When it comes to dairy, June has always been “our” month.
Yes, it is National Dairy Month, and it’s fitting that it’s the time of year when we start making ice cream our fourth meal of the day and cheese, crackers, and fruit become an acceptable dinner to beat the heat. (Actually, this is always acceptable).
This year, June takes on new meaning as it’s New England Dairy & Food Council’s 100 year anniversary.
There are many out there who spend an entire weekend or week celebrating their birthday.
Well, we’re going to top that and celebrate turning 100 for an entire year…starting now through June 2021!
As we look ahead to the future, it’s striking to reflect on the past 100 years to see how much has changed, but also how much has stayed the same.
A Look Back: Promoting Local Before it was Cool
New England Dairy & Food Council was established on June 16, 1920.
Our organization took a firm stand promoting “let New England eat what New England grows,” making the case for consuming local food first, instead of transporting food into the region at high cost.
Around the same time, the groundbreaking research of Dr. E.V. McCollum made the scientific connection between dairy foods and good health. Dr. McCollum’s insights provided a reason to fortify milk with vitamin D.
Not only was milk essential for supporting New England dairy farms, but we had evidence it was essential for good health and nutrition.
From the beginning, we shared science-based information on the role of dairy foods in supporting child health and wellness, which helped with the development of programs such as the USDA’s School Lunch Program (founded in 1929).
Our Present: Championing Dairy
Today, we continue to build upon our foundation of supporting and celebrating all things dairy–farming, food, nutrition, and wellness.
Our vision is to be a catalyst for a vibrant New England dairy community.
Our mission is to champion New England dairy farm families and the nutritious foods they produce.
It’s amazing how much our mission reflects where we started back in 1920, though we have incorporated different ways of communicating that message.
Today, we continue to:
- Share the New England dairy story, through our website and social media, media outreach, grassroots consumer events, and our work with agriculture and health and wellness partners.
- Connect people to dairy farms through our online farm profiles, farm tours for people of all ages, such as Vermont Breakfast on the Farm, virtual farm tours, and invite dairy farmers to events for one-on-one interaction.
- Support youth wellness in schools by raising awareness about how school meal programs, which include low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt, not only help provide regular access to better nutrition, but also help address food insecurity.
- Deliver the latest nutrition and sustainability science to health professionals, scientists, media, child nutrition professionals, and educators.
As we move into the next century, there is no doubt our mission and vision are as relevant as ever.
We’ll continue to build on our foundation of supporting and celebrating all things dairy–farming, food, nutrition, and wellness.
We’ll continue to connect people to where their food comes from, whether that’s in-person, online by focusing on the intersection of local agriculture, nutrition, and sustainability.
We’ll continue to reinforce how critical it is to have local dairy farms and local food sources for our own food security.
Join the Celebration:
At New England Dairy, we’re proud of how much we’ve accomplished over the past 100 years, but realize there is much more work to be done.
We know we can’t do it alone and are thankful for our dairy farmers, partners, and supporters.
We will be sharing lots of content starting now and through June 2021. Join the conversation by using #NEDairy100. Plus, learn more about our #100MilkMoments campaign here.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to continuing our journey together with you and our dairy farmers. So please, join us in a toast: Cheers to dairy, good health, and the next 100 years!