Curds + Kindness program feeds hungry with surplus dairy products

With the COVID-19 pandemic extending another month, Dairy West is launching a Curds + Kindness program that will direct surplus, nutrient-rich dairy products to those who are hungry and unable to afford groceries throughout Utah and Idaho.


“Dairy farmers want to get dairy foods into the homes of those who need them most,” said Kristi Spence, Dairy West’s senior vice president of marketing. “Because much of our local dairy foods are used in restaurants, schools and hotels, current restrictions have caused a milk surplus.


“By working with community partners, dairy companies have devised a mutually beneficial solution that each week will direct nearly 200,000 gallons of milk that would have otherwise been disposed.”


Dairy processing plants, which convert milk into dairy products, will transform milk into cheese, butter and other needed dairy foods, instead of discarding the excess.


“In an unprecedented collaboration with dairy farmers, dairy companies and local community partners, we have generated a solution that will get significant quantities of consumable dairy products to those in need,” Spence said.


Curds + Kindness will continue at least through the end of May for the nearly 5 million residents of Utah and Idaho.


“We are constantly discussing solutions to help us all, and since agriculture, including dairy farming, is at the core of our region and local economies and provides sustenance for all of us, we will continue search for ways to provide relief through this crisis,” she said. “Through a collaboration with Utah and Idaho food banks and some local school districts, dairy products will be made available at existing sites across the two states that we serve.”


This opportunity has shown how unified our dairy and broader agriculture community can be. “We have been truly humbled by the rapid support and implementation of this program and sheer amount of dairy foods that we look to move through the Curds + Kindness initiative,” said Karianne Fallow, CEO of Dairy West. “It is a testament of the power we have when we work together to solve problems and make an impact.”


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    What is Curds + Kindness?

    Curds + Kindness is a concept that Dairy West has proposed to help feed local communities and support dairy farmers. Put very simply, our aim is to save milk from being discarded and feed a growing number of hungry people.

    How does the program work?

    We have worked closely with our local dairy processing community to identified plants in the region who have capacity to take on additional milk or cream and package it for personal consumption (1-5lb increments of dairy products). Dairy West will be purchasing this product and working directly with Idaho and Utah Food Banks to distribute the product through their existing network of feeding sites.

    Who is involved?

    The list continues to grow! Currently local processing plants (dairy food manufacturers), retail chains, and allied industry partners are involved in this initiative.

    • Gossner Foods
    • The Creamery (Dairy Farmers of America)
    • Beehive Cheese
    • High Desert Milk
    • Idaho Milk Products
    • Dannon Yogurt
    • Sorrento Lactalis
    • Magic Valley Quality Milk Products
    • Innovative Food Solutions
    • Valley Wide Country Stores
    • Chobani
    • Heber Valley Artisan Cheese
    • Cargill Animal Nutrition
    • Think Shift

    How can I get involved?

    Contact us? Here’s who to reach out to:

    Processor or Marketing – Kristi Spence

    Food Bank / Retailer – Jenn Nelson

    Allied Industry – Karianne Fallow

    Program Stats:

    As of May 8th

    • 141,120lbs Swiss Cheese
    • 59,675lbs Cheese Curd
    • 99,360lbs Butter
    • 65,733lbs Yogurt

    Where can I find the product?

    We are working with Utah and Idaho Food Banks to deliver product through their existing network of feeding sites.

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