Conversations with Dairy Checkoff: Community Outreach in Detroit

On this month’s edition of “Conversations with Dairy Checkoff,” we’re joined by Aaron Scott, community transformation manager with United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM).

Aaron, UDIM works to be a credible source of dairy nutrition information for consumers throughout the state. What are some of the outreach programs underway to connect with current consumers and future milk drinkers, especially there in southeast Michigan?

Yes, absolutely. We’re partnered also with the Detroit Lions Academy, which is the K-12 school, and we have provided dairy products for their food pantry program. So it allows not only the students of the Detroit Lions Academy to be able to have access to dairy products, but also the community in and around the school.

It’s been an amazing project that we started with them, which is, yes, the Detroit Lions Academy as a school, but also with the Detroit Lions. We also have had a great opportunity to expand our chocolate milk grants throughout Southeast Michigan, mainly in our schools in the city of Detroit, where I currently am assisting with our sports teams. Our teams have access to apply for a chocolate milk grant so that the student athletes can have access to chocolate milk post-workout or post-training session, even post-games.

This summer, we had an opportunity to participate in the coaches symposium in the city of Detroit, where we helped coaches understand the importance of dairy nutrition education, and how it would help their student-athlete programs at their school.

Aaron, can you share some examples of how these events have affected or reached some of the participants?

One of the things that it has been able to do is provide dairy nutrition education, not only to our students, our student-athletes, but also our students inside the entire school. Just from various events that we’ve been able to participate in throughout the city of Detroit, now we’re getting people in the community who now have access to this education tool, as well, at our events.

One of the things that really has been standing out a lot lately is our sports nutrition manual that we have access to. Sometimes, it’s just our coaches get it, but now our athletic directors are receiving it. Some principals have it. So our message, our dairy nutrition message is being spread throughout the entire school, which is a huge win for all of us, so then we can all be on the same page of just knowing the importance of dairy.

Now, Aaron, you probably didn’t know this about me, but I’ve got some insiders inside of UDIM and they tell me that one of your favorite mottos is, “Stay consistent with what you do.” Can you tell me more about that and how it reflects in your efforts there in Detroit?

Yes, absolutely. It was a message that stuck with me since I started with UDIM close to seven years ago, when I was brought on. And I wanted to make sure that not only our student-athletes, not only our teachers, but also the community in the city of Detroit knew that we were going to be consistent with our message, consistent with the education that we will bring into our students, but also being consistent and knowing that we were providing them with good dairy nutrition education, but also allow them to have a better understanding of what type of products that they can have in their house that will provide good nutrition.

So just staying consistent—it just sticks out to me because I know our dairy farmers are consistent in the work that they do. And I just wanted them to know that we are also consistent in the work that we do here in the city of Detroit.

Aaron, how can farmers learn more about these consumer-facing efforts and help promote dairy in Detroit and in their local communities?

They can definitely go onto our website, They can feel free to call our office and speak to Jolene, and if there’s anything that I can do, please feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks to Aaron Scott, community transformation manager with United Dairy Industry of Michigan, for talking with us in this edition of “Conversations with Dairy Checkoff.” Hear the story in the media player below, and learn more about UDIM and their activities at

Michigan Ag Today
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