Discussions of cheese’s impact on the environment tend to skip big-picture discussions concerning the industry and go straight to individual choice. This is particularly the case online, as the internet teems with articles and blog posts urging people to chop cheese from their lives for the good of the planet. While these urgencies have noble intentions, the solutions they produce are ones that only work on a small, individual scale.
The cheesemakers residing in the category’s craft, artisan, and farmstead sector aren’t fond of this approach to saving the planet. However, this disdain has little to do with potential impacts to their bottom line; they feel these solutions inadvertently gloss over the push for environmental change they’re conducting from within the industry. It’s a push that attempts to connect an eco-conscious mindset with cheesemaking’s pastoral roots, with cheeses created in ways that honor the land and its people.
“We believe that good cheese comes from good milk, and good milk reflects our surroundings,” says Christy Khattab, marketing director for Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, Calif. “Thoughtful dairy farming can be a vehicle for good. This ideal has always been our mission.”
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