Working on the Local Producer Loan Program gives me tons of opportunities to hear about local food systems across the country. Last month, I had the privilege of working with MOOMilk, an Augusta, Maine vendor that supplies organic milk to our stores in Maine. MOOMilk is made up of 10 organic dairy farms along with the Maine Farm Bureau and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. These groups joined together because they are passionate, not just about producing quality organic milk, but also about supporting local family-run farms and maintaining the culture of the dairy industry in Central Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In their business model, the farms that make up MOOMilk are part owners of the company and 90% of the profits are returned directly to the dairies.
Recently, several of the dairies were in need of more cows so they could increase their production, and that’s where the Local Producer Loan Program stepped in! We loaned MOOMilk enough money to procure 20-24 dairy cows, which allows them to expand their business and make more product. That, in turn, provides Whole Foods Market® customers with more delicious organic milk. It truly is a winning situation for everyone involved, especially all you organic milk lovers in Maine and New England! Visit their website to learn more about MOOMilk’s unique business model, as well as find out more about a few of the dairies that make up MOOMilk, including Tide Mill Organic Farm that’s been in the same family for eight generations! Is there a local food system that supports farmers in your area? We’d love to hear about it.