I am currently in Philadelphia, PA for one of the very largest gatherings of nutrition professionals in the country.
This event is put on by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is an awesome networking event for dietitians and other food professionals.
This is my first FNCE to attend- and I’m very excited to be here.
The event officially kicked off this evening, but today I got to attend a pre-conference workshop that was right up my alley: a Rodale Farm Tour.
I’m a member of a dietetic practice group HEN (Hunger and Environmental Nutrition), which focuses on empowering members to be leaders in sustainable and accessible food and water systems. This practice emphasis lends itself well to partnership with organizations such as Rodale Institute.
Rodale Institute has been pioneering in the field of organic agriculture since 1947, and I’ve read a lot of their publications, so I was excited to visit the farm today.
Here, an organic dairy farmer from Vermont spoke to HEN members about herd management and health. The farmer who actually owns the herd was at a family reunion today, but it was great to get a perspective from a New Englander who is also a member of the Organic Valley Family of Farms Cooperative.
Here are the hard-working gals themselves. As a farm girl from Lancaster County, I was in my element in the rolling hills of southeast Pennsylvania. It was enjoyable to be there with a group of dietetics professionals from all over the country- Boston to LA.
The milking equipment is pictured below. Research on milk quality and profitability is underway as this farm has recently transitioned to an organic model. It sounds like there are some pretty exciting results that will come out of these studies- I’m hoping to see some news headlines by the end of the year, but I don’t want to give out a spoiler!
Dairy farming is hard work. It’s a struggle to make ends meet financially- and selling organic dairy products provides an option for a more livable income for family farmers.