Friday, June 5, 2009

How to Get Raw Milk: Cow Sharing

What is the world is cowboarding or cowsharing? That is a question that I have been asked more times than I can count. Here is how it all started for us...

Raw Milk 

From as early as I can remember I could not tolerate dairy of any kind but I accepted that and lived with the inconvenience or pain. Then, in 1994, I heard a woman named Sally Fallon speaking about raw milk. I had never even heard the term "raw milk" before in my life and for two years I pondered her words, delving into still little known world of raw milk. Finally, with two years of research under my belt I borrowed a cow and began to milk her. To my great surprise not only could I tolerate the raw milk but my then 5 year old son absolutely thrived on it.

About the time I had to give the cow back to its owner, we moved to Indiana and of course I had to have a cow of my own. We purchased a Dutch Belted cow and began what seemed like the innocent task of milking our own cow and enjoying her milk. As word got out into the community that we had raw milk, people began to show up at our home asking us to provide them with fresh, straight from the cow, milk. Honestly, I was completely taken aback by the demand and before we knew it we had two more cows and were selling milk to 40 families. I had a few people tell me that I should be labeling the milk with "not for human consumption" stickers and that piqued my curiosity. Why? I had no idea that I was participating in the illegal dealing of a controlled substance but further research led back to the Weston A. Price Foundation where I learned that some people actually frowned on the very idea of drinking milk straight from the cow without intervention from pasteurizers, homogenization machines and the like.

Cow Sharing

After researching the laws in Indiana, which are quite stringent, we decided to sell shares in cows and set up our first cowsharing program. Under our program, people could buy a share in a cow and pay us to board and milk the cow, then pick up a certain number of gallons of milk per month. Well, the state of Indiana made me aware that my subversive activities were still not to their liking and delivered a freshly signed Cease and Desist order. After several meetings and finagling with State officials (who actually turned out to be really nice people, very professional and knowledgeable) we came to quasi-agreement that it was legal to pay a farmer to milk a cow which you purchased, even if you share that cow with others.

Now we have moved back to Tennessee and are planning to set up another program very much like the first. Thankfully, much of the forging we did in Indiana has already been done in Tennessee by Shawn Dady, chapter leader for Tennessee's Weston A. Price Foundation and Tennesseans For Raw Milk. If you are interested in finding out more about our cow boarding program please contact us at 615-654-3276.

1 comment:

  1. We are first time cow share members at Windy Acres. When my son took his first drink of fresh, clean, raw milk he said, "This is the best milk I've ever had!". I just posted about our switch to raw milk here: