Dairy Farmer Harnesses Cow Power, Wins Awards in British Columbia

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Bill Vanderkooi is making a name for himself in developing healthy food and promoting environmental stewardship. Along the way, he won two national awards. Vanderkooi is a member of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and is the owner of Bakerview EcoDairy.

For Vanderkooi, the business is a natural extension of his faith. “Personally, I feel I am called to take care of creation and work toward a healthy planet and healthy people. I have a passion to do something positive and to make a difference with my life,” Vanderkooi said.

His desire to share nutritious food with the world led to the creation of Vitala Foods and the EcoDairy, which produces milk, eggs, and yogurt naturally enriched with DHA Omega-3, a fatty acid needed for normal brain development.

The company also produces the first eggs in the world to provide consumers with 100 percent of their daily vitamin D requirement; the brand recently won two national new product awards.

Vanderkooi’s interest in health and well-being was sparked when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during his senior year at Dordt College. It continued as he and his wife, Helinda, became parents of five children. “Research shows that diet is a factor in all major health conditions: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer,” explained Vanderkooi.

EcoDairy is the first demonstration farm of its kind in Canada, and the first commercial operation in British Columbia with a biogas generator that harnesses the power of cow manure to produce electricity. The electricity is used to run the barn and milking operations, with the excess being sold on the province’s power grid to environmentally conscious businesses. In one year, the generator produces approximately 170,000 kilowatts of electricity and prevents about 150 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

EcoDairy is also working on a new partnership with Science World British Columbia to serve as a one-of-a-kind demonstration farm with interactive exhibits and programs that showcase innovative and sustainable dairy farm practices.

About the Author

Tracey Yan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes British Columbia North-west and British Columbia South-east.

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The church as organism doing good stuff once again.  :-)

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