Organic Valley, a national cooperative of organic farmers and an organic brand, has announced a first-of-its-kind community partnership that will enable Organic Valley to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
“Our future demands bold, new thinking about our sources of energy, and there is nothing more natural to a farmer than harnessing the power of the sun and the wind,” said George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer of Organic Valley. “So our cooperative is committed to achieving 100 percent renewable power and doing it in partnership with the rural communities where we live and work.”
Organic Valley is collaborating with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG) and OneEnergy Renewables to create the new community solar partnership.
The electricity created by this partnership will enable the co-op to cover 100 percent of its electric energy needs from renewable sources by 2019. Organic Valley will purchase renewable energy credits from the solar projects near its headquarters and distribution center, enabling the cooperative to be fully renewably powered.
“Organic Valley was built on an environmental ethic promoting ecological and economic sustainability,” said Jonathan Reinbold, head of sustainability for Organic Valley. “As leaders in food and farming, it is our responsibility to pioneer change for good. Our hope is that this partnership to install community-scale solar will be replicated by municipal utilities around the country and propel more rural communities toward economic stability and energy independence.”
Organic Valley key sustainability achievements include:
- Pioneering organic production practices and helping create the National Organic Standards in 1990, which included specific criteria for livestock on pasture and were adopted by the organic industry.
- Keeping nearly 300 million pounds of persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers off the land since 1988.
- Lead the creation of Cashton Greens Wind Farm in 2012, a 5-megawatt community wind farm, the first-of-its-kind in Wisconsin, producing enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.
“To keep farmers on the land, you need to be good stewards of the land,” added Siemon. “Working in cooperation with nature has always been at the heart of our work, and we look forward to partnering with these rural communities to bring us all a stable source of renewable energy.”
Organic Valley was founded in 1988 by seven farm families with the mission of keeping farmers on the land. Today, Organic Valley represents more than 2,000 farmers in 36 states; converted over 40,000 acres of organic agricultural land and achieved over $1 billion in annual sales.
Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods including organic milk, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, soy and produce which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide.