As I wrote several weeks ago, Danone, who owns the Horizon Organic brand, dropped 89 organic farms across New England and NY state last summer. (24 of these are Vermont farms). They did it because it’s cheaper for them to get milk from mega-dairies in the Midwest. The bottom line: this decision was about increasing profits.
The announcement caused shockwaves throughout the dairy industry. Numerous political bodies and organizations have been working to not only find a solution to keep these farms in business, but also stabilize organic dairy in New England. Lots of ideas have been generated, letters of inquiry as well as complaint sent, petitions signed, and meetings attended.
To date, Danone has granted another 6 months to their original 12 month contracts. This gives the farmers and policy makers more time to craft possible solutions. This is a win but doesn’t change the underlying issues.
Stonyfield, though, is trying to change the playing field. They recently announced a new partnership whereby consumers pledge to purchase one-fourth of their dairy products from 35 brands that have committed to increase their purchases of organic family farmer’s milk. This increase in demand will help keep organic family farms going.
Go to https://www.saveorganicfamilyfarms.org if you’d like to pledge your support for this project or learn more. (By the way, Kiss the Cow is one of the 35 partners). The bottom line on what you can do: buy local from farmers you trust.
Randy Robar, co-owner of Kiss the Cow Farm