In response to COVID-19, Natural Upcycling is expanding beyond its regular anaerobic digestion operations to address the vast quantities of perfectly healthy milk being dumped on farms. By leveraging its logistics and distribution expertise and partnering with the Dairy Farmers of America, Natural Upcycling is launching its initial recovery project by rescuing 25,000 gallons of surplus milk in upstate New York and delivering it to food banks.
Natural Upcycling reports that in mid-May, they partnered with fellow Fund grantee FarmLink to amplify their milk donation efforts. They collected and processed 4,000 gallons of milk, which were then hauled to the River Fund in New York City –FarmLink donated 2,000 gallons and the trucking, which Natural Upcycling matched. Natural Upcycling is now working on a recurring weekly donation project with New York State Senator Jessica Ramos's district in Queens.
On June 1, Natural Upcycling hosted a drive-thru milk distribution event in partnership with the Livingston County Farm Bureau. Natural Upcycling donated the milk and event signage/security, and LC Farm Bureau arranged publicity and volunteers. Natural Upcycling reports that the turnout was tremendous for such a rural area, with more than 1,100 gallons of milk distributed. Many of the families who benefitted were first-time recipients – by distributing the milk closer to their communities outside of the major cities, Natural Upcycling was effectively able to achieve “last-mile” delivery.