Agriculture, Climate, Supporting MALT

Straus Family Creamery’s Innovation in Sustainability

February 3, 2021

As communities throughout California continue to recover from another devastating fire season, and now face an uncharacteristically dry winter, concern over climate change is high. The effects of a changing climate are ever present — prolonged droughts that result in the loss of millions of trees, unmanaged grasslands that create excessive fire fuel and massive wildland fires that emit huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. All of these climate-related impacts on the land disrupt agriculture, highlighting the critical need for a local, diverse farming and food system.

Albert Straus, the son of MALT co-founder Ellen Straus, has focused on organic agriculture and sustainable food production for 27 years. The founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery, Albert converted his family farm to organic in 1994, becoming the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River. In the same year, he started the creamery, the first 100% certified organic creamery in the United States. In 2019, the creamery became the first in the world to receive TRUE®   Zero Waste Certification.

Albert grew up on his family’s farm in West Marin, and his parents, Ellen and Bill, were environmentalists, farmers and active community members. It was their passion and dedication to sustainable agriculture that influenced Albert’s life-long commitment to community and sustainability. He has always strived to create a sustainable organic farming model and food system that offers economic viability, promotes environmental stewardship and supports community resilience. To make this model successful, Albert has focused on innovative farming and pasture management practices on MALT-protected Straus Organic Dairy Farm — practices that improve soil health, increase carbon sequestration and create a positive environmental impact.

While working to create a sustainable farming model that can be replicated by dairy farmers throughout our region, Albert is also striving to reach another goal: net carbon neutrality on his farm.

We’re trying to create a sustainable farming model that is good for the planet while producing high-quality, healthy, organic food for our communities.

Albert Straus

The Next Generation

In 2019, Straus Family Creamery welcomed three new farming families to the Straus group of dairy farmers. Straus looks to these young families as part of the succession plan for the next generation of the sustainable organic farming community.

Welcoming new dairy farming families to the Straus Family Creamery community helps the company fulfill its mission to sustain family farms in Marin and Sonoma counties and revitalize rural communities. The creamery’s mission aligns closely with MALT’s vision to promote a thriving agricultural community in a healthy and diverse natural environment.

The Next Chapter

This year will bring another significant achievement for Straus Family Creamery. After 27 years of manufacturing in Marshall, the company will move its creamery to Rohnert Park. Innovative, sustainable production will remain consistent with its company history of doing business right. The move will also enable Straus Family Creamery to create new organic dairy products, and allow for new organic dairy farms to participate and provide more work-life balance for employees.

“I’m excited about the new creamery and how it will expand family farming and help revitalize our rural communities in Marin and Sonoma counties,” Albert said.

Want to learn more? Read Straus Family Creamery’s latest Sustainability Report, sign up for their monthly e-newsletter at strausfamilycreamery.com and join them on social media.

With every bottle returned Straus Family Creamery donates a percentage to MALT. In 2020 alone, the bottle return program raised $11,370 to benefit MALT’s work to protect farmland for farming.