Michigan Dairy Members Win National Sustainability Award
Members of the Michigan dairy community were recently recognized for their sustainability efforts by the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. We raise our glass of milk to them!
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan – Outstanding Community Impact Award
Gleaners team members accepting the award.
One thing is certain for food banks across the United States: Milk is in demand, but it can be challenging to procure and distribute it. Gleaners, a Feeding America food bank in Detroit, established a vision to provide families with fresh, wholesome milk on a regular basis. Milk is one of the most requested foods, but rarely donated.
Last year Gleaners surpassed its goal of raising $96,000 for milk donations and distributing 103,680 gallons of milk. It was able to purchase more than $132,000 in milk and distribute 229,000 gallons of milk to those served by the emergency food network in Detroit and surrounding areas. By partnering with the dairy community and innovating its distribution methods, it created a system that’s built to last.
Ultimately, Gleaners’ goal is to improve clients’ health outcomes—in part by supplying a glass of fresh milk with every meal—and it’s inspiring donors to support this vision through an annual fundraising program called M.I.L.K. (Making Investments in the Lives of Kids), a campaign that aims to ensure kids have access to all the essential food groups starting with fresh milk.
A Gleaners team member moves donations of milk.
Gleaners tapped into the power of its relationships with United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Michigan’s dairy farmers, who provided milk-purchase match funding. That grew the sort of success that attracted more donations.
Already, the work is paying off with smiles from those who were eager to stock their refrigerators again. Says one client: “My son is always so happy when I bring milk home, so he can have milk on his cereal. Sometimes he has to eat his cereal without milk because we cannot always afford to buy it.”
Foremost Farms and General Mills – Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award
Foremost Farms accepts their award.
As a leading dairy cooperative, Foremost Farms knows its customers and consumers are interested in what’s happening on their members’ farms and how they’re conserving resources, protecting the planet and caring for their animals.
General Mills, one of Foremost Farms’ largest customers, is committed to purpose-driven growth powered by a sustainable supply chain, as the health of its business depends on the health of the planet. As part of this effort, the company has set an ambitious science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 28 percent across its full value chain by 2025 to help mitigate climate change.
General Mills knew the U.S. dairy industry also had set a voluntary goal to reduce its GHG intensity 25 percent by 2020. As a priority ingredient for several of its well-known brands, such as Yoplait yogurt, Foremost Farms was an obvious partner for GHG reduction collaboration.
In 2016, Foremost Farms convened 16 of their Michigan dairy farm members who supply milk to General Mills’ yogurt plant in Reed City, Michigan. These dairy farmers joined global sourcing and sustainability experts from General Mills to share ideas, align toward common goals and ultimately pilot a tool to help farms asses their GHG emissions and energy use.
The tool allows farmers to learn about their carbon footprint, identify areas for improvement, explore practices that add environmental benefits, track performance and reduce costs. In all, the dairy farms that participated in the pilot saw a combined 11 percent reduction in GHG over a three-year period, which outperformed the national and regional benchmark averages.