Dairy products are nutritional powerhouses. It’s a simple statement that is highly impactful when paired with dairy’s sustainability. This summer checkoff went to work in Minnesota, sharing dairy sustainable nutrition stories at different events, including the two below.
Midwest Dairy collaborated with two Dietetic Intern Directors from the University of Minnesota’s Public Health Graduate program and the Department of Food Science and Nutrition Dietetic Internship program to provide an on-farm experience. Thirteen interns, program directors, and a University Extension Specialist got the opportunity to experience Miron Dairy Farm in Hugo.
Showcasing Sustainable Farm Practices
This visit showcased dairy farmers’ commitment to animal care and sustainable practices on the farm to build trust and support their core learning competencies on sustainable food systems. The group was very engaged and asked many questions focusing on animal comfort and care, food safety, antibiotics, and on-farm practices, which resulted in a transparent dialogue with Fran and Andrew Miron.
On the bus ride back to campus, interns shared their key learnings and were provided flashcards with questions on sustainability and animal care to answer and share with the group. This provided additional discussion to enhance the learning experience.
Participant Survey Results
From the results of the pre-and post-surveys, participants walked away with a positive experience and a better understanding of animal care and sustainability practices on the farm. Some comments from the interns included, “Seeing a dairy farm is a valuable experience for anyone to truly get an understanding of where your food comes from without hearing the misconceptions that you commonly hear from the media,” and “In the nutrition and dietetics field, I think it’s important to see, learn about, and experience where our food comes from. This tour did a great job of providing this information about dairy production.”
After this experience, these interns and grad students were better equipped to share their personal dairy farm experience, better understand the food system’s complexity, and have an increased consumer trust in dairy as they head into their careers.
Minnesota Vikings Partnership
Midwest Dairy also partnered with the Minnesota Vikings for a short-term contract with an interactive booth. For five days at the Vikings training Camp held at the Twin City Orthopedics campus, this booth shared dairy nutrition and sustainability information targeting Generation Z youth and their parents.
The training camp is a family-centric event and averages over 3,800 fans per day. The spin wheel with 14 targeted questions on nutrition and sustainability engaged dialogue with Princess Kay, Dairy Ambassador Gracie Ash, intern Abby Foss, and Midwest Dairy staff. The dairy-themed prizes were also a big hit, and checkoff interfaced with over 3,000 people. There was also a fun photo booth with dairy and Vikings themed props, which included a contest element if attendees posted their picture on Instagram or Twitter. It is estimated that at least 75 groups per day took pictures with 25 postings on social media, reaching 2,150 people and an engagement of close to 400.
Many dairy farmers also attended as volunteers at the booth, eager to converse with consumers. Thank you to Michael and Sawyer Johnson, Connie and Nicole Donnay, Julie and Taryn Picht, Ashely and Cindy Swenson, Brandon Balzer, Shirley and Nathen Hulinsky, and Mary Watrin.