The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is coordinating an effort to recover raw milk from being disposed while creating a new, temporary food supply for the Vermont Foodbank. In collaboration with the Vermont Community Foundation, $60,000 has been made available to purchase this milk for the benefit of Vermonters, according to Green Mountain Creamery. These efforts are particularly important as Vermont's dairy industry has been challenged by COVID-19 but remain essential to Vermonters' food supply.

"This collaboration highlights the integral role of Vermont dairy farms in our state's food system," said Governor Phil Scott. "I applaud these groups for supporting our farmers and Vermonters in need, feeding our most vulnerable and not wasting a valuable and healthy agricultural product."

Joining in this effort are Kansas City, Kan.-based Dairy Farmers of America (DFA); Brattleboro, Vt.-headquartered Commonwealth Dairy LLC, producer of Green Mountain Creamery yogurt; and HP Hood, Lynnefield, Mass. DFA family farms will be providing the milk to Green Mountain Creamery and HP Hood. The milk will be processed by these Vermont dairy producers for a donation of 42,000 cups of yogurt and over 11,500 gallons of 2% milk to the Vermont Foodbank, Green Mountain Creamery said.

The donation will serve hundreds of food bank clients over the course of the coming weeks, providing nutritious dairy products to the Vermont communities in need while preventing valuable food waste. New England Dairy also provided support to bring these businesses together.

"Due to changes in demand, the surplus of milk available from our Vermont dairy farms has grown over recent weeks and is highlighting the uncertainty they face today,” said Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “I want to thank those involved in this effort for recognizing the value of our Vermont dairy products, and the importance they hold in our economy and communities. We are thrilled that we have found a process to redistribute agricultural product that otherwise would have gone to waste to serve our neighbors in the communities we call home."

Beginning this week, product will be produced on a weekly basis and donated to the Vermont Foodbank in amounts of 1,152 gallons of milk for 10 weeks and 3,500 cases of yogurt throughout the month of May, helping the Vermont Foodbank to serve thousands of clients. The Vermont Foodbank, which serves more than 153,000 individuals each year, has seen an increase of up to 100% of percent in demand since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Green Mountain Creamery said.