The 2019–2020 fiscal year has been one of the most rewarding, unexpected and challenging years for Dairy Council of California. We started by celebrating 100 years of empowering stakeholders and educating children and families. We enjoyed many successes in the first three quarters of the year, working toward innovating the programs, resources and work we do in schools and communities throughout California, as well as ramping up to launch a new movement. Then, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses and schools to close and families to shelter in place, impacting everyone and creating change overnight. With many challenges to overcome, we also found new opportunities.
Despite having to move to remote work environments, Dairy Council of California staff quickly coordinated efforts and achieved impressive results. Some of these successes include expediting online access to existing educational resources and creating a webpage devoted to support educators; designing a dedicated landing page as a hub for students, parents, educators and the school community seeking free school meal sites; and innovating our popular Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies as virtual farm tours to support ag literacy in California and beyond. Behind the scenes work by staff builds on our rich legacy of empowering children and families to make nutritious foods, including milk and dairy, a part of their daily lives.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt lives, our country is also going through a period of civil unrest, which exacerbates existing mental, emotional, physical and financial health issues already felt by many families and communities. Along with our partners in health, education and foodservice, we understand disparities exist and that our most vulnerable populations—children, families, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and communities of color—are more adversely impacted by the uncertain and unprecedented challenges we face. This is why all of us at Dairy Council of California are committed to listening, learning more and doing our part to help reduce and eliminate disparities that exist in the areas of nutrition education, food insecurity and food access to improve the health and health outcomes of all children, families and communities.
Enclosed in this report is a summary of our successes and challenges in this past year. Dairy Council of California’s long-standing legacy of supporting community health through nutrition remains unwavering, and I am honored to lead the organization forward on behalf of California dairy farmers and processors. By leaning on our rich history and expertise as we embark on a new century, we can continue to innovate and expand our education outreach with new opportunities to elevate the health of children and families through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits, which include milk and dairy foods.
On behalf of all of us at Dairy Council of California, thank you for your ongoing support.
CEO, Dairy Council of California