Student Blog: Milk with Dignity

Exploring the role of migrant workers in the dairy industry

On May Day, eight Putney students marched in Burlington for Milk with Dignity. It was organized by Migrant Justice, a group fighting for migrant dairy worker rights in Vermont. Around 250 people marched in solidarity with the workers, who were in front leading the parade. The protesters all chanted with enthusiasm: “Get up, get down, milk with dignity has come to town”.

Click here to see a video of the march.

I have been researching issues around migrant workers in Vermont’s dairy industry for almost a year. Putney has supported and allowed me to find various ways I could continue exploring the topic. With a senior exhibition, three project weeks and one independent course dedicated to my research, I continue to pursue my goal of raising awareness in the community and learning about a topic I am passionate about. I have worked at two dairy farms which allowed me to have an in-depth experience and see first-hand some of the issues migrant dairy workers are fighting for. I have also investigated where the school’s dairy products come from and how they influence our local community.

This experience has taught me how complex the issue is. We don’t realize how vulnerable migrant workers are and how essential they are to our economy. I’m organizing a panel this summer with people from all sides of the issue. I hope to raise awareness and start meaningful conversation, and hopefully see change, for these workers.

Read more about life at Putney through the eyes of our students.