If you’re ever in the mood to see lots of photos of family farmers and their adorable cows in idyllic pastures, check out the Organic Valley website. Back in 1988 the pressure that big agriculture was having on family farms hit a peak and one man, George Siemon of Wisconsin, put up some posters inviting area farmers to get together to talk about how they could save their family farms. The meeting was packed and the concept of joining together in a cooperative to become strong enough to survive in the market was born. They did more than survive; they thrived because consumers were willing to pay a premium for quality organic dairy instead of chemical-and-hormone-laden products of big agribusiness.
Organic Valley’s mission is to save family farms through cooperative organic and sustainable farming. The over 1800 family farms that comprise the Organic Valley cooperative do not use antibiotics or pesticides on their farms. They are also committed to sustainability, preserving land and soil health, and practicing the highest animal care standards. Organic Valley makes their own biofuel from sunflowers and uses it in farm tractors and in the trucks that pick up the milk from the various farms.
The Moscow Food Co-op carries many varieties of Organic Valley milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, eggs, sour cream, and cottage cheese. The Organic Valley website offers many wonderful recipes to provide ways of using their products: Mama Veggie Frittata, Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits, Cream Glazed Blueberry Coffee Cake, and Vietnamese Iced Coffee are just a few of the delicious-sounding recipes offered.
This philosophy of banding small family farms together lies at the heart of an initiative founded in 2009, the Principle Six (P6) Cooperative Trade Movement. The name “P6” reflects the sixth principle of the International Cooperative Alliance: “Cooperation among cooperatives”. The movement supports a food system in which farmers, workers, and producers are compensated fairly at every step of production and delivery. To earn the P6 designation a company must meet at least two of three criteria: small, local, and/or a cooperative. Our Moscow Food Co-op is joining the movement and will have a kick-off party on Sunday, August 28th from 4-7pm in the Co-op parking lot. You can meet vendors, sample their products and listen to live music. In the store, products that meet P6 criteria will have a P6 designation sticker next to the price tag on the shelf.
Organic Valley Company Snapshot
Founded in 1988
Headquartered in La Farge, Wisconsin
Oregon Tilth Organic Certified
Halal and Kosher Certified
P6 Cooperative Trade Movement Member
Amy Newsome highly recommends watching the Organic Valley farm tour for an endearing transportive experience of a day in the life on a family dairy farm http://misc.organicvalley.coop/virtual-tour/