Organic Valley’s $5.9 Million
Green Design Headquarters Nears Completion
By Molly Gaines
Organic Valley will celebrate the nation’s family farmer and rural America when it moves into its new, $5.9 million “green” design headquarters in late July 2004. Located in the Village of LaFarge, Wisc., Organic Valley, is the nation’s largest 100 percent farmer-owned organic cooperative and proudly the only independent national organic dairy in the United States.
“Organic Valley’s new home, with its barn motif, symbolizes our deep-rooted commitment to fighting for family farming and the vitality of rural America,” said George Siemon, Organic Valley’s CEO and founding farmer. “We’ve made a conscious decision to stay in rural Wisconsin for the long haul. We’re passionately committed to helping revive rural communities and saving family farms through organic, sustainable agriculture.”
The cooperative’s new 49,210 square-foot building features state-of-the-art energy efficiencies and a “green” design including an energy recovery system that swaps cool and warm air within the building; day lighting that uses natural light to reduce the need for electric lighting; and solar-powered parking lot lights.
Various recycled materials, sourced from local businesses, are incorporated into the structure. The building’s frame incorporates recycled steel and fly ash, a by-product of aluminum casting, which is used for the drywall. Insulation is made with recycled cloth, similar to the material used for blue jeans.
The new headquarters is expected to bring increased economic strength to rural Wisconsin, which has been hard-hit in recent years by the loss of family farms. The cooperative is now actively recruiting new employees to its headquarters and expects to have 180 employees when the new building opens. The building will accommodate up to 250 employees. In their new home, Organic Valley employees will have a locker room with showers; a mile-long nature path circling the 36-acre property; and an alternative transportation system — green bikes. The new cafeteria will serve all organic foods.
Overlooking the rolling hills of Kickapoo Valley, the new building is nestled against the Kickapoo Reserve — 8,600 acres that is home to diverse wildlife and a popular spot for outdoor recreation.
“The Village of LaFarge is eternally grateful to the farmers of Organic Valley for their long-term investment in our community,” said Steve Donovan, president of the Village of LaFarge. “The cooperative is a powerful role model for other businesses, demonstrating how an investment in rural America is an investment in our whole nation’s health, economy, communities, schools, families and the environment.”
Organic Valley: Where Nature is Our Teacher
Organized 15 years ago, the Organic Valley cooperative today is made up of 633 organic farmers in 16 states. It’s the only national organic brand that is 100-percent farmer-owned and proudly the only independent national organic dairy in the United States. In 2003, sales totaled $156 million, a 25 percent jump over 2002. Last year the cooperative also brought 118 more farms into the organization; added 20,000 acres to the organic farmland system; and added 2,675 organically- raised cows.
Stewards of the earth who use nature as their teachers, Organic Valley farmers produce 130 delicious organic products. Look for their organic milk, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce, juice and meats in food co-ops, natural foods stores and supermarkets throughout the country.
For further information, contact Organic Valley, 507 West Main Street, LaFarge
WI 54639, call (608) 625-2602, or visit
ORGANIC VALLEY BUS
Organic Valley’s groovy bus has been in the family for some time, but has just recently been repainted. The bus is powered by biodiesel fuel and the independent spirit of Organic Valley’s 633 family farms.
Driven by Ellen Ferwerda, a certified natural chef with a degree in Experiential Education, the bus will be visiting natural food stores, co-ops, community events and festivals throughout Northern California.
The Organic Valley Bus will offer kid’s activities, entertainment, education about organics and organic farming, Organic Valley product samples, coupons and recipes to people at community events and store locations.
At press time, the bus schedule was unavailable, so for more information, please go to www.organicvalley.coop
Return to the July/August Index page