Since 2001, World Milk Day has been observed by the United Nations on June 1st. It was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN to mark the importance of dairy. World Milk Day focuses on raising public awareness about the importance of milk as part of a healthy and balanced diet and as an agricultural product – in other words, with the perspective of a consumer and also with the perspective of a producer.
This may seem like a minor nuance, but considering both of these points of view when thinking about the value of milk is incredibly important, because in addition to providing essential nutrients to billions of consumers, milk and dairy products also support the livelihoods of over a billion people worldwide. The same glass of milk that refreshes and nourishes a child at a school feeding program also supports the economic stability and physical health of a dairy farmer’s family. In this way, milk, like other highly nutritious agricultural products, contributes to a healthy and sustainable food system at multiple levels.
Last year, World Milk Day was celebrated in over 80 countries. Some of my favorite activities from 2017 included the inauguration of a milk chilling center in Sri Lanka, a cooking contest in Nigeria, an exercise session attended by over 5,000 people in Singapore, and milk-powered football matches in Myanmar. These were in addition to family meals, farm visits, fun runs, distributions of milk in schools, seminars, and hundreds of other events. I am blown away by the creativity that people all across the world, starting at sunrise in New Zealand and wrapping up at sunset in Hawaii, showed last year in the name of celebrating milk. It’s not often that we get to truly feel that the world is coming together to champion a great cause, but World Milk Day is one of those opportunities, and I look forward to it each year for that reason.
Whether you are a fifth-generation dairy farmer or a young person exploring innovations in dairy, a self-declared connoisseur of ice cream or a taker of cream in your coffee, a lover of aged cheeses or an adventurous home cook busy stretching your own mozzarella, World Milk Day exists for you. We invite you to raise a glass to celebrate the benefits of milk in your life and celebrate the impact that it can have on other’s lives.
You can do this by joining the Raise A Glass social media campaign, which last year took social media by storm, with over 400 million social media impressions on June 1st. If you want to go a step further, you can join the ranks of creative event organizers and put together your own event this year! If you are inspired to organize an event, I encourage you to register it on www.worldmilkday.org, so that the World Milk Day team, who will be working hard over the next month to promote World Milk Day, can provide support to help you expand your own reach.
When we raise a glass to milk, we connect with others and invite them to join the celebration that the World Milk Day represents. It allows us to share the stories about the goodness of milk and of the people who produce it. It offers a simple, natural way to recognize the people who matter most to us in our communities, schools, and homes. I hope that you will join the movement!
How can I share my World Milk Day event with the rest of the world?
- Register your event at www.worldmilkday.org.
- Use the Twitter hashtags #WorldMilkDay and #RaiseAGlass
- Capture images of your event: Take pictures of people drinking milk and raising their glasses and post them on your social media platform of choice with #WorldMilkDay.