White Earth Goat Maanadikoshensag Project
[Editor’s Note: To see the report with photos, see the PDF version.]
There are three goat families involved in this project- one more advanced and two are fledgling. Using your funding we were able to fence and build infrastructure at the Gellings and at the White Earth Land Recovery Project. We began some rotational grazing to determine if the goats were able to improve our pastures. Our results were promising, with an estimated 60 percent of the Canadian thistle and burdock gone from the paddock the goats were in. We will be rotating the goats into other pastures over the upcoming year.
Funds were also used to provide a fixed stipend to a Native young man for the daily care, feeding, and facilities maintenance of the goat tribe at the Native Harvest Farm. All six goats at the WELRP facility are in good health and recently had their hoofs trimmed. The goats at the Gellings’ farm (five) are also in good health and enjoying life in the woods. We are eager for the snow to melt, so that they may once again graze. In the meantime, we are supplementing their diet with mixed hay, vegetable food scraps, some grain, evergreen and popple branches. We are exploring various feed options for the goats to reduce costs and improve health.
We were able to bring about 40 children from Pine Point School to a goat farm at Stearns and Harms farm. We were also able to serve the children goat cheese at the farm, this was very popular and a first for the kids.
Funding contributed to the regional Indigenous Farming Conference that featured a workshop by Sue Wika on goat tribe management and care. Additionally, funding purchased supplies to make Goat’s milk ice cream for over 100 participants. Child participants at the conference assisted in making the ice cream and turning the hand-cranks, which we used as a teachable moment to talk about the benefits of goat’s milk consumption.
• Through trial and observation, we are coming to understand goats’ dietary, hygiene, and spacial needs.
• We have identified other goat ranchers in the area and connected them with the project’s goat experts to better manage their herd of over 70 goats.
• We have diverted waste in the Native harvest production and at Pine Point Elementary’s kitchen by feeding the goats unwanted food scraps.
• We have shared our goats with over 50 children, who like them very much.
• We have met with Somalis and were able to offer two goats for their ceremonies and feasts. This was the initial stage of the project. The goats were butchered using traditional Halal practices, which we have learned is an important practice in preserving Somalian culture.
• We have learned to make goat cheeses of various varieties including chevre and mozzarella, as well as goat ice cream.
WORK PLAN FOR 2011
• We will host a three day Permaculture course including a workshop on “Goats in your Permaculture landscape” led by Sue Wika and Tom Prieve.
• We will offer more goats to the Somali community of the Pelican Rapids and Fargo Area, and broker these sales in the summer and spring.
• We will pasture the goats throughout the summer, hoping to bring them into new fields for clearing.
• In fall, the goats will be butchered on site in the pasture by a Halal butcher. This method of slaughter is thought to be the most humane because it is quick and does not require the goat to be shipped to a slaughter facility.
• We will offer more goat cheese and ice cream at our events, and to children in our farm-to-school and summer programs.
• We will do an article for regional papers, and tribal papers on our project.
• Connecting with another goat herder in the area and offering an evaluation of their management plan- we continue to work with them.
• Hosting field trips for the Pine Point Elementary School children to a local goat ranch.
• Indigenous Farming Conference- workshop on goat management with nearly 30 attendees and serving goat’s milk ice cream to 100 participants at the conference.
• The three day Permaculture weekend April 29-May 1, will include a workshop on goats. Expected participation: 30