Milk vending machine praised for reconnecting public with farmers

Customers will be able to see the cows which produce their milk grazing in the surrounding fields
Customers will be able to see the cows which produce their milk grazing in the surrounding fields

A milk vending machine has been installed in a Devon village in an effort to reconnect the public with farmers and cut down on waste.

The farm behind the idea, Clinton Dairy, said it wants to reconnect the consumer with their food and where it comes from.

The East Devon dairy business set up the 24/7 machine at the Otterton Mill visitor centre, just over one mile away from the farm.

Customers using the machine, which is refilled with milk daily, are able to see the cows which produce their milk grazing in the surrounding fields along the River Otter.



Farmers usually sell their milk to dairy companies which is then transported, often many miles away, for processing at regional pasteurising depots.

But the milk supplying the vending machines boasts just little over one 'food mile' – the distance food has to travel between source and destination.



Barney Tremaine, of Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, which owns the farm, said: “We wanted to give local people the opportunity to buy our fresh organic milk produced only hours before.

“By cutting out the middle man and reducing food miles, the milk will be as environmentally friendly at it gets and raise the profile of organic farming, which prioritises animal welfare.”

The refrigerated vending machine holds 100 litres of whole milk and is fitted with a cash and card payment facility.

Each litre of milk costs £1.50 and customers can purchase a re-useable, recyclable glass bottle for £2.50, or bring their own bottles, so customers will also be helping fight the war against single-use plastic.

The milk vending machine aims to bridge the gap between cows and consumers
The milk vending machine aims to bridge the gap between cows and consumers

Demand will determine how often the vending machine needs refilling and whether more are installed at other locations.

And, upholding a zero-waste policy, any leftover milk will be fed back to the calves.

Chris Wright, co-owner of Otterton Mill, said: “These machines provide a sustainable way to buy locally produced milk, so it dovetails with our own ethos.



“Visitors will be able to go for a walk past the cows which have produced their pints of milk, so in a world where we all need to do our bit, selling milk in this way is a really positive contribution.”

Elsewhere in the UK, a mobile milk vending machine made from a converted horse box tours the Yorkshire Dales to provide the public with fresh, local milk.

The vending machine sits inside 'The Home Farm Dairy Barn' - a horse trailer specially converted into a mobile shop.