Canada. The training is FREE for the farmers, and has been shown to reduce outbreaks and illnesses, increase safety, and lower insurance costs. RAWMI training means that raw milk can be safely legalized in Canada without increasing outbreak rates.

Topics covered were:

    • The current legal status of raw milk in BC
    • The history of RAWMI and its community and benefits
    • The achievements of RAWMI and the work with the BC Herdshare Association
    • Risk Analysis and Management Planning (RAMP)
    • The risks from grass to glass
    • The science of biofilms and pathogens
    • Udder hygiene procedures, before and after milking
    • Equipment and where risks are found inside of systems
    • Cleaning and sanitizing equipment
    • Farm biosecurity planning
    • How to build a RAMP plan
    • Learning from others crises:  Review of past recalls and real life case studies
    • Raw milk benefits and teaching methods for consumers
    • How to build and protect a raw milk brand
    • Liability protection

I came away with great up-to-date information and a real sense of how I want to proceed.

It doesn’t matter whether I have a herd of goats or two, the process will be the same.  I know when I’m ready I’ll get in touch with RAWMI to develop a Risk Analysis and Management Program (RAMP), food safety program specific to my small homestead, and I’ll be spending time reading great information on the BC Herdshare website.

I’m steadily moving forward on my five-year plan.

How are you progressing? What do you have planned for your homestead? Drop me a line.



Quick vid of the ducks

The ducks give me immense joy. They’re fun, endearing creatures.

Photo slide-show catch-up!

Where did Spring and Summer go? Here’s a photo catch-up!


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A gardening yardstick. Or, my earliest garden memory.





This is the garden of my early childhood.

To me, its herbaceous border stretched forever. At the end of the garden stood a weeping willow which seemed taller and grander than the one in the photo. One year, much to the horror of our mothers, Anthony and I climbed to the top of this tree, and, as imaginative children do, we took turns sprinkling laundry soap (pretend snow), whilst the other grasped armfuls of long, slender branches and slid to the ground.

Zinnias, Delphiniums, Campanula, Larkspur, Foxglove, and more filled that bed. I was dazzled. Smitten. Filled with awe and wonder. As childish jealousy’s go, I always thought it unfair my brother (William) had a heady-scented flower – the Sweet William named after him, and mine was the unfortunate-named Black-eyed Susan. (My given name was Susan). I can laugh about such silliness now.

Another memory is of the peony’s which flanked one side of the drive. I remember their perfumed red splendor. And on the bank behind the house, were raspberry canes, gooseberry bushes, and strawberry beds.

It is now, I reflect upon the impact these gardens had on me as a child. And, without being aware of it, I believe my parents instilled and nurtured within me, my love of gardening; that no matter where – be it apartment or otherwise, I always have a garden.