LONDONDERRY, NH – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Dec. January 2022–
Last fall, 89 organic family businesses in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and east New York received sudden news that Horizon, a brand owned by Danone North America, was terminating its sales contracts with effect from early 2023, terminating contracts for more 46 establishments. This news puts these farms, many of which have been in business for generations, at serious risk of closure if they cannot find alternative outlets. Today, Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield co-founder and former longtime CEO, announces the launch of the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, a unique partnership created to solve the disappearing family business crisis.
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Stonyfield Co-Founder Gary Hirshberg Announces New Partnership With Family Organic Farms In The Northeast To Rescue Family Organic Farms In The Northeast (Photo: Business Wire)
The partnership, a collaboration of farmers, processors, activists and government agencies, invites consumers to sign a promise linked here, buying a quarter of their weekly milk purchases of 35 brands, listed here. These brands have pledged to increase their purchases of organic family milk from the northeast of the country and thus to increase demand and market stability in order to save the 135 endangered farms and make all organic family farms in the region safer. Put simply, the partnership aims to empower consumers to save these farms and have a lasting impact on the livelihoods of organic family farmers.
The partnership also invites grocers, restaurants, cafeterias and all outlets that sell dairy products to also be licensed as partners. Licensed partners who have signed affidavits to increase their organic purchases are entitled to proudly display the partnership logo at the point of sale and also online for easy identification by consumers.
The Partnership Board comprises a diverse group of executives and individuals who are committed to saving all endangered organic family farms in the northeast. In addition to Hirshberg, these include Peter Allison, Farm to Institution, LLC, (VT); Diane Bothfeld, Department of Agriculture (VT); Leon and Abbie Corse, organic dairy farmers in Vermont; Claire Eaton, ME Department of Agriculture; Annie Watson, Maine Organic Milk Company and Dairy Farmer (ME); and Eric Ziehm, New York organic dairy farmer (NY). Advisors include Michael Brown, CROPP Cooperative (ME); Rose Forrest, Sodexo Sustainability Coordinator (RI); Ed Maltby, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Assn (MA); Peter Miller, Miller Family Farm (VT), Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield Organic (NH) and Albert Straus, Straus Organic Creamery (CA).
The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership encourages all actors in the food system – consumers, milk processors large and small, retailers, restaurants, school lunches, college cafeterias, and the hardworking organic farmers of the area – to support and protect the area’s organic family farmers and farmers ensure long-term stable demand so that family farmers are never again vulnerable.
“The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership celebrates the fact that it really needs a village to support organic family farmers in our region,” said Hirshberg. “Everyone is involved in the long-term financial health of these farms and farming families. The simple promise to buy a quarter of dairy products from the brands, processors and farms that support these family farmers can help keep these farms healthy, lively, financially viable and environmentally and climate friendly in the north-eastern region for generations to come. “
The decline in the number of small family farms is unfortunately not a new story as the United States, and the Northeast in particular, has dramatically reduced both farm numbers and arable land over the past decade. From 2012 to 2021 alone, Vermont lost over 390 individual dairy farms as most of the food production was passed on to large agricultural companies by small families through no fault of their own. However, organic family farmers make an important contribution to a healthy environment and flourishing rural life and are important players in the region’s food system. Organic farms promote sustainability, bind more soil carbon, reduce harmful environmental impacts and are demonstrably more profitable and produce healthier animals and higher milk quality.
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CONTACT: Amanda Zerbib
Alison Brod Marketing & Communication
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA NEW HAMPSHIRE NEW YORK
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: RETAIL AGRICULTURE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SUPERMARKET NATURAL RESOURCES ENERGY FOOD / BEVERAGES
SOURCE: Stonyfield Organic
Copyright Business Wire 2022.
PUB: 01/12/2022 06:00 / DISC: 01/12/2022 06:02
Copyright Business Wire 2022.