Larry Chetcuti of Parksville fills a bottle of milk at the Morningstar Farm dispenser, with help from Morningstar’s Kathy Linwall, at left, on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. (J.R. Rardon photo)

Editorial: Cowichan should have a milk dispenser

This is an exciting step towards a more sustainable food movement.

It’s a really cool idea.

Morningstar Farm in Parksville has installed the very first milk dispenser in B.C. at its farm market. It’s an idea we think deserves to be replicated across the province, but we’d certainly like to see one (or more) show up in the Cowichan Valley.

The idea is that people pay a one-time fee for glass milk bottles ($4), then have the chance to refill them from the dispenser (for a charge). This eliminates the cardboard or plastic milk jugs we all take home on a regular basis. And while these jugs do go in the recycling, think how much less waste we could have with glass bottles, which would need replacement far less frequently. Think of the reduction in cardboard and plastic before it’s even made.

This is an exciting step towards a more sustainable food movement. And would directly benefit our local farmers.

The Cowichan Valley is a premiere spot on Vancouver Island for dairy farming. We’d love to see one or more of these farms set up a similar refill station; perhaps a partnership with one of the Valley’s farm markets would facilitate the process.

It’s really moving back to an old idea. It wasn’t so long ago that milkmen did runs through neighbourhoods, picking up people’s empty bottles and leaving newly filled ones in return. Columnist T.W. Paterson wrote about remembering the clink of the milk bottles in his Wednesday column and mentioning Morningstar’s exciting new venture.

We think it could really take off in Cowichan. The Valley is already on the cutting edge when it comes to being a growing destination for specialty farms and foodies.

We have everything from some of the best wines in the world to fine dining, local sea salt to an asparagus farm. The Duncan Farmers Market is second to none on Saturday mornings.

A milk dispenser would be another step on the road.

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