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A monthly newsletter brought to you by Free Range Dairy Network
Volume 2, Issue 2
September 2016

Editor’s Comment

Free Range Dairy | Pasture Promise LogoIt’s been a fantastic summer for Free Range Dairy Network. We’ve held events on Free Range Dairy farms in Gloucestershire and Yorkshire, bringing farmers and cows together with potential new customers as well as strengthening our partnerships with Sustainable Restaurant Association and World Animal Protection.

Giving a presentation about Free Range Dairy Network, the cows, the farmers and what we are all trying to do to play our part in helping the dairy industry is never the same as taking people to the farms to meet the farmers and cows in person. There’s something about getting people down onto the farm that helps makes the work we’re doing just click with them. They see how happy and content the cows are, they taste the milk, they see the passion of the farmers and they want to do their bit to support it.

We will be holding more events next year but it will be more focused on consumers as the people buying and demanding Pasture Promise free range milk is what’s really going to be a game changer for Free Range Dairy Network. If people want to buy milk from cows that get to graze on pasture for over six months of the year, if they want to keep traditional dairy farmers in business, if they want to support a low impact sustainable farming system - then we need you to stand up and be counted.

Next year we have a great promotional opportunity with a leading celebrity chef, we will be working with Sustainable Restaurant Association to support their campaigns, we have cow turnout – my favourite event and we will be looking to run a Pasture Promise themed Open Farm Sunday just to name a couple of things we have planned for 2017.

I’ve also entered Free Range Dairy Network into two film competitions recently, the Cow Turnout film directed by Melissa Herman was submitted into a women’s short film competition. The competition is open until 16th October to any women Directors, Producers or Writers that have made a short film of any genre recently. Neil and I made another short film for Picture This competition about the environment. Our core messages are about freedom for cows to graze, a fair reward for farmers and giving consumers a more informed choice when purchasing milk but sustainable farming practices and the environment are also very important to us.

We also have our new MAP up on the website and we will be adding to it as more places that sell and use Pasture Promise free range milk join us.

Best Wishes,

Carol Lever
Free Range Dairy Network CIC

You can follow us on
@freerangedairy  freerangedairy_cic

In this Issue

1. Last of the Summer Milk

2. Lunch 2016

3. The Answer Under Our Feet

4. Putting Nature back into Milk


Last of the Summer Milk

Free Range Dairy | Last of the summer milkAs we say goodbye to the summer season of events, we can look back on some great events not just on the farms but also festivals such as the first Countryfile Live. We were able to bring Free Range Dairy Network to a huge range of businesses and supporters this summer and it’s been great fun meeting so many people who share the same passion for animal welfare, sustainability and support our great British traditional dairy farmers.

On top of this Jenni, who has been a real star of the events, making fantastic lunches with free range cakes, has been nominated as a finalist for Farmer of the Year at Taste of Gloucestershire Food and Farming Awards. She is a hard working farmer and puts her heart and soul into farming with her husband Jerry and family. Jenni is also Producer of the Month as part of Love British Food.

We wish Jenni every success and you can read some of Jenni’s blogs here.


Lunch 2016

Free Range Dairy | Lunch! logoI went to an interesting 2-day conference called ‘Lunch 2016’ at Islington Business Design Centre recently. It offered some interesting insight into food trends and where the food market is going, as well as interesting presentations from leading people in the catering sector.

It was great to hear from the new CEO Andrew Stephen about their upcoming reinvigoration of their Food Made Good campaign. Next year they have a packed diary of events based on their 3 pillars of Sourcing, Society and Environment. This will help shine the spotlight on how we can all do more to ensure we are supporting sustainable catering and food services.

Three of the campaigns we hope to fully support them is around the livelihood of farmers, celebrate British produce and support the local community.

I’ll make sure that we share the updates with you on the website.


The Answer Under Our Feet

Free Range Dairy | The answer under our feetFree Range Dairy Network doesn’t often get the chance to talk about the environment and biodiversity, we don’t want to crowd out our core messaging with too much noise. However, the film competition Picture This gave us a great opportunity to talk about sustainable farming practices.

Climate change is happening and we need to do all we can to help reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. The weather predictions we’ve heard about are something I think most of us thought we wouldn’t get to see first-hand but each year records are being made and broken at an alarming rate. Academics have talked about the important part soil can play in helping to store carbon as well as reduce carbon in the atmosphere. This was the theme of the film and I wrote a blog to accompany it. The short film was our first attempt at film making just as a piece in The Guardian came out the weekend reiterating what we were trying to capture in our narrative. 

Soil has a huge part to play in helping us reduce carbon emissions and if we preserve soil and pasture and produce milk from this system surely it has to be a win/win for everyone.  This is an opportunity for organisations like the Soil Association, Pasture Fed Livestock and Free Range Dairy Network to collaborate on how we stitch together a way that creates a blanket approach to sustainable food production. Organic farmers and PFL will still do their thing, as will we, but all of us contributing to maintaining soil and pasture health that benefits everyone.

I’m going to the Food Research Collaboration workshop on improving collaboration between academics and CSOs in October and I hope to have the chance to bring this up at the meeting.

Putting Nature Back into Milk

Free Range Dairy | Putting nature back in milkFollowing on from my latest blog on soil and the importance of combining milk production with reducing carbon emissions, Neil has written a new blog. This time is in relation to the State of the Nation report looking at how farming practices have had the biggest impact on wildlife in the last 25 years.

Although DEFRA says it has no figures on how many farms have intensified over the years as Neil points out
‘In dairy farming, we are witnessing the impacts of policy-driven intensification and the way in which markets shape the activity of farmers. According to figures from AHDB Dairy, producer numbers in England and Wales have fallen from 13,543 in September 2006 to 9,517 today – a loss of 30% in ten years. In the same period cow numbers have fallen by 6%, whilst milk output has increased by around 1 billion litres (9%), thanks to a rise in average annual milk yields of over 900 litres a cow. So, undoubtedly, dairy farming has intensified.’

Stephen Hawkins said that he’s put his name down to go into space with Richard Branson as he believes
‘that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space.’

But space travel isn’t for everyone and I would get homesick for Planet Earth. Sometimes it can seem like we’re all doomed and nothing we do will make a difference but we can. As Anne Frank said – “Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.’

We all live on this planet and not many of us will get the chance to leave it in a space ship if things get really scary, better to try and reverse the trend now and deal with the problems together. I believe that Pasture Promise free range milk combined with the work others are doing can be one of the small changes that adds up to something big.

Make the Pasture Promise and look out for places to buy or consume Pasture Promise free range milk here.
If you have any stories to contribute then please contact Free Range Dairy at
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