Whole Foods Film Shows Organic Dairy Farmers Gambling on Entrepreneurialism

January 10th, 2013

‘Betting The Farm’ featured in this month’s Do Something Reel Film Festival
Sustainable Food News

Maine'sOwnOrganicMilkWhole Foods Market, Inc., the world’s largest retailer of organic and natural foods, on Tuesday said the January featured film in its Do Something Reel Film Festival is called “Betting The Farm,” which details a group of dairy farmers faced with a tough decision after they are dropped by their national milk company.

Eight organic dairy farmers in rural Maine are forced to either quit farming altogether or find a new way of doing business. The farmers take a chance and join forces to form a local milk company, Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co. or MOO Milk, in the hope that their small-scale farming model will get them a fair price for their milk.

MOO Milk is also a two-time recipient of Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program, which provides up to $10 million in low-interest loans to small food producers looking to expand their business.

“MOO Milk is a test of the local food model on a scale that works for regular farmers,” said co-director Cecily Pingree . “If consumers will support this small, regional business—and others like it—small-scale dairy farms will continue to be viable in the future. It’s up to all of us.”

It’s a difficult road as the farmers find that the milk cartons are leaking, there’s no money to advertise, and they’re simply not selling enough milk. The film documents the struggles of starting a new, entirely local company, and gives viewers a glimpse at the real lives of American farmers at a crossroads.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Do Something Reel Film Festival,” said co-director Jason Mann . “We’ve spent several years with these hard-working, tenacious farm families, and this festival offers us a tremendous opportunity to bring their story to the whole country.”

“Betting The Farm” is the first feature documentary by Pingree and Mann.

Do Something Reel, which kicked off on Earth Day 2012, is an ongoing collection of provocative films about food and environmental issues that can be purchased and streamed on various digital platforms. The festival was formed in partnership with FilmBuff and is presented in association with Applegate Organic & Natural Meat, Earthbound Farm Organic, Popcorn Indiana and siggi’s.

VIDEO: Check out the MOO Milk enterpreneurs.


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