How Cheese Can Help Fight Climate Change

In Vermont, small artisanal cheesemakers are working to make cheese regeneratively and renewably in order to help combat climate change. For these turophiles, cheese is more than a delectable provision and could be a solution to the warming climate—one that harkens back 11,000 years. As University of Vermont’s professor of nutrition and food science Paul Kindstedt explains, that was “the beginning of an extraordinarily moist, warm, stable human-friendly epoch in climate history that unleashed the power of agriculture and the full potential of our species, for better or for worse.” There were some significant climate and weather changes (for example, a temperature drop in 4000 BCE and flooding in Holland during the Medieval Warm Period) when dairying was heavily relied upon. Kindstedt continues, “Dairying and cheesemaking have repeatedly served as an irreplaceable fallback option for humanity to cope with climatic catastrophes.” This is partly because making cheese requires grass that grows easily while capturing carbon. At Shelburne Farms, for instance, the soil hasn’t been tilled since 1993, resulting in high levels of carbon in their land—which means it’s “stored” there, rather than being released as carbon dioxide. Learn more at Food52.

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