The World Food Forum Joins I4Nature to Foster a More Sustainable Dairy Sector at Youth World Milk Day Event
On 1 June, 2022 the World Food Forum (WFF) partnered with I4NATURE to promote Youth World Milk Day with an online event that brought together young dairy farmers, dairy experts, students and activists to discuss paths forward to create a sustainable future for the dairy industry.
Milk is an important source of macronutrients for humans. Approximately 150 million households around the globe are engaged in milk production, and more than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and dairy products. As a large sector within our agrifood systems, it is vital that we combine efforts to promote sustainable adjustments to current dairy industry practices that will enable humans to continue benefiting from the healthy diets derived from milk while simultaneously supporting a healthy planet.
The online Youth World Milk Day event included discussions about the added value that young people have in improving the dairy sector. It was stressed that to promote a better future for the industry, it is necessary to incorporate young people’s insights into the current dairy systems and to promote innovation, technological advancement and sustainable production habits.
The event inspired young people to promote change by showing examples of innovative initiatives that are already taking place and through sharing the experiences of young dairy farmers from around the world who are fighting for sustainable change. Among the initiatives highlighted were Those Vegan Cowboys - a company that produces milk and cheese, with the same taste as cow dairy, but without the use of animals. The young dairy farmers who shared their experiences and insights into different parts of the dairy chain, such as camel and sheep milking, included Julie Bissonnette (Canada), Nikki Chaudhary (India), Sylvester Oshode (Xanda Farms, Nigeria), Yolene Goodijk (France), and Marije Klever, Marjolein de Kreij and Dorieke Goodijk (Camel Dairy Smits, the Netherlands).
The event also brought together private sector actors who illustrated their efforts in the future of sustainable dairy farming, such as the company Friesland Campina, who is working to strengthen farmers’ market position by collaborating with farmer cooperatives around the globe, and Lely, who is offering technological innovations and management systems to reduce the labor load of livestock farmers.
Wrapping up the event, Aya Mournir from the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences and Jack Keyes from the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association offered youth perspectives on the dilemma of animal and plant-based dairy products. They discussed the pros and cons of both sectors, including environmental factors, nutrition quality and production systems.
Xander Beks, who moderated the event live from a dairy farm concluded, “We believe that there is a future that's potential for young people can be unlocked and we need current leaders to work together to unlock this sustainable future.”
By sharing the experiences of people from around the globe, and their reflections on the dairy sector, the Youth World Milk Day event promoted a diversity of perspectives and was an important step forward in the reinforcement of sustainable change. It is important to raise awareness about the necessity of building a sustainable and enjoyable dairy market, which can be achieved by promoting planet positive transformations in our agrifood systems with the participation and direct engagement of young people.
The WFF, together with I4NATURE, would like to give special thanks to the speakers that made this event an insightful and meaningful experience for young people and leaders from all over the world who advocate for sustainable dairy.