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Vermont Department of Corrections and Agency of Agriculture Partner to Bring Fresh, Local Milk to Vermont Correctional Facilities

Waterbury, VT – The Vermont Department of Corrections and Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) are partnering to bring local and regional milk to all six Vermont correctional facilities.  

Milk is currently served in all correctional facilities, but in recent years most sites have carried only powdered milk. Fresh, local milk will provide individuals incarcerated in Vermont with the full nutritional benefits and taste of Vermont dairy, while also supporting Vermont’s agricultural economy.

“A person’s health and wellness is impacted by everything from medical care to the beverage you drink with breakfast each day,” said Nicholas Deml, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. “Providing fresh, local milk, creates a more dignified dining experience and healthy offering for the individuals in our care and custody while also supporting Vermont’s dairy industry.”

VAAFM is providing the Department with $15,000 for refrigeration equipment as several facilities require additional refrigeration capacity to start serving fluid milk. Funding for the refrigeration equipment comes from Vermont Dairy Farmers through a dairy promotion checkoff program.

“Milk is a nutritious beverage that is loaded with protein, minerals and vitamins. It is great to see real milk will be served in Vermont correctional facilities. Thank you to the dairy farmers of Vermont for supporting this project and the Department of Corrections for investing in our dairy farmers,” said Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of VAAFM.

Two of Vermont’s six correctional facilities already made the transition to local and regional milk. Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility was the first facility to provide fluid milk in 2019, prompted by strong support from the Legislature’s Women’s Caucus. Representative Carol Ode, a member of the Caucus, was a key facilitator of the effort.

“When the Women’s Legislative Caucus visited the Women’s Correctional Facility a few years ago, we identified fresh milk as a priority and, although a small change, one that could make a big difference,” said Representative Ode. “Secretary Tebbetts immediately went to work, and the result is better health for all those incarcerated and a further expanded market for local Vermont dairy. This story is an example of what Vermonters can do when we listen to each other and when we work together.”