When folks in Denmark wanted to point out the difference between organic milk production and conventional methods, they decided to let the cows themselves tell the story. That’s how “Organic Day” was born. It marks the beginning of the grazing season for organic dairy farms that are required to let their cows out on pasture from April to November. The event, organized by Organic Denmark, attracted about 10,000 visitors to the first celebration 10 years ago. This year, 247,00o people lined the pastures to watch the excited cows race down an alleyway and bounce, bellow and cavort in their first spring pastures.
It looks like this:
(And tablet readers, here’s your link.)
Hear all those happy people, the little kids giggling? Everyone’s having fun! And once the cows settle down to graze, the humans head over to the food tents. Maybe they buy some special cheese, or pick up some brochures that share a bit more of the story. And maybe it turns them into more educated consumers. As an example, one young mother attending the “dancing of the cows”, says she doesn’t always buy organic but tries to when it comes to milk. “I think I’ve actually been affected a little bit by this day,” she says. “When you see the cows and how good they have it, you have that in your thoughts when you’re shopping.”
Could You Do Something Like This?
If something as simple as cows going out onto pasture for the first time in the spring can become a major event, what other things do you do on a daily basis that might be really exciting to folks who don’t normally get to see it? What would you like people to know about how you raise food that you could show them instead of just tell them?
The New England Dairy Promotion Board runs similar events in New England for the same reasons as the folks in Denmark. In Brattleboro, Vermont, the annual Strolling of the Heifers, with an actual parade of heifers down the street, focuses on local food production in a really fun way. In Nebraska, the Switzer family ranch spreads the word about the importance of ranching to wildlife with bird watching tours of the ranch.
This is a chance to think outside the box. And then, because you’ve got plenty to do, why not run the ideas you come up with past your local organizations and supporters. They might be use the folks to organize a fun and informative event. Working together you can always get more done.
Tell us your ideas, or what you’re already doing. 40,000 On Pasture readers’ heads are certainly better than one. 🙂
I was very happy to see the cows kick up their heels to be free to graze naturally but was I the only one to notice how pitiful the grass looked? Some poor heifers were standing there thinking “Where’s the grass??”! Has the message of managed forage reached Europe? The pleasure I want to see is a cow wrapping it’s happy tongue around some tall grass 🙂
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