Latest Adventures of the Ranching Program- Melamen/Medicinal Plants

Cecelia managed to find one ripe berry!

Now in our second cohort, students got the opportunity to meet our local elder Cecelia De Rose who instructs us in traditional plant uses. Cecilia is a member of Esketemc First Nation and a long-time Secwepemcstin language teacher. Cecilia is an Elder advisor to our Applied Sustainable Ranching program for our Medicinal Plants module.

Our first and second cohort of students can also testify that Cecelia is also an expert “Indian Ice Cream” maker and Medicinal Plant Guide.  She also has a fantastic sense of humour and she KNOWS A LOT about many things.

Soopolallie/Soapberries or sometimes known as Buffalo Berries- made into “Indian Ice-Cream”

Last week we had the delight to have her in the classroom teaching students how to make Indian Ice-cream out of Soopolallie/Soapberries or sometimes known as Buffalo Berries.

Cecelia teaches Ranching Students about Medicines

Cecelia gave a presentation in class about the medicines in our area and brought examples of each to show students.

After lunch students and guests went on a Plant ID Walk close to Williams Lake. This year Cecelia points out, the soap berries are late- they weren’t ripe yet.

But we did manage to find and identify many other plants! Full Photo album here.

It is important for ranchers and students to understand the role of certain medicinal and food crops that are indigenous to the area and to create a relationship with these plants and understand their importance in the eco system and their roles in traditional indigenous life.

Cecelia was the perfect guide and we can’t wait to for next year’s plant walk!

Applied Sustainable Ranching 2017 Accepting New Student Intakes

The new year is about to start and the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program is ramping up for it’s next round of new students. Are you one of them?

See all the interesting career opportunities possible and the benefits from a program that focuses on sustainability and the environment while helping to build better communities.

Apply today.



Diversification: Raspberry Farm & Apple Orchard – Fraserbench Farms

This week was a busy one as we have entered full swing into the diversification section of our applied skills course in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program here at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake.


For our first diversification seminar we traveled out towards Soda Creek, along the Fraser River in the Cariboo and found ourselves at Fraser Bench Farm and home of Charlie and Lynda Archibald.


Lynda’s place is incredible, and a real testament to the idea of “staying in place” -she’s been on that site for thirty years, and the establishment of her trees, and berry bushes and flowers shows it. Lynda has a successful raspberry enterprise where she grows, picks and sells fresh and frozen berries. She is a great example of diversification as she has several businesses on her farm.

Lynda's on-site farm stand

Lynda has created diversification with her apple orchard with apple sales, juice sales and she creates her own apple cider vinegar product that is in high demand.  She is part of the Cariboo Grower’s co-op and grows onions and early garlic for them to sell in Williams Lake.  Her set-up was simple and showed that with a little creativity setting up an additional enterprise on your ranch or farm could be easily established.

Along the Fraser

We enjoyed Lynda’s farm so much, spending a lot of time learning from her, but also a lot of time sitting on her deck in the warm micro-climate, basking in the sun and flowers.


No wonder she has invested so much of her time in this beautiful place, how could you not?