VentnorBlog (or as our new guise On The Wight) is going to be working with the Island’s milk producers to help push this campaign forward. This in from Andrew Turner’s office, in their own words. Ed
The Garlic Festival which starts at Newchurch tomorrow will see the official launch of the new ‘I Love Island Milk‘ Campaign. Nationally dairy farming is in crisis with dairy farmers being paid less than the cost of production for milk.
On the Island the problem is exacerbated as production costs are higher due to cross-Solent transport costs for feed and milk.
Tesco only supermarket stocking Island milk
Many people assume they are buying local milk from Island supermarkets, but only around 20% of the milk we produce on the Island is sold here and Tesco is the only supermarket chain that sells milk produced and processed on the Isle of Wight.
The new local campaign was conceived following the National Milk Crisis Summit when a group of local dairy farmers travelled to Westminster and discussed the challenges they face with the Island’s MP Andrew Turner.
Join together for campaign
Local dairy farmers have subsequently met and enthusiastically agreed to get involved in a joint initiative supported by Mr Turner with the aim of encouraging Island residents and visitors to buy Isle of Wight produced milk and persuading local supermarkets to stock it.
Louise Hart, secretary of the new group, said: “We realise that to survive we need to work together and help ourselves. We have already received fantastic support from our local press, for instance Rachel at the Isle of Wight Beacon designed our logo free of charge and we are getting great coverage elsewhere.
“We have the backing of the National Farmers Union and some sponsorship from Genus, C&O tractors and Cedar Vets. We are grateful for all that support as well as the help we have had from our MP. News of the campaign has been getting around and even before the official launch I have heard that sales of Island milk in Tesco have increased. We have also had interest from another Island supermarket in stocking Island milk which we are following up.”
Launch at Garlic Festival
Louise went on to say, “The Garlic Festival, with its strong tradition of supporting local produce, is the ideal place to launch this campaign and dairy farmers will be on hand throughout the weekend to explain how buying Island milk protects and preserves our beautiful and unique Island landscape.
“We will also be giving away free milk for people to try and asking them to sign our petition and take away a leaflet which they can hand in to their local supermarket when they go shopping. The Island is the only place that can supply Island milk – we must let people know that. The campaign will develop over the coming months so please support us.
Mr Turner added, “To me it seems completely barmy for Island milk to be shipped over to the mainland crossing with other milk being brought to the Island. The Island produces around 20 million litres of milk and Island residents and visitors consume 35 million litres annually and we have the capacity to process locally all the milk the Island produces.
In order for this initiative to work we need to persuade the supermarkets to stock local milk and the public to buy it – supporting Island people and our local economy. I am delighted to be involved with this campaign.”