Your organic dairy farmer may have just been laid off and may need your help to stay afloat. North East organic dairy farmers have been given really bad news, and are asking for support. For the next year, if you pledge to purchase at least one-quarter of your household’s dairy products from brands that purchase milk from the newly launched Northeast Organic Family Farms Fund, farmers may be saved.
You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like safest cookware without PFAS “forever chemicals,” best organic eggs, & spices free from dangerous levels of heavy metals, now join us to learn how you can save northeastern organic dairy farmers from bankruptcy by pledging your support.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post also contains affiliate links.
Organic Dairy Farmers in North East Left Destitute by Horizon Organic & Maple Hill Creamery
In the fall of 2021, 89 organic family dairy farms received news their contracts with Danone were terminated. Danone (owner of Horizon Organic) had sent their organic dairy to brands like Not too long after that, 46 additional organic family dairy farms received similar news from Maple Hill Creamery. Both companies dropping North East organic dairy farm contracts cited shipping costs being more problematic for their bottom line. Horizon Organic has also pledged to be carbon neutral by 2025, so this may also be a factor.
In response, Stonyfield Organic, Organic Valley, and Upstate Niagara Cooperative tried to hire on as many new organic contracts in the North East as they could but fell short of being able to help them all. That’s when Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder of Stonyfield Organic, had the idea to create a region-wide partnership between consumers, large and small dairy processors, retailers, restaurants, school lunch programs, college cafeterias, and of course, our region’s hard-working organic family farmers. The idea is to enlist tens of thousands of northeast consumers, and ultimately retail and institutional customers, in a Partnership that will provide stable, long-term demand for these 89 farms, as well as the overall region’s organic family farms so that none of these farmers are ever made vulnerable like this again.
With the pledges of millions of Americans, it’s very possible to expand contracts for the remaining farmers from local restaurants, grocers, school lunch programs, & cafeterias to become licensed as partners. In other words, asking for local support may be the most logical and sustainable business decision afterall and they are attempting to get that started.
How You Can Help North East Organic Farmers (Even If You Don’t Live in the NorthEast!)
If you would like to support this effort, all you need to do is take their pledge and offer to purchase at least 1/4 of your dairy purchases each week with brands and farms that are part of the North-Eastern Organic Family Farm Collective. If you are living in places other than the NorthEast, national brands Stonyfield and Organic Valley are founding members and easy to find in your local grocery store.
Sign This Petition Telling the Industry North Eastern Organic Dairy Farmers Have Your Support!
The pledge states the following:
“Yes, I want to be a supporting Consumer Partner for our region’s organic family farmers.
For the next year, I pledge to purchase at least one-quarter of my household’s dairy products from brands that purchase milk from Northeast Organic Family Farms. “
They then ask for your signature on the pledge and this information will be used to market the group locally as a responsible choice for the local public and consumers.
Best Reasons to Support Organic Family Farms
Organic family farmers are smaller, yet incredibly powerful collectively and worth your support. They contribute in numerous ways to a healthy environment and thriving rural life. Since the beginning, family farms have been the lifeblood of the North East region’s food system, and they deserve support. But here is what they do for us:
- Organic Farmers Build Healthy Soils – The organic standards builds long-term fertility in the soil. It builds biodiversity and that, in turn, builds healthy soil and decreases harmful environmental impacts. Organic family farmers utilize practices to enrich the land they farm like (1) utilizing crop rotation, (2) covering crops, & (3) using natural fertility sources, like compost or manure.
- Organic Farms Sequester Carbon & Use Fewer Emissions– Organic farms have been scientifically shown to sequester 24% more carbon in their soils than non-organic operations. Studies have also shown that organic farms have a greater ability to protect the waterways & wildlife in the regions they are in. They produce less nitrogen runoff than conventional farms. Nitrogen is a powerful pollutant found in conventional fertilizer creating algae blooms and destroying drinkable and fishable waters. Because organic farming bans the use of synthetic fertilizer, studies estimate that on a per-acre basis, organic soil management can reduce nitric oxide (N2O) emissions by over 40%. The manufacture of synthetic fertilizers alone comprises as much as 10% of global agricultural emissions. In other words, organic farming methods reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are less based on fossil fuels.
- Organic Farms Avoid or Minimize Harmful Chemicals – A number of studies show either dramatically reduced or a complete absence of pesticides and other chemicals in organic milk. In one dairy study, residues of several particularly toxic pesticides were found in 26-60% of conventional (non-organic) milk samples. The organic samples were free of any toxic pesticides.
- Organically Raised Livestock Are Healthier – Organic cows are healthier cows. Veterinarians who care for organic animals say that organically raised cows live twice as long as conventionally raised ones. Organically raised cows must have 120+ days per year in pasture and ready access to shade and clean shelter, all under the care of farmers who I’ve witnessed often know each one by name. Pasture grazing not only improves the quality of their milk, but they also enjoy healthier body weight, hoof, and joint health. Organic cows fertilize the fields with their hooves by churning up and aerating pasture. In organic dairy, healthy, happy cows are the MVPs.
Where to Buy: National Brands & North Eastern Organic Dairy Farmers Near You
To make good on your support, here’s a list of all the family farms and nationally distributed dairy brands that are supporting North Eastern Organic Dairy Farmers Fund.
National Distribution Brands:
- Organic Valley – CROPP Cooperative All NE
Milk, cream, cheese, butter, Contact, Where to Buy, National distribution
- Stonyfield Organic Londonderry, NH
Yogurt, milk, cream, Contact, Where to Buy, National distribution
Local Farms to Visit in the North East:
- 3 Streams Farm in Belfast, ME
Milk, cheese Contact: 207-338-3301, Where to Buy: CSA and farm pick-up
- Balfour Farm in Pittsfield, ME
Fresh cheeses, cave-aged raw milk cheeses, yogurt, Contact, Where to Buy
- Berle Farm in Hoosick Falls, NY
Cheese, yogurt, milk, Contact, Where to Buy
- Buttercup Mountain Farm in Orange, VT
Raw Milk, Contact, Where to Buy: Farm store
- Butterworks Farm Westfield, VT, Yogurt, cream, kefir, buttermilk, Where to Buy
- Callie’s Creamery Peterborough, NH
Yogurt, Contact, Where to Buy
- Champlain Valley Creamery, LTD Middlebury, VT
Cheese, Contact, Where to Buy
- Chase Hill Farm & Creamery Warwick, MA
Milk, cheese, Contact: 978-544-3752, [email protected], Where to Buy: Farm store
- Donegan Family Farm Charlotte, VT
Milk, Contact, Where to Buy
- Earthwise Farm & Forest Bethel, VT
Raw Milk, Contact: [email protected], Where to Buy: Farm store
- Grace Pond Farm Thomaston, ME
Milk, Contact, Where to Buy
- Hawthorne Valley Farm Ghent, NY
Milk, yogurt, cheese, Contact, Where to Buy
- Kiss the Cow Barnard, VT
Milk, ice cream, Contact, Where to Buy
- Larson Farm & Creamery Wells, VT
Yogurt, gelato, butter, milk, Contact, Where to Buy: Farm store
- Meadowsweet Farm Hawley, MA
Raw milk, Contact: 413-412-3543, Where to Buy: Farm store
- Miller Farm/Miller Milk LLC Vernon, VT
Milk, Contact: (802) 988-6455, [email protected], Where to Buy: Brattleboro Food Co-op, Putney Food Co-op, local farm markets, Stonyfield products
- Misty Brook Albion, ME
Milk, half & half, cream, Contact: 207-437-4719, [email protected], Where to Buy
- Neighborly Farms Randolph, VT
Cheese, Contact, Where to Buy: Farm store and throughout NE
- Nezinscot Farm Turner, ME
Cheese, Contact, Where to Buy
- Rogers Farmstead Berlin, VT
Milk, yogurt, cheese, Contact, Where to Buy Co-ops and farm stores in VT
- Sidehill Farm Hawley, MA
Yogurt, cultured sour cream, cheese, Contact: 413-339-0033, [email protected], Where to Buy
- Stonewall Farm Keene, NH
Milk, ice cream, butter, cheese, Contact, Where to Buy, Farm store, Stonyfield products
- Stony Pond Farm Fairfield, VT
Milk, cheese, Contact, Where to Buy
- Strafford Organic CreameryStafford, VT
Milk, ice cream, Contact: [email protected], Where to Buy
- Straw’s Farm Newcastle, ME
Milk, Contact: [email protected]
- The Grey Barn Chilmark, MA
Cheese, Contact, Where to Buy, Farm store
- The Milkhouse Monmouth, ME
Milk, yogurt, Contact: [email protected], Where to Buy
- Tide Mill Organic Farm, LLC Edmunds, ME
Milk, Contact, Where to Buy
- von Trapp Farmstead Waitsfield, VT
Cheese, milk, Contact: (802) 496-6100, [email protected], Where to Buy, Farm store, milk CSA, Online from Jasper Hill Farm
- White Orchard Farm Frankfort, ME
Milk, Contact: 207-223-5525, [email protected], Where to Buy: Farm store, Bangor Natural Living Center
- Wolfe’s Neck Center for Education and the Environment Freeport, ME
Milk, Contact: [email protected], Where to Buy: Farm store