The Stage Is Set For the “New Dairy”:
The traditional link between dairy farms and their customers and communities has been lost. Our milk no longer comes from the farm down the road. Unnaturally, today there are only a few milk bottling plants left in Vermont. Day after day and truck load after truck load, raw milk rumbles down the highways to be pasteurized and bottled. This occurs at huge bottling and manufacturing plants located outside of the state. Once bottled, it is loaded onto refrigerated trucks, hauled back to Vermont to be sold at retail, and the added-value dollars raw milk provides flow back out of the state. This system is obsolete and it is failing the environment, dairy farmers, consumers, and our local economies alike.
Sadly – fresh, great tasting, and locally produced milk seems to be a distant dream for most consumers.
The Market Opportunity (Buy Local, Buy Fresh!):
Consumer concerns about the health and safety of our food are growing rapidly. In addition, their concerns about the health of our environment, the humane treatment of farm animals and the loss of our rural, working landscapes is increasing. In response, organic food production and sales have grown significantly during the past three decades and the number of farmers markets has more than doubled since 1994.
Organic foods are now federally regulated and are, increasingly, being produced by major corporations. In response, cause-concerned consumers have begun to shift their focus away from the organic industry, toward fresh foods produced locally on small scale farms. The mantra of this new movement: buy local and organic. But, if you can’t buy local and organic, buy local first. The cover of the March 12, 2007 issue of “Time” magazine proclaimed “Forget Organic. Eat Local”. We, at AMD-Inc., believe the environmental benefits of eating locally produced foods are obvious.
There is also a significant and growing movement among consumers to redevelop strong, local economies and support small, sustainable, local businesses. This movement is rapidly gaining strength in northwestern United States. And, it is spreading; driven by the high-cost of fuel, environmental and product quality concerns, and the desire to strengthen local communities.
Essentially keeping small has Big Benefits for all:
Good for Consumers and Neighbors
- wholesome, safe & delicious milk
- beautiful working landscapes
- facilitates community building
Good for the Environment
- reduces surface and groundwater pollution
- less trucking = less fuel, less air pollution
Good for Animals
- humane animal care due to individualized care
- quality living conditions
Good for Farmers
- increased profits; money stays local
- working farms rebuild farming community
- allows time for farm diversification: more products = more profits