Rhody Fresh: A homegrown tale

Do you know where your milk is produced? The Rhode Island Dairy Farmers Cooperative sought to address this simple question more than ten years ago. With the costs of running a farm on the rise, many farmers were considering selling their properties to large corporate farms or real estate developers. A group of five farmers created the Rhode Island Dairy Farmers Cooperative to face this challenge by offering Rhode Island's farmers an opportunity to sell their own branded milk and dairy products to local markets.

With grants from the Rhode Island Foundation, the Co-op launched Rhody Fresh in 2004. The Co-op's ambitious goal was to feature their products in 75 supermarkets; within four months, Rhody Fresh milk products were on the shelves of 90 stores throughout the state. This strong response coupled with high consumer demand quickly proved challenging for the Co-op's existing business operations, and the Foundation was able to provide support for the Co-op to meet those challenges.

Rhody Fresh created a ripple effect within farming communities of Rhode Island by proving that Rhode Islanders wanted and supported locally-made, fresh products. It gave new hope to struggling farmers and fishermen as they began to see the significance of branding agricultural products that are produced locally. It is no coincidence that we've seen an increase in the past decade of local meat and cheese production, seafood (like Rhode Island Quahogs), and locally-made products like heritage blankets made of surplus sheep's wool.

Today, Rhody Fresh continues to build a strong presence throughout Rhode Island and has grown to include eight dairy farms. They have expanded their product line beyond milk to include flavored milks, artisan cheeses, half and half, heavy and light creams, and butter. With products now in hundreds of Rhode Island stores, school lunch programs, and university cafeterias, Rhody Fresh is an obvious success.

Address

One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903
Directions

Contact

(401) 274-4564
info@rifoundation.org

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