California-Based Research Institutions such as CSU, Chico and the Organic Farming Research Foundation Among Recipients
Fostering positive change in rural and urban communities, on family farms and for the environment, Organic Valley Family of Farms, America's largest farmer-owned, organic cooperative and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today announced it donated more than $261,000 in cash and food to charitable organizations on the west coast last year, a key region for the Cooperative.
Organic Valley's $261,000 in cash and food contributions went to 108 nonprofits spanning the west coast, including educational institutions and other similar organizations in the local communities and regions of its farmer-owners. The Cooperative strives to support organizations that are champions in one or more of the following areas: family farming, rural communities, organic research and education, humane animal treatment, environmental education and preservation, and child wellness.
"Our giving programs are an extension of our cooperative ideals. We know that when we give to great organic causes and to local communities, we get back tenfold. We consider every dollar given an effective way of supporting change for good," said Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive at Organic Valley.
Across the nation, Organic Valley donated a total of more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations in 2008. Of the Cooperative's 1,332 farmers-owners in 32 states and one Canadian province, 91 are located in the western United States. Of its $527.8 million in 2008 annual sales, more than $116 million, over 22 percent, was generated on the west coast.
Organic Valley's 2008 gifts in California included
- $25,000 to the Organic Farming Research Foundation in Santa Cruz to support their efforts to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems through research, policy and education.
- $23,000 to California State University, Chico, to fund a two-year study conducted by the College of Agriculture's organic dairy on improving net profit by improving pasture management. The project will also host "grazing schools" for beginning and advanced dairy farmers to encourage and support efficient pasture use.
- $5,000 to the Non-GMO Project to support their work to educate consumers about genetically engineered foods and recombinant DNA technology, and to provide consumers with consistent and trustworthy non-GMO options.
- $5,000 to StoptheSpray.org in Sacramento to support their work to educate and mobilize community groups to tackle local pollution and contamination issues through strategic communication and activism.
In addition, Organic Valley provided nearly $65,000 in food to shelters and food banks on the west coast, with Western Eagle Foundation Food Bank in Temecula and Senior Gleaners in Sacramento among the largest recipients.
"Organic Valley's support for our pasture research will ultimately benefit all organic dairy producers and bottlers by providing a better understanding of the economics of organic pasture management and milk production," said Dr. Cynthia Daley, professor of animal science at CSU, Chico. "Little is known about the economic viability of low grain/high forage organic dairy systems in today's agricultural economy in the U.S., particularly in the western region where total mixed rations tend to be status quo in the dairy industry."
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter, www.twitter.com/organicvalley and Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Organic-Valley/20674850824.