Gary Hirshberg Part 2: Saving Organic Family Farms


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#092: In the second half of our conversation with Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg, we delve deeper into the reasons behind Danone/ Horizon's 2021 contract cancellations with 89 organic dairy farmers in the northeast and what can be done going forward. Gary introduces his new organization, the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, and explains his hope for its role in convincing consumers and institutions to support local, organic dairy farms more actively.
Gary Hirshberg has long been associated with Stonyfield Yogurt, which was founded by Samuel and Louisa Kaymen in 1983. In 2021, in response to Horizon Dairy canceling contracts with 89 organic dairy farmers in the northeast, Gary founded The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership to focus efforts on keeping these farms in business:
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The Real Organic Project is a farmer-led movement working towards certifying 1,000 farms across the United States this year. Our add-on food label distinguishes soil-grown fruits and vegetables from hydroponically-raised produce, and pasture-raised meat, milk, and eggs from products harvested from animals in horrific confinement (CAFOs - confined animal feeding operations).
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We believe that the organic standards, with their focus on soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare were written as they should be, but that the current lack of enforcement of those standards is jeopardizing the ability for small farms who adhere to the law to stay in business. The lack of enforcement is also jeopardizing the overall health of the customers who support the organic movement; customers who are not getting what they pay for at market but still paying a premium price. And the lack of enforcement is jeopardizing the very cycles (water, air, nutrients) that Earth relies upon to provide us all with a place to live, by pushing extractive, chemical agriculture to the forefront.
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105 episodes