Farmers interested in switching from industrial animal agriculture to plant-focused farming may now access a first-of-its-kind online resource. Miyoko’s Creamery, a vegan business founded by activist Miyoko Schinner, and animal rights organizations Mercy For Animals (MFA) and Animal Outlook (AO) have teamed up to develop the Farmer Toolkit, a resource and funding center for farmers looking to begin their transition away from animal agriculture.
The Farmer Toolkit strives to encourage and empower farmers by providing them with the materials they need to make a successful transition, such as how-to guides for producing crops, state-specific resources, marketing advice, grant and loan application recommendations, webinars, and more. Miyoko’s Creamery, MFA, and AO believe there is no better moment than now to get involved in the plant-based industry, which is expected to expand to $13 trillion by 2025.
Increased demand for alternatives to conventional animal products is credited with this trend, which means firms across the board, from food to household items, are sourcing more plant-forward ingredients to meet their social responsibilities.
Less Animals More Plants
The new toolbox is an expansion of Miyoko’s Creamery, MFA, and AO’s existing programs. Mercy For Animals’ Transfarmation programme provides finance and accreditation to farmers who want to transition from abusive animal farming to the expanding plant-based industry. It acknowledges that farmers are an important component of the food chain, and it has already assisted farmers in effectively transitioning their businesses to hemp and mushroom plant farms.
“I was looking for alternatives to the contract poultry industry… I wanted something that was entirely mine, where I didn’t have to worry about a huge corporation cutting me off and losing my income. That’s what I found in Transfarmation. I talk with the staff and their technical consultants regularly and together we’re creating a business that I fully control.” said former contract poultry farmer, Greg Carey.
Animal Outlook’s Farm Transitions Programs, likewise, seek to give a sustainable and profitable alternative for farmers who feel powerless in the animal agriculture system, which exploits not just animals but also workers. “The Farm Transitions Program aims to provide farmers with equitable access within plant-based markets by assisting with comprehensive business planning; agronomic assistance and technical support, legal advocacy, finance and debt relief options; as well as publicity and farm visibility components,” stated Dr. T.J. Bradford, director of AO’s Farm Transitions Program.
Miyoko’s existing Dairy Farm Transition Program offers chances for dairy farmers who want to look into alternatives to their current operations, which frequently include volatile market pricing, high production costs, labor shortages, and competition from huge industrial dairy operations.
“By helping a forward-thinking dairy farmer transition to growing regenerative specialty crops, we can uplift farmer livelihoods in the emerging plant-based food economy… Dairy Farm Transition offers holistic resources to the farmer such as technical assistance, educational resources, small grants for material needs, and finally and most importantly, a guaranteed income during the transition. We will also be purchasing the crops from the farmer to use in our cheeses and butter,” Schinner stated.
Creating a Food System with Plants
Schinner’s commitment to aiding dairy farmers is part of her vision of remaking a kinder food system as a company that specializes in providing vegan alternatives to dairy products like cheese and butter. Schinner explained her role in furthering this evolution in a recent social media post.
“The fact is simple: we humans must evolve. We must do the hard work to become better versions of ourselves… I make food, perhaps new forms, but still from what grows from the ground. I want to bring people around the table. To further our cause of bringing more people around the table,” Schinner said on Instagram.
Schinner sets herself apart from her plant-based sector peers by not attempting to duplicate animal goods. Rather, Schinner wants to invent new meals and categories to encourage people to cease thinking of animals as food. She believes that in order for humans to evolve as compassionate consumers, they must be separated.
“Simply put, we are the natural evolution of cheese making from animal milk to plant milk… It is not the ‘technology’ or the ‘product’ that is going to save this planet or mankind, but the spirit with which we create what we create, and how we can envision a future food system that will bridge humanity, save the ecosystem, and truly transform how we view the other creatures with whom we share this planet—either as food and commodities, or otherwise disposable objects whose living quarters (forests, oceans, ecosystems) can be destroyed so we can gain, or as residents of Mother Earth as precious and valuable as we see ourselves,” Schinner said.
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