Pioneering Change for the Good: Organic Valley Donates More Than $380,000 to Charitable Organizations on East Coast

La Farge, Wis.
April 13, 2009
Contact P.R. Elizabeth Horton
work 207-838-0084 La Farge, Wis.

Boston-Based Nonprofits such as Chefs Collaborative, Farm Aid Among Recipients

Fostering positive change in rural communities, family farming and the environment, Organic Valley Family of Farms, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today announced it donated more than $380,000 in cash and food to charitable organizations on the east coast last year, a key region for the Cooperative.

Organic Valley's $380,000 in east coast cash and food contributions went to 139 nonprofits spanning the east 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, organic education and promotion, 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, 366 are located on the east coast. Of its $527.8 million in 2008 annual sales, more than $166.7 million were generated on the east coast.

Organic Valley's 2008 gifts on the east coast include:

  • $38,016 to the University of Vermont Extension to study the feasibility and season extension of cereal grains as a source of organic feed.
  • $12,015 to Chefs Collaborative to co-host the Earth Dinner movement with Organic Valley. Earth Dinners are local, seasonal and organic dinners which foster meaningful conversation about food, farming and the earth, and which are held at Chefs Collaborative member-restaurants in communities across the country in celebration of Earth Day.
  • $10,000 to Farm Aid to support outreach and awareness of their annual concert event that has raised more than $33 million in funds for family farms since its inception.
  • $10,000 to Environmental Working Group (EWG) to support EWG's action fund, which fuels advocacy for policies that protect people from toxic chemicals and shift government subsidies toward conservation.

In addition, Organic Valley provided more than $50,000 in food to shelters and food banks on the east coast, with Capital Area Food Bank, Food Bank of Central New York, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank among the largest recipients.

"Today it is more important than ever to know where your food comes from and to connect chefs with local farmers", said Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative, a Boston-based national network of chefs and members of the food community that fosters a sustainable food supply through advocacy, education and collaboration. "Thanks to our partnership with Organic Valley, we have created a movement in which more than 14 communities participated in their own Earth Dinners last year."

"We are humbled by Organic Valley's generosity, particularly during a year when our nation's dairy farmers are struggling for survival," said Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build a vibrant family-farm centered system of agriculture in America, and which stages America's longest running annual concert. "Organic Valley truly shares our mission of keeping family farmers on their land."

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.

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Elizabeth Horton
Phone: 207-838-0084
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