Former dairy farmers with change of heart are now making oat milk
Two dairy farmers gone vegan from Ashbourne have pivoted to producing an organic plant-based and dairy-free oat milk
Two former dairy farmers from Ashbourne in the UK, have shown that it is possible to completely turn your life around – to go from participating in animal agriculture, to living a vegan compassionate life and producing plant-based alternatives, in this case, oat milk.
The oat milk in question, is produced by farmers Jay and Katja Wilde of Bradley Nook Farm in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Back in 2019, the Wilde’s inspiring story was the subject of BAFTA-winning documentary 73 Cows.
The farm shifted from conventional dairy to producing organic beef in 1997. Jay Wilde inherited the farm from his father in 2011, but in 2017, reached a point where he and his wife, Katja, could no longer bear taking their cows to slaughter.
Three years later, and the vegan stars of the film are still on the road of compassion, standing as proof that no matter how difficult it might seem, it is possible to move from producing dairy and meat, to instead, making vegan alternatives.
“At some point, I couldn’t stop seeing the animals as individuals,” says farmer Jay Wilde. “I just couldn’t send them to their death at the slaughterhouse any longer.”
Alternative methods of making a living, ideally in a sustainable manner, had to be found.
A New Life
With the help of The Vegan Society and the Manchester-based Vegan Organic Network, Jay and Katja transferred a large part of their herd to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk and started the process of transitioning to planting crops.
When Geraldine Starke, founder of Refarm’d, approached the Wildes with an idea on how to complement their new business model, a partnership quickly formed.
Refarm’d is a startup that assists dairy farmers in their transition to plant-based beverage production, using only organic and locally sourced ingredients.
The Wildes’ shift coincides with the rise in favour of plant-based milks, and the fall of dairy. In 2020, UK plant-based milk sales were up 28.3 per cent and 32 per cent of British households are now buying dairy-free milk, according to Specialty Food Magazine.
“The dairy industry is struggling. I believe that to help our farmers, we need to work with them and help them get out of this system. That’s what we at Refarm’d are trying to do,” says Starke.
“Our model is conceived such that farmers keep their identity, their dignity, their farm, and their animals while being self-sufficient. We want to show what the future of farming could look like.”
Bradley Nook Farm is the first of Refarm’d’s partners in the UK to beta-launch their farm-fresh oat milk. Availability is limited to 100 subscriptions and customers will be able to give feedback to help fine-tune the product.
The organic oat milk will be available to subscribers at select shops, cafés, and other venues in the Midlands, and will come stored in reusable glass bottles – like the dairy milk of old, but better.
What is Refarm’d?
Refarm’d is a startup working with farmers to make the transition from dairy farming to the production of plant-based drinks and, where possible, converting their farmland into animal sanctuaries.
Refarm’d offer a viable new opportunity for the farmers’ businesses by providing them with the tools they need to move away from the dairy trade.
The startup assists the former dairy farmers in sustainably and locally sourcing the ingredients to produce organic plant-based drinks directly on their farms.
For more information, visit en.refarmd.com