QUINCY, Mass. — Hannaford Supermarkets here has become the first major retailer to implement the Keep Local Farms initiative at its stores. Launched in September 2009 by a coalition of New England-area dairy cooperatives and promotion councils, Keep Local Farms helps raise funds for local Northeast dairy farmers, ensuring a local, fresh supply of milk, and providing customers with a way to support local dairy farmers and the local food networks they help to sustain.
“Hannaford enjoys strong relationships with local farms and local food producers through our Close to Home initiative. Consistent with this commitment, Hannaford is pleased to support Keep Local Farms,” Wendy Ward, local sourcing specialist for Hannaford, said in a release. “This program will help sustain local farmers, support the local economy and reduce our carbon footprint.”
Together with local dairy farmers, Hannaford launched the program in its 171 locations in New England and New York last week. The company plans to raise awareness of the initiative throughout their store network by offering promotional materials and giving shoppers opportunities to contribute to Keep Local Farms.
Keep Local Farms estimates that about two-thirds of the dairy farms that were operating in New England in 1990 have been shut down during the past 20 years. One goal of the program is to stem these losses, and educate shoppers about the benefits that New England's small dairies bring to the region.