Illustration for article titled A Wisconsin creamery is giving away free milk in its “Kindness Cooler”
Photo: Sara Barraud (Getty Images)

It’s not a great time to be a farmer right now. Layoffs on the supply chain have caused an uptick in food waste, and we’ve seen reports of thousands of gallons of unbought milk getting unceremoniously dumped. And that’s within the context of an industry that was slumping pre-pandemic—dairy consumption has gone down about 40% since 1975. Introducing: The Kindness Cooler at Sassy Cow Creamery. The folks at Sassy Cow stuff a fridge full of free milk, available for anyone in their local community of Columbus, Wisconsin who needs it. The farm has been giving away up to 400 gallons per day since the end of March, and owner James Baerwolf says the fridge will stay stocked through the pandemic.

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“Growing food and feeding people is our whole life,” Baerwolf told CNN. “Farming isn’t just our job, it’s very near and dear to our hearts. As far as food shortages and people being hungry, we take that very seriously.” Yes, this is a feel-good story about a family in Wisconsin giving away free milk. Yes, this is exactly what we need in order to make it through another week of pandemic mania.

As nice as these guys are, it’s not entirely about Sassy Cow being more thoughtful than other dairy purveyors—it’s that they can safely distribute the product. Regulations prevent selling or donating unpasteurized milk. Luckily, this creamery has a small dairy plant on site, which allows them to pasteurize their dairy, which allows them to give it out for free. Raw milk is actually on the rise these days for its supposed health benefits (never mind that the process saves us from typhoid, cholera, and tuberculosis), though the FDA still discourages its consumption.

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If you’re in the Columbus, Wisconsin area and need some milk, Sassy Cow has your back. If you somehow have the ability to hand out surplus dairy and/or produce, let their generosity be an inspiration. We’re trying to get this trend going.

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