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PUTNEY—Putney Food Co-op is the first retailer to officially join the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership’s efforts to support local organic dairy brands and organic dairy farms.

The partnership, launched earlier this year through the efforts of Stonyfield Organic co-founder Gary Hirshberg, hopes to encourage consumers to increase weekly purchases of organic dairy brands with the goal of helping dairy farms in the region with the to meet the demand they need to remain financially viable.

Putney Food Co-op is the first retailer in the region to join the effort and commit to promoting organic dairy brands including Butterworks Farm, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Miller Farm Milk, Organic Valley, Stonyfield Organic and Strafford Organic Creamery.

“We have long supported organic farming and joining the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership is a natural extension of that support,” says Putney Co-op Grocery Manager Kim Lefebvre.

Lefebvre said the co-op “welcomes this initiative, applauds its mission, and looks forward to serving organic dairy farmers in Vermont and beyond as we encourage our members to buy brands that relate to these farms for organic milk and others.” Leave dairy products.”

As part of its role in the partnership, the Putney Co-op encourages its members to buy a quarter of their weekly dairy from participating local organic brands and makes a commitment to this effect on the partnership’s website at saveorganicfamilyfarms.org.

To date, more than 2,500 consumers have made the pledge, says Olga Moriarty, executive director of Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership.

Putney Food Co-op, founded in 1941, is a community-owned marketplace offering natural and organic groceries, fresh and local organic produce, organic and humanely raised local Vermont meat, poultry, eggs and dairy in support of local farm businesses. It is one of the oldest food co-ops in the United States.

Hand in hand with organic family businesses

In the fall of 2021, 135 organic family farms in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and eastern New York received sudden news that Horizon and Maple Hill Creamery were terminating their purchase agreements effective early 2023.

The news put these farms, many of which have been in business for generations, at serious risk of being closed unless they find alternative outlets.

In early January, the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, a unique campaign in partnership with the Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association (MOFGA), was launched to help solve New England’s disappearing family farm crisis.

The partnership, a collaboration of farmers, processors, retailers, activists and government agencies, invites consumers to pledge to buy at least a quarter of their weekly organic dairy purchases from brands that have committed to source their dairy from organic Source family farmers from the Northeast.

A key goal of the effort, according to the partnership, is to increase demand for dairy products produced in the Northeast, create market stability to help vulnerable farms and build greater food system resilience for the future.

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