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Goats are a lively and productive alternative to keeping dairy cows on your homestead. As a huge bonus, their milk is flavorful and full of nutrition. Use this quick guide to understand the basics of keeping dairy goats.

Legality

Always check your local ordinances and laws for livestock restrictions. Even if you’re allowed to keep chickens, it doesn’t mean you’re allowed to keep livestock. Don’t skip this crucial step!

Food and space

Where will you keep your goats? Ensure they have adequate shelter, housing, food, and water. A fence is necessary for shelter from the elements, as well as a fence.

Find your goats (yes, plural)

Goats are herd animals. For this reason, you should never buy just one goat. They can become depressed if separated from their friends, just like human beings. Always buy at least two goats so they have a companion. Opt for dairy breeds like Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, or Sable.

Basics of goat breeding

Goats are mammals, which means they produce milk for their young. Just like humans, goats only produce milk for a certain time after giving birth. For this reason, you need access to a male goat to breed females for milk. A female goat can be bred every 12 – 15 months.

Make sure you have a plan for the kids! Many goat owners sell the babies at 8 weeks old to turn a profit. The mother goat will continue to produce milk for 10 months after giving birth, although the amount of milk decreases over time. Let the goat dry up for at least two months before she’s bred again.

Milking

The big upside to goats is that they produce more than enough milk for both you and their kids. You do need to milk a goat daily, and sometimes even multiple times per day. You can get more by milking up to three times a day, but make sure you have a plan for the milk. A goat can produce up to a gallon a day after birth, and about a quart a day 10 months after giving birth.

Always practice safe, clean milking procedures. This keeps your goat healthy and comfortable while preventing sour flavors in the milk.

The bottom line

Goats are a fun, lively addition to any homestead. Keep in mind that dairy goats can be a lot of work, but they can pay off in tons of milk and laughs.

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Oh, we are all about…




Phat Beets Produce

The agri-food system is a giant part of our economy. It is so interwoven in our daily lives that you might just meet a seed supplier, farmer, rancher, grocer, baker (or even the trucker that moves the goods from place to place) that helped put a meal on your table and didn’t even know it! One of the main things OHH Farmgirl wishes to achieve is to inspire more women to work in agriculture and start their own agribusiness. We couldn’t think of any other organization out there that does a better job (at helping women of color, the youth and their entire community) than Phat Beets Produce in the Bay Area, California.

To an outsider, Phat Beets Produce looks like your typical CSA. But they are so much more. They call themselves a ‘food justice collective’ that started in 2007 in the North Oakland area. Without any authorization, they began a produce stand in the park and it grew from there with the help of like-minded neighbors/volunteers. They now support two certified markets: they have a youth/school farm stand in a community hub, and a youth market garden for a local hospital obesity prevention program. And yes, they do run a CSA providing buyers with a “Beet Box” full of organic food from Bay Area farmers, some with just a plot of land.

There is a real emphasis on supporting youth leadership, small-scale farmers, and farmers of color. Phat Beets aims to close the gap between urban communities and free access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food. They organize community workshops on healthy food and food justice. And they’ve been able to get local businesses involved through their partner program. In fact, there is so much that Phat Beets is involved in that we cannot list all of it here!

We talked to Trishia, a volunteer and spokesperson for Phat Beets Produce, about who they are and what they’ve been up to…

What is Phat Beets Produce?

Phat beets is a collective that is working on food justice at the intersection of racial economics and transformitive justice.

Where exactly are you located in North Oakland?

We have a lot of different sites that we work from. Our office is based in the Omni, which is a building that a lot of community groups are using. And we have edible parks and gardens, we (work out of) Driver Plaza where Auntie Frances serves (free) meals, Phat Beets and The North Oakland Restorative Justice Council are partnering to reclaim land and plant fruit trees, we have a plot at Castlemont High School (around 1 acre shared with other groups) and we have youth working there (and the food from there) gets included in our CSA boxes.

What is your latest achievement?

The thing we really want get the word out to people about is that we are (now) offering free home delivery for our EBT CSA members, anywhere in Berkely and Oakland. All of our CSA produce is grown by farmers of color specifically local to the Bay Area. We really want to focus on what sets us apart from other CSA’s that may not even source from the Bay Area, all of the proceeds from our CSA are reinvested into types of community building and the work that we do. (They also want to stress the need for different neighborhoods becoming involved to make fresh organic and local produce more accessibility.)

How important is a woman’s role in your organization?

We definitely want to have women in leadership roles. There are a number of women that run the different programs. We have a program called the Kitchen Incubator and that’s specifically to empower women of color to start their own catering business. So they’re able to use kitchen space…we help sort paperwork, and we also link them up with catering gigs. There are a lot of different women involved in Phat Beets and a lot of different roles they play.


Learn more about Phat Beets Produce and how to contact:

www.phatbeetsproduce.org
info@phatbeetsproduce.org
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