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Lifting the Lid

At Stonyfield, the Healthy Mission Came First, Yogurt Making Second

August 24, 2013 | Amy VanHaren

Stonyfield has a mission of providing healthy, organic food

We were working for healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet even before we became yogurt makers.

Gary and Sam posing for a picture back when they were running a small, nonprofit organic farm.Back in 1983, our co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg were running a nonprofit organic farming school on a small New Hampshire farm. They were on a mission to help family farms survive, keep food and food production healthy, and help protect the environment. But the school needed funding.

So they put the farm’s seven cows to work (and all the helping hands they could wrangle) and began selling really good yogurt made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Samuel and Gary did most of the work back then. They milked the cows, made the yogurt, and made sales calls and even deliveries.

The yogurt was a hit. A big one. And Samuel and Gary realized that a successful organic company could make a bigger difference for family farms, people, and the planet than their school could. So they decided to run with yogurt.

30-plus years later, and our mission is still healthy.

Today, Stonyfield's organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, frozen yogurts, milk and cream are sold in supermarkets, natural food stores and colleges across the country. And we make all of it without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics or GMOs.

We’re still located right here in New Hampshire—about 30 miles east of the old farm—but now our organic ingredient purchases support a huge network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows, and over 200,000 organic acres.

We’ve also pioneered planet-friendly business practices—from offsetting our yogurt works’ emissions, to making yogurt cups from plants instead of petroleum, to making our own renewable energy, and much more.

Our old organic farming school is just a memory. But the thought and passion that started it in the first place have only grown stronger, and we’ve never stopped working for healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet.

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