What is "alternative?"
What is an “alternative” dairy and why do we need them?
An alternative dairy is:
“one that produces safe and delicious farm-fresh milk and dairy products on an appropriately scaled, humane, and community based farm.”
Given the environmental, economic, and social challenges we face today, it comes as no surprise that there is a movement away from the current agricultural paradigm, traditionally characterised by monocultures, heavy chemical and fertilizer use, and petroleum intensive methods (among other things), in favor of an “alternative” agricultural model.
For dairies, this means using a wider variety of animal breeds, limiting chemical, fertilizer, hormone, and antibiotic use, and more in an effort to consider the impacts of the farm on the community, both ecologically and socially.
Often the term “triple bottom line” is used to describe businesses that work towards not only a financial agenda, but also a social and environmental one. It’s often referred to as the “three P’s:” People, Planet, and Profit.
Graphic created by Triplebotline, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Today we face a host of environmental and social challenges, the most notable of which are climate change, widespread environmental degradation, economic instability, and heightened social inequality.
A recent UN report (2013) described the change needed as a:
“shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production towards mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers. We need to see a move from a linear to a holistic approach in agricultural management, which recognizes that a farmer is not only a producer of agricultural goods, but also a manager of an agro-ecological system that provides quite a number of public goods and services (e.g. water, soil, landscape, energy, biodiversity, and recreation).”
Here at ADI, we seek to support dairies working to remedy these issues through their production of high quality goods and also to help consumers source not only the best tasting dairy products, but the most responsible ones as well.