This week, we are pleased to share our big news: Cabot Creamery Cooperative just won the 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award!

The award, given by the Innovation Center for US Dairy, nationally recognizes Cabot as a business that exemplifies the triple bottom line of sustainability: good for business, the community and the environment. This award applauds a cooperative effort that draws from a recipe of partnerships, innovation and pure determination – and we call it Real Farm Power™.

@cabotcheese just won the 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award . #winning Click To Tweet

Real Farm Power™ is a process that takes a cocktail of cow manure and food scraps and churns it into valuable resources like electricity, heat and fertilizer. The coolest part is that we get to work with the cows to make it all possible!  In fact, the cows in our cooperative provide the cream and the electricity needed to churn and package all of our Cabot butter!

Real Farm Power repurposes 92,000 lbs. of feedstock per day to make energy, heat, fertilizer… and butter!

So, how does it work? Employees at Geissler’s Supermarket collect food scraps that get picked up by Casella Organics and delivered to Barstow’s Longview Farm, in Hadley, Mass.

At the farm, the organic material is blended with the farm’s cow manure and other food processing byproducts, including from our own creamery. In partnership with Vanguard Renewables, the renewable energy produced by the anaerobic digester comes to us in the form of energy credits that offset all of the electricity needed to make Cabot butter!

Real Farm Power | Cabot Creamery

But we can’t take all the credit – we had the honor of sharing the spotlight with farmers in the Agri-Mark cooperative family duly recognized nationally for their pioneering dairy sustainability efforts. Blue Spruce Farm, Foster Brothers Farm and Freund’s Farm joined Cabot and Barstow’s in Chicago this week along with our friends at Vanguard Renewables. We’re pleased to share with you in today’s Farmer Friday a couple of inspiring words from these proud farm families.

What sustainability initiative have you been most proud of?

Having a zero-waste, closed loop system is something that we are really proud of here on the farm. Our cows produce milk that goes on to Cabot. The byproduct of that milk comes back to us from Cabot to run our digester powering the butter production of the Agri-Mark plant in West Springfield. The remainder creates natural nutrient rich fertilizer for our crops we grow to feed our girls so they can produce more milk for Cabot. But it goes beyond that single loop. We utilize the heat created by the digester to heat the farmhouse and the milk parlor. We use the electricity from the process to milk our cows. And we simultaneously work with Cabot to tell our shared and overlapping story of sustainability. In an increasingly conscientious world, we are proud to be taking serious strides toward a zero-waste footprint. — Denise Barstow | Barstow’s Longview Farm, Hadley, MA. 

“The motto of Longview Farm is ‘Looking forward since 1806.’ Farmers are so connected with the land and environment that sustainability is always on our mind. Our way of life depends on it.” — Denise Barstow | Barstow’s Longview Farm, Hadley, MA.

Barstow Family and Cabot Creamery Sustainability Team | Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Schukar Photography

Cabot Creamery Sustainabilty Award Winners | Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Schukar Photography

What do you see as the benefits of your sustainability initiatives?

Our Cow Power project has connected us with our community in an unprecedented way.  We grow crops to feed our cows, and we love that we continue to utilize the value by continuing to use it when it comes out of the back end of our cows, where it eventually ends back out to improve soil health – with all sorts of value added benefits along the way.

Most dairy farmers have a great story of continuous improvement and resilience. We are constantly finding new and better ways to produce quality milk in a way that is good for our animals, good for the environment and good for our community. – Marie Audet | Blue Spruce Farm, Middlebury, VT

Blue Spruce Farm, Middlebury, VT

What is the next sustainability story on your farm?

Transition and bringing in the next generation. Working with family is rewarding and challenging and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us as we figure out how we each fit into this farm, how our personalities will work together and what we can bring to the table to ensure that we stay true to our mission statement and are excellent stewards to our land. — Amanda Freund | Freund’s Family Farm, East Canaan, CT

To run a profitable dairy open to the possibility of diversification, operating in an ecologically aware environment, practicing proper animal handling, and respecting our neighbors and community. –Freund Family Farm mission statement, written 1966   

Freund's Farm

How do you see your own sustainability initiatives helping to inspire your fellow farmers?

“Family farms and a healthy, strong food supply are crucial to the country’s security. Each time we lose a farm, we grow a little weaker and diminish a rich national heritage.” — Robert Foster | Foster Brother Farms, Middlebury, VT

Foster Brother Farms, Middlebury, VT

bcorpCabot Creamery Cooperative is the world’s first cheese maker and dairy cooperative to achieve B Corporation Certification, a validation of its attention to environmental and social impacts on stakeholders.

If you would like to learn more about Cabot Creamery Co-operative, our sustainability initiatives, or some of our 1,200 farm families, click here.

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Ann Hoogenboom is Cabot’s Sustainability Coordinator and gets to share the latest and greatest in sustainability news from our farm families. As a Vermont native and lover of all things green, she’s proud of the socially responsible business role that Cabot plays for our cows, our creamery, our community and our customers.

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