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ISSUE 118 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/11/2005

Getting deja moo

By Mary Sotos
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 11, 2005

This week, Bon Appétit switched their milk provider from Kemps to a company called deja moo. Deja moo, based in Bismarck, N.D., purchases milk from a group of local farmers who all ascribe to humane treatment of their animals. This means that the milk contains no growth hormones, no antibiotics, and comes from a herd no larger than 200 cows.

Eliminating growth hormones and antibiotics is healthier for the cows and for people who drink cow milk. Accountability is a closely related health concern as well. Hays Atkins, manager of Bon Appétit, said that larger companies who contract with and consolidate the shipments of a variety of dairies "simply can’t trace where a given glass of milk came from," or the quality of the producing farm.

With deja moo’s local scale, Bon Appétit can verify that the farms operate ethically and sustainably. Also, in buying from a neighboring Midwest state, St. Olaf supports more localized economies and reduces the pollution generated by extensive transportation and shipping.

Bon Appétit looks at this change as a chance to increase sustainability. "

This is just the beginning of what will hopefully be a larger trend to purchase locally and to support regional economies," Atkins said. The cost of these benefits amounts to four cents more per gallon, a marginal amount for St. Olaf.

This project has been a long time coming for Bon Appétit, having spent two years in the works. Deja moo in itself has had its ups and downs as a company. They have kept their selection of dairy products limited after having recently re-opened the business after closing due to financial problems. However, the support of a large buyer like St. Olaf has enabled the company to expand its range of offerings. While ice cream products at St. Olaf will still be Kemps, all the milk and butter in Stav Hall and the Cage will now be provided by deja moo.

"I really appreciate all the work Bon Appétit is doing to make St. Olaf more sustainable, and this milk change is a great part of that," Laura Stone '07 said.

Bon Appétit’s commitment to sustainability, termed the "Circle of Responsibility," includes a variety other measures.

The dish washing system in Stav Hall uses recycled "gray" water for primary rinsing, and excess cooking oil in the kitchens is converted to bio-diesel which other St. Olaf equipment can run on.

A recently acquired food composter will begin working later this spring, and Bon Appétit uses local meat whenever possible, designated in the station signs by the "Farm to Fork" sticker.

Elsa Kendig ’07 is excited about the change.

"This actualizes the ideas that students spend so much time reading about and discussing in classes," she said. "It shows the reality of what you can do with these ideas."

The milk change comes as a part of St. Olaf’s greater commitment to sustainability and a "green" campus, a commitment that is actively pursued in a number of venues.

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