Jos and Deanna Poland both have dairying roots that reach back to their grandparents on both sides. Jos is originally from Holland, and moved to Oregon in 1993 to start a dairy farm near Eugene. Deanna grew up on an Oregon dairy farm. The Polands moved to Madras, Ore. in 2005 to start an organic dairy because they wanted to have their cows out on pasture, as grazing was a common practice in Holland when Jos was growing up.
“We think grazing is much better for the cows, and less stressful on us,” Jos says. “The cows are healthy and their immune systems are strong because they’re outside all of the time,” according to Jos.
In addition, Jos also has a deep belief in the importance of soil health and its connection to cow health and ultimately human health. “You are what you eat,” he says. Deanna agrees, “If organic is good for the cows, it’s got to be great for us! We’ve put in an organic garden, and buy more organic products now,” she says.
Jos and Deanna have three children: seven-year-old son Johan and five-year old twins Maija and Maikel, who all help out on the farm.
The Polands were the recipients of Horizon’s 2008 National Quality Award, which recognizes the Horizon farmer who consistently delivers the highest quality organic milk of all Horizon family farms in a given year.
At Horizon Organic, we strongly believe that by choosing organic food and beverages, we’re making the best choices for our families and the planet. And it is for this reason that we’ve been a longtime supporter of The Organic Center, a leading research institute focused on the science and educational benefits of food and farming.
The Center’s research into the nutritional and health benefits of choosing organic has helped provide many of us organic shoppers with the information we need to make informed decisions about the food we feed our families. At Horizon, we’re grateful for this work and its role in supporting and advancing the organic community.
As a newly appointed member of The Center’s Board of Trustees, I’m looking forward to working with this groundbreaking organization to help guide its mission to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate these benefits to the public.
The Center’s work is incredibly important to continuing to grow the organic community and provide more organic choices to families. I’m proud to serve on The Center’s board and to support its commitment to organic research and education.
The 13th Annual Growing Gardens Community Plant Sale is this Saturday, April 13 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 1630 Hawthorne Ave. in Boulder.
Get a jump start on your early season garden with these cool weather, hardy plants:
Vegetable Starts: Over 10 varieties of lettuce, spinach, braising mix, arugula, kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage
Herb Starts: Sage, parsley, thyme, winter savory
Flower Starts: Pansies and violas
All proceeds benefit Growing Gardens’ programming. Support your community and go and grow organic!
Growing Gardens is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and provides opportunities for people to participate in urban agricultural programs. Find out more here: http://www.growinggardens.org/
Save the date for sales during the first three weekends in May for the rest of your organic gardening needs.
We, at Horizon Organic, believe that by choosing organic food and beverages, we are making the best choices for our families.
A recent report from the American Academic of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that choosing organic produce—even for just five days—can significantly lower traces of pesticides in children’s bloodstreams. And, by purchasing organic meat, families can reduce their exposure to drug-resistant bacteria. While the recent study points out many clear benefits of organics for growing children, especially from meat and produce, the researchers also question whether organic milk in particular is worth the cost. We, at Horizon Organic, are sure that it is.
The AAP report found that low-input farming styles, like organic farming, can produce milk with higher concentrations of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other recent research [Kummeling et al 2007] suggests that organic milk, which is produced without the use of added growth hormones and comes from cows not treated with antibiotics, may offer benefits for children in particular. A recent study [Palupi E et al. 2012] indicated that organic milk can contain higher levels of nutrients such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other fatty acids.
Many consumers choose organic milk for their families because it’s produced without antibiotics, without added growth hormones, without pesticides, without GMOs, and from cows that spend at least 120 days per year grazing on pasture.
In addition to the above benefits of organic milk, organic farming also has proven environmental advantages. This includes farming without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and other pollutants, while encouraging sustainable farming practices that contribute to the health of the land. In fact, Horizon Organic’s farming processes were responsible for removing 20 million pounds of synthetic pesticides from the environment in 2011 alone.
At Horizon Organic, we take great pride in providing consumers with a variety of organic dairy products that are good for people and the planet. As always, we encourage you to check out our website to learn more about our approach to organic farming and our products.
Kummeling I, Thijs C, Huber M. et al. Consumption of organic foods and risk of atopic disease during the first 2 years of life in the Netherlands. Br J Nutr. 2008 Mar;99(3):598-605. Epub 2007 Aug 29.
Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012.
Dr. Greene: The HOPE Scholarship, granted by Horizon Organic, is one way Horizon helps encourage young people to enter the field of organic agriculture. I’ve been privileged to be a part of the review team for the past five years. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of the applicants — if only on paper — and am impressed with their dedication to making the world a better place, starting with careers in organic dairy farming and farm-related fields.
Dr. Alan Greene
TGM: What are the most important qualities that you consider when reviewing each candidate’s application?
Dr. Greene: The students who apply for the HOPE Scholarship take time with their submissions. Clearly, they’ve given thought to the answers, but beyond that, they’ve spent years leading up to their application working in and around organic dairies. Each applicant paints a picture of him or herself that includes academic achievements, extracurricular activities, involvement in organic dairy-related activities, and what he or she wants to do after college.
When I review each candidate’s application I weigh all these factors and recommend candidates who have a proven track record, and a clear goal and personal passion for a future in organic agriculture.
TGM: What has impressed you the most about these students and their commitment to organic agriculture? (e.g., any stories, experience or background that has stood out to you)
Dr. Greene: I’ve been very impressed by the diversity of the applicants’ goals. Some are committed to using their education to follow in their parents’ footsteps and have the skills to better run their family dairy. Others want to be involved in everything from accounting to PR to veterinary medicine. To have a dynamic, growing organic farming community, we need a wide range of expertise, and I’m pleased that farm kids are coupling their career desires with organic farming.
TGM: Why do you think the HOPE Scholarship is important for building the next generation of organic leaders?
Dr. Greene: I believe the next generation has the ability to impact the spread of organic far more than my generation. They have seen both what conventional and organic farming practices can do. They are networked, articulate, and can influence their peers. They want to make a difference in the world. The HOPE Scholarship not only provides needed funding to attend college, but it also recognizes the accomplishments of these talented, hardworking students and empowers them to continue in the course they most want to take — toward a career in the organic movement. In our current economy, student debt is common for new college grads. Many of the students who apply for the HOPE Scholarship would have to take out (more) student loans if they didn’t receive this award. It can be difficult to go into farming with debt. The HOPE Scholarship makes it a little easier for these students to reach their goals of careers in the many facets of organic agriculture.
TGM: What advice would you give to other young students who are considering a career in organic agriculture?
Dr. Greene: If you want to change the world, a career in organic is a great way to do it! How our food is tended, harvested, packaged, shipped, and sold makes a profound difference to the health of people and the earth. Organic is a vital part of that healthy future.
According to this article from USA Today, more and more young people are getting into farming. An encouraging trend that’s especially relevant to our Horizon Organic brand, who today via its HOPE scholarship program, helped a few more youngsters start down the path toward a career in agriculture.
Open to children or grand children of Horizon Organic family farmers, the HOPE scholarship program was developed to help build the next generation of organic dairy leaders. Each year a prominent panel of organic and agricultural community experts review applicants and select the winners.
Since the program’s inception in 2007, Horizon has awarded 24 total scholarships.
Sierra Knight (Lisbon, N.Y.), age 18, is the daughter of Horizon producer Bradley Knight of Knight’s Meadow View Farm in Lisbon, N.Y. Sierra will attend St. Lawrence University where she plans to pursue a pre-veterinary program and a minor in biology with a goal of becoming a licensed veterinarian.
Mieke DeJong (Bonanza, Ore.), age 20, is the daughter of Horizon producers, Arie and Jenneke DeJong, who run the Windy Ridge in Bonanza, Ore. This is Mieke’s second HOPE Scholarship, and she will be attending Oregon State University to pursue an Agricultural Business degree.
Callie Brodt (Ferndale, Calif.), age 18, is the granddaughter of Horizon producer, Jim Walker, who runs the Walker Dairy in Ferndale, Calif. Callie plans to pursue an Agricultural Business degree from Chico State University
Ashlie Hardy (Farmington, Maine), age 18, is the daughter of Horizon producers, Henry and Teresa Hardy, who own Hardy Farm in Farmington, Maine. She plans to attend the Agricultural and Environmental Sciences program at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she will study Animal Science with a focus on dairy.
As the Nation’s leading organic dairy brand, we’re occasionally faced with criticism. It’s a responsibility that comes with our leadership position, it’s something we expect, and something we proudly and successfully defend ourselves against. However recently, it seems the criticism has shifted, and is now being directed toward the organic industry as a whole. This is unfortunate not only because it undermines consumer confidence in the USDA Organic Label, but the many farmers whose livelihoods are dedicated toward supplying organic foods as well.
We’ll be the first to admit that the organic industry isn’t perfect, but for the past 20 years it’s been one of the most regulated and scrutinized food production systems in the world. It’s converted millions of acres of farmland and kept many more millions of pounds of pesticides out of the environment. And a lot of that has to do with investments made by larger companies who’ve entered the category. To say that big corporations are corrupting the integrity of organic food is in our opinion, obtuse. The scale and financial support from these larger companies is exactly what’s needed to help grow the organic industry.
That growth of course hinges on our ability to meet consumer demand, but more importantly we need to work harder to create greater demand by offering new choices and opportunities for people to enter the organic category.
Four years ago we decided to offer milk drinkers another choice by introducing Horizon Organic milk plus DHA. To us, introducing DHA (a valuable nutrient that helps support the brain, heart and eyes) seemed like a no-brainer… more than 99 percent of all infant formula sold in the United States is supplemented with DHA. Our source of DHA is non-hexane extracted, non-GMO and does not deplete the world’s fisheries.
We figured, why not keep giving toddlers and kids an easy and nutritious way to get the DHA they need after they’ve moved off of infant formula, or better yet, breast milk? And the overwhelming popularity of our DHA-supplemented organic milk shows that consumers are voting in favor of that choice.
Despite its many benefits for people and the planet, and the steady growth of the market for organic foods over the past two decades, we need to remember that organic remains a very small part of the overall U.S. food market. The Organic Trade Association estimates there are only 4.6 million organic acres under cultivation in the U.S., out of more than 900 million acres of farmland. Our focus should be on growing that number, and working together to do so, rather than infighting that undermines consumer confidence.
In honor of Mother’s Day today, we wanted to share with you a little bit about how full-time mom and full-time Horizon Organic dairy farmer Jenneke DeJong balances five children and full-time organic dairy farming at her family’s 1,405-acre farm in Bonanza, Oregon.
Third-generation organic dairy farmers, Jenneke and her husband Arie don’t use pesticides or herbicides, and their dairy cows freely graze in the pasture and aren’t given hormones or antibiotics. Since 2004, they have been shipping organic milk to Horizon Organic.
All five of the family’s children help out on the farm, and Jenneke says they have all learned – and are still learning – to do every job, from feeding the calves and the cows, taking them out to pasture, helping with farm chores, and assisting with paperwork and bookkeeping and more.
Jenneke says this hands-on approach teaches her children a good work ethic and the most important values in life – integrity, honesty, teamwork, and problem-solving. “They grew up with the idea that everybody works together to get the job done, and get it done right,” she says. Jenneke thoroughly enjoys her job as a mother and an organic dairy farmer, and even more so, appreciates that she can share her livelihood with her family.
Happy Mother’s Day to Jenneke DeJong and all the other hardworking mother’s out there who inspire us daily.
Last week we received our annual (giant) bin of free compost from Eco-Cycle and A1 Organics, and a huge bundle of heirloom tomato plants from our friends at Growing Gardens. We actually helped make the compost through our on-site recycling and composting efforts (Check out more details here).
Gardening season at WhiteWave is officially on. Do you have a home garden? Tell us about in the comments below…
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