Today’s Solutions: May 20, 2022

As the pandemic hit, food distribution chains across America started collapsing. Such was certainly the case in Interlaken, New York, where large dairy farms were forced to start dumping millions of gallons of milk.

Part of the problem for these dairy farms was that most were specialized in large-scale production and were making “the kind of 20-pound tubs of sour cream that ended up at Chipotle,” which means they couldn’t easily pivot to producing smaller products for local retailers. With local supermarkets going empty and people going hungry, brothers Dave and Pete Messmer, who runs a small dairy called Lively Run Goat Dairy, came up with a brilliant idea: buy up the excess milk, make cheese with it, and donate it to food banks.

In order to raise the funds, the brothers set up a GoFundMe campaign and asked for an initial $20,000. They wound up blowing past that number within 3 days, and have raised nearly $50,000 since then. As the brothers would soon find out, this new model was a big win-win for everybody, with the large-scale farmers getting paid for their surplus milk and the Messmer brothers being able to produce cheese again. Meanwhile, those in need would get fed.

By December, the Lively Run Goat Dairy had donated some 6,000 pounds of cheese within the Finger Lakes region and 7,100 pounds to food-insecure neighborhoods in New York City. The pandemic has revealed a massive problem with America’s centralized food systems. Sure, consolidating farms, processing facilities, and supermarkets have made the system more efficient, but the problem is that “when there’s a breakdown, it causes massive reverberations.”

A centralized food system is fragile, and on top of that, there are actually fewer American-produced food options on the grocery store shelf than there were decades ago. As reported by Civil Eats, the new model created by the Messmers and their partner organizations has shown how small farmers can play a key role in ensuring local food distribution systems continue operating and feeding the community.

With the pandemic raging onward, a clear need has arisen for similar models to be implemented in America, which is why the FEED Act has been introduced to congress. If enacted, Civil Eats reports that the legislation would allow “FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) [to] approve plans from state, local, and Indian tribal governments that (1) establish contracts with small and mid-sized restaurants and nonprofits, including faith-based organizations and soup kitchens, to prepare healthy meals for people in need; and (2) provide for partnerships with nonprofits to purchase directly from food producers and farmers,” after major disasters.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on this developing story.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Architects redesign their industry labor model

The architecture profession is often glamorized as a creative and lucrative job where individual designers get their names tied to monumental construction projects. The truth is that an individual’s effort, even their whole team’s collaborative ... Read More

Meet the animals that refused to go extinct

May 20th marks the 17th annual Endangered Species Day. Every year, thousands of people around the world join together in taking action to protect and celebrate endangered or threatened species. In solidarity with the lives ... Read More

US trucking shortages might be at an end

Right now, economists, workers, and consumers alike are all holding their breath with the looming potential of a recession. It’s a lot to mentally wrangle with while we all look at various economic indicators and ... Read More

“Dramatic” success in clinical trials of novel asthma treatment

According to the AAFA, around 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma, about one in every 13 people. This long-term disease causes swelling and inflammation of the airways, resulting in restriction and discomfort when ... Read More

UK-based walking group makes strides in men’s mental health

Of course, it’s never advisable to generalize, in this case, however, the evidence demonstrates that men are notoriously difficult to serve when it comes to mental health support.  With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, ... Read More

4 fascinating facts about bees to celebrate Bee Day

May 20th is Bee Day! So, to celebrate our fabulous pollinating friends, here are four facts that go beyond their all-important role in plant cross-fertilization. Females are the future Female bees have different jobs depending ... Read More