Is It the Return of the Milkman?

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Is It the Return of the Milkman?
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Is It the Return of the Milkman?

The South Mountain Creamery has managed to deliver its dairy, meat, eggs and bread locally with the use of technology, proving that it is possible to be sustainable in today's food world.

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South Mountain Creamery delivers to an average of 7,000 households.

Image Credit: Facebook via South Mountain Creamery

Just like the old-fashioned milk man, South Mountain Creamery likes its customers to reuse their glass milk bottles.

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The products are fresh, really fresh. Items are delivered within 24 hours of being produced, according to General Manager Peter Lee.

Image Credit: Facebook via South Mountain Creamery

South Mountain Creamery practices sustainability through solar and wind power. They plan to use a geothermal system to heat the sick cow barn and Biodiesel for their delivery trucks.

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The milkman has been making a comeback all over America. Smith Brothers Farms in Kent, Washington delivers to 40,000 customers.

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Even an urban center like Manhattan now has milk delivery options, such as Manhattan Milk.

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According to The New York Times sustainable practices -- like ones that South Mountain Creamery utilize -- can actually feed the world and produce healthier food than what we currently consume.

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The goal of sustainable farming is to consider the health of the environment while making a profit.

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Polyface Farms in Shenandoah, Virginia follows the patterns that nature has created. They rotate the grazing of animals in a way to both enhance the soil and feed all the livestock in a symbiotic manner.

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Agriculture is the largest employer in the world, employing 40 percent of the global population.

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If you don't live near one of these farms, consider growing your own garden. Growing your own garden is one of the easiest ways to obtain fresh produce. By simply avoiding chemical fertilizers, minding your water usage and other basic ecological guidelines, you too can become a sustainable gardener!

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Did you know that managing an organic farm requires 2.5 times more labor than a conventional farm, but results in 10 times the profit?

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It’s easy to search for the closest farms to your hometown. GrowFood and FoodRoutes can help you determine where to find the freshest produce in your neighborhood.

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The milkman only began to fade into obscurity after World War II, when people began living in more urban areas and getting their own food from grocery stores. Now he's making a comeback!

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Nine out of ten glasses of milk come from cows, but there are other animals that make equally as nutritious and delicious dairy products. Sheep and goats milks are popular and make delicious cheese, but did you know that you can drink water buffalo, yak, reindeer and even camel milk? Camel milk can even last in the desert without refrigeration for up to seven days.

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It's true that the milkman delivers an abundance of calcium and other nutrients, but you can maintain a dairy-free diet filled with calcium. One cup of canned pinto beans has 103 milligrams and half a cup of dried figs has about 121 milligrams of calcium. Even greens like kale can have calcium too, about 94 milligrams in one cooked cup of kale!

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Lactose intolerant individuals don't need to feel left out of the milk delivery trend. The first ever almond milk delivery service provides raw almond milk to Los Angles County. While Soy Hound delivers soymilk to New Yorkers in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Besides soy and almond, other alternatives to cow milk include rice milk, buffalo milk, oat milk, coconut milk and cashew nut milk.

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Even though the consumption of milk has been declining in America, yogurt seems to be on the rise. Could the future of the dairy industry include a yogurt delivery man?

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In Middleton, Maryland, the milkman isn't a nostalgic figure of the past.

However, the delivery service of South Mountain Creamery is anything, but traditional. While the farm provides a delivery service of dairy, meat, eggs and bread to about 7,000 households, to accommodate growing demand, South Mountain Creamery has implemented robots to milk the cows and has created its own software to map supply routes.

This is a great example of technology working symbiotically with the farm-to-table movement. The products go out immediately after they are fetched. General Manager Peter Lee explains to The Washington Post, "The cooler that's full [of milk] today will be cleaned out tonight at 12:15. The milk is not 24 hours old. It doesn't get fresher than that. The eggs are pulled today, and they go out tomorrow."

This process evokes the days when most food came from local venders, products weren't shipped all around the world and seasonal produce wasn't available all year round. The enthusiasm and success surrounding South Mountain Creamery suggests a general attitudinal shift toward conscientious food consumption. Consumers have grown more environmentally conscious, more interested in food quality and more in tune with the origins of products.

Currently, South Mountain Creamery ships its products to homes in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Virginia and D.C. The task takes 25 trucks to navigate 80 routes. When Google Maps proved imprecise, the truck drivers began using software called Roadnet, which generates a map based on delivery stops. If a customer cancels or changes his order, the Roadnet software adjusts the delivery map.

Lee explains that this more precise form of navigation has helped to decrease their gasoline consumption. Roadnet hopes to provide each driver with MobileCast, another of its products, which via tablet will allow for real-time information on traffic and delivery changes. This could replace the farm's paper-based system for a greener process.

This promising company demonstrates that technology can complement a movement toward locally grown food. The milkman is making a comeback!

Check out the slideshow above for more facts about farm sustainability and the dairy industry.

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