MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has coordinated an effort to recover raw milk from being disposed while creating a new, temporary food supply for the Vermont Foodbank. In collaboration with the Vermont Community Foundation, $60,000 has been made available to purchase this milk for the benefit of Vermonters. These efforts are particularly important as Vermont’s dairy industry, like all sectors, has been challenged by COVID-19 but remain essential to Vermonters’ food supply.
“This collaboration highlights the integral role of Vermont dairy farms in our state’s food system,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I applaud these groups for supporting our farmers and Vermonters in need, feeding our most vulnerable and not wasting a valuable and healthy agricultural product.”
Joining in this effort is Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, producer of Green Mountain Creamery® yogurt and HP Hood. DFA family farms will be providing the milk to Green Mountain Creamery and HP Hood. The milk will be processed by these Vermont dairy producers for a donation of 42,000 cups of yogurt and over 11,500 gallons of 2% milk to the Vermont Foodbank. The donation will serve hundreds of food bank clients over the course of the coming weeks, providing nutritious dairy products to the Vermont communities in need while preventing valuable food waste. New England Dairy also provided support to bring these businesses together.
“Due to changes in demand, the surplus of milk available from our Vermont dairy farms has grown over recent weeks and is highlighting the uncertainty they face today. I want to thank those involved in this effort for recognizing the value of our Vermont dairy products, and the importance they hold in our economy and communities,” said Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “We are thrilled that we have found a process to redistribute agricultural product that otherwise would have gone to waste to serve our neighbors in the communities we call home.”
“Dairy is a huge part of our rural working landscape and economy—it is also a critical piece of ‘who we are’ as a state,” says Dan Smith, President and CEO of The Vermont Community Foundation. “To be able to respond to a need for milk distribution and help feed Vermonters who are struggling are exactly the type of reasons we created the VT COVID-19 Response Fund, and we’re thrilled to work with such stand-up organizations.”
Beginning this week, product will be produced on a weekly basis and donated to the Vermont Foodbank in amounts 1,152 gallons of milk for 10 weeks and 3,500 cases of yogurt throughout the month of May, helping the Vermont Foodbank to serve thousands of clients. The Vermont Foodbank, which serves more than 153,000 individuals each year, has seen an increase of up to 100% of percent in demand since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are pleased to be a part of this initiative to get nutritious dairy products to Vermont families during these difficult times,” said Kiersten Bourgeois, Manager, Communications and Industry Affairs for DFA. “Dairy farmers are also being challenged by disruptions as a result of COVID-19 and this initiative is a step in the right direction to supporting many parts of our society.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has led to a drastic increase in the number of people in need of help accessing food,” says Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “When people are laid off or losing work hours with businesses shut down, their food budgets are hit hard. Meeting the increasing need is an immense task, and we wouldn’t stand a chance if not for creative efforts like this one that connect the resources available with the people who need them.”
“The support from the state of Vermont and DFA has been crucial in allowing our team to efficiently process a surplus of milk supply to provide yogurt to our communities in the area,” said Esteve Torrens, CEO Lactalis US Yogurt, owner of owner of Commonwealth Dairy, LLC. “With dairy farmers across the country struggling to redistribute their product, this collaboration is a win-win to curb unnecessary food waste and serve those in need.”
“We are proud to be working with DFA to support Vermont families in need,” said Lynne Bohan, VP of Government Relations and Public Affairs at HP Hood. “These unprecedented times have created new challenges that require creative solutions. We’re glad that we’re able to help solve a problem while giving back to our local community.”
To find out more about how you can join in the many efforts to help in your communities, visit:
- Vermont Foodbank COVID-19 Hunger Relief Fund
- Vermont Community Foundation Responding to COVID-19 in Vermont
- Dairy Farmers of America Farmers Feeding Families Fund
For questions or more information, please contact:
About the Vermont Community Foundation
Contact: Nate Clark: 802-388-3355 x246 | email@example.com
The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. This includes helping to coordinate philanthropic response in times of crisis and challenge. The Foundation is committed to helping Vermont communities that are impacted by COVID-19 by responding to immediate needs and long-term recovery efforts. Visit www.VTCOVID19Response.org to learn more.
About the Vermont Foodbank
Contact: Nicole Whalen 802-505-0123 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network more than 300 community partners – food shelves, meal sites, senior centers, after-school programs, schools and hospitals. Food insecurity has increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic and the Vermont Foodbank and its network have been on the front lines, working to ensure that everyone has the food they need to maintain their health. Learn more at www.vtfoodbank.org.
About Dairy Farmers of America
Contact: Kiersten Bourgeois 802-793-4899 | Kiersten_Bourgeois@stalbanscooperative.comDairy Farmers of America is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative focusing on quality, innovation and the future of family dairies. While supporting and serving more than 13,000 family farmers, DFA works with some of the world’s largest food companies to develop ingredients that satisfy their customers’ cravings while staying committed to social responsibility and ethical farming. For more information, please visit dfamilk.com.
About Commonwealth Dairy, LLC
Contact: Tori Partykevich 617-585-5783 | email@example.com
Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, owner of the Green Mountain Creamery brand, is an all-natural dairy business born in the hills of Vermont, with a mission to make delicious dairy products affordable. Using a unique blend of yogurt cultures, Commonwealth Dairy, LLC has perfected its signature Green Mountain Creamery® mild and creamy yogurts. As a committed member of the communities in which it does business, Commonwealth Dairy, LLC has donated thousands of pounds of yogurt to the Vermont Foodbank, and promotes innovation among farm and food businesses as a primary component of its corporate mission.
About HP Hood
Contact: Laura Lynn 978-239-0682 | Laura.Lynn@hphood.comFounded in 1846, today Hood is one of the largest and most trusted food and beverage manufacturers in the United States. For more than 170 years, the name Hood has been synonymous with fresh, quality products that taste great. Hood’s portfolio of national and super-regional brands and franchise products includes Hood, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, LACTAID, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, Hershey’s Milk & Milkshakes, Planet Oat and more. For more information, please visit www.Hood.com.
About New England Dairy
Contact: Rene Thibault 802-876-7266 x.101 | RThibault@NewEnglandDairy.com
New England Dairy’s mission is to champion the region’s farm families and the nutritious foods they produce. The non-profit organization does this by sharing the New England dairy story, connecting people to dairy farms, supporting youth wellness in schools and delivering the latest nutrition and sustainability science to health professionals, scientists, media, nutrition professionals and educators.