Adopt A Cow is a new initiative launched by a cooperative in the province of Belluno, northern Italy, to help struggling dairy farmers survive the economic hardship following months of lockdown. In return, adoptees receive fresh butter, milk and cheese.
Put simply, the idea is similar to that of dining bonds adopted by restaurants: buy a voucher at a discounted price to use the service whenever it becomes feasible. It's already been done by chefs Massino Bottura and Andrea Berton in Italy, and now also by this small cooperative, to which others have been added.
The coronavirus, and almost three months of forced closure, have had a far-reaching impact on the restaaurant industry, which go far beyond food itself.
Adopt a cow, and more ...
Small producers, who have long had to work hard to survive, struggled at the mercy of the lockdown, without farm visits, restaurant reservations or overnight stays on the farm. The result? Animals that still have to be treated in line with strict standards, and no product to sell.
Thus, to keep a territory rich in tradition alive requires constant sacrifices and total dedication. The Costalta cooperative has created an adopt-a-cow scheme, offering its products in three different formulas: 39 euros for a month, 209 euros for six months. and 409 euros for a whole year.
Other set ups have joined the project, like the Valsugana Tourist Board in Trentino, which allows you to choose your own cow with a picture and their name. The objective is always the same, to help small producers and to provide high-quality products on the tables of those who live in the city.
The initiative was received with great enthusiasm by consumers, but also by others, for example, La Porta dei Parchi, which had the idea of attracting interest in safeguarding the Italian territory by creating 'Adopt a Sheep'. The concept is the same, but the products change, and you can have increasingly sought-after sheep's cheeses in the refrigerator.
Even the organic farm Il Rosmarino has had its say, and with a few tens of euros you can adopt a purebred hen in exchange for up to 30 of its (really) organic eggs.
Perhaps this is what we will take away from these novelty projects - helping small producers and their animals, in order for us to have a healthier and more sustainable diet.