Former dairy farmers switch to oat milk because they can’t face killing cows

Veganuary ambassadors Jay and Katja Wilde of Bradley Nook Farm in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, have launched a new organic oat drink subscription in the Midlands. To make this possible, Bradley Nook Farm partnered with Refarm’d, a start-up helping dairy farmers transition to plant-based beverage business.

Jay & Katja Wilde
Image Credit: Jay and Katja Wilde

The farm-fresh oat drink is now available to subscribers in select shops, cafés, and other venues in the Midlands. It is currently limited to 100 subscriptions and customers will be invited to give feedback to improve the offering.

Their switch to plant-based beverages has come at the perfect time. According to data from Specialty Food Magazine, non-dairy milk sales were up by 28.3% last year and 32% of British households are now buying plant-based milks.

A change of heart

Bradley Nook Farm shifted from traditional dairy farming to organic beef production in 1997, but in 2017, Jay Wilde decided this wasn’t enough. “At some point, I couldn’t stop seeing the animals as individuals,” he says. The farm’s transformation was the focus of the BAFTA-winning documentary 73 Cows.

“I just couldn’t send them to their death at the slaughterhouse any longer.”

Jay Wilde

The Wildes researched alternative, sustainable farming methods, and with help from The Vegan Society and Vegan Organic Network, they transferred much of their herd to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk. Instead of dairy farming, they were now planting crops.

Refarm’d – the future of farming?

Their business model wasn’t complete until Geraldine Starke, founder of Refarm’d, approached the Wildes with an innovative idea that was commercially viable and sustainable. Refarm’d helps dairy farmers repurpose their business into plant-based beverage production, using only organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Where possible, Refarm’d also work with farmers to convert farmland into animal sanctuaries, giving them the tools they need to transition from dairy production. “The dairy industry is struggling,” Starke says. “I believe that to help our farmers, we need to work with them and help them get out of this system.”

“We want to show what the future of farming could look like.”

Geraldine Starke, founder of Refarm’d

Bradley Nook Farm is only the first of Refarm’d’s partners in the UK to beta-launch their product. We can’t wait to see more dairy farmers get on board.

Jay & Katja Wilde
Image Credit: Jay and Katja Wilde

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