Why did all Alberta children get a day off from school in June at one time?
early dairy farms
Dairy farming was an important aspect of early mixed farms. The dairy products we see today got their start in the kitchens of homesteaders. Early dairy farmers traded milk and butter they had churned at community stores for staples like sugar and salt.
The farmers who owned land inside or on the outskirts of growing cities made a living selling their products to local markets. As towns and cities grew, farmers grouped together so they could sell more products like cream and butter.
This photo shows a dairy farm on a homestead near Hardisty, Alberta about 1909.
Glenbow Archives PA-1252-26
This photo shows the Hays dairy farm to the right of the railroad.
Glenbow Archives PA-3900-77
the importance of cooperation
Cooperation was not new to early farmers. Neighbours helped neighbours to cut logs for cabins, raise walls for barns, build bridges over creeks and help harvest crops. At harvest time, neighbours would combine and share their resources, such as horses and food. In some places, where water sources were hard to find, a well would often be shared with neighbours.
Homesteaders and early farmers saw cooperation as an answer to a problem. Nellie Peterson, a pioneer from Mayerthorpe, described this. “When you found you had [a problem getting] your groceries or your coal or anything, you said, let’s get together and bring a carload of coal. It was a cooperative effort. We brought in a carload of apples and a carload of coal, unloaded right at the station. People were meeting an immediate need.”
Source: Provincial Archives of Alberta, 70.282. From Tolton, G. Deep Roots. Promising Future. United Farmers Historical Society Archives. https://archives.ufa.com/viewer/deep-roots-promising-future?p=12&type=static
Farmers were the first group in Canada to develop cooperative organizations. They did this so they could work together to buy supplies, learn new farming practices and increase the food they made.
In the early 1900s, dairy farmers started to organize and combine their production of cream and butter. These groups of farmers who cooperated and worked together were often called “pools.” This is because farmers pooled their resources, knowledge and products.
In 1924, The Central Alberta Dairy Producer’s Association was formed. In 1928, they were renamed The Central Alberta Dairy Pool and kept this name for almost 70 years. In 1992, they combined with the Northern Alberta Dairy Pool and the Fraser Valley Milk Producer’s Cooperative to become Dairyworld Foods. Its dairy products were sold under the name Dairyland.
This photo shows a dairy pool billboard, sometime in the 1940s.