In the heart of Australia’s Eastern Coast, vegan milk brand Milkadamia’s Jindilli farms are transforming the landscape of plant-based milk production through innovative regenerative farming practices. The brand aims to offer vegans and environmentally conscious consumers a sustainable alternative to dairy while championing soil health and biodiversity restoration.
Milkadamia’s journey began on the family-owned Jindilli farms in the Byron Bay region, where their macadamia nuts were originally cultivated and processed for various end-products such as decadent chocolate-covered macadamias and macadamia oil for skincare. Eventually, though, the family’s commitment to regenerative farming inspired a desire to create a unique and healthy macadamia milk.
Macadamias, known as the queen of nuts, became the focal point of Milkadamia’s offerings because of their rarity, premium quality, and rich nutritional profile.
“We always said Milkadamia is a ticket to a better future, so we can choose foods that nurture the earth, that rebuild our soils, that are grown by letting nature do what she knows best, and with care and flair,” Alexandra Newman, Milkadamia CEO, tells VegNews.
Vegan food using regenerative farming
Rooted in the belief that saving the Earth starts with saving the soil, Milkadamia intentionally employs methods that restore soil health, balance carbon levels, and support the earth as a living organism.
“When our brand was founded in the US about 10 years ago, it was clear to us that we needed to let the world know about regenerative farming that we’ve been practising in our small patch of the world, in our macadamia farms,” Newman says.
Back then, the family stumbled upon regenerative farming techniques that focused on using minimal resources and intervention by letting nature follow its course. It made sense to the family to treat the land and trees gently and invest in restoring the soil health.
“[Back] then, we called it lazy farming,” Newman says. “Now it has a name, and we firmly believe it is our calling as Milkadamia to amplify the story of this incredible crop that goes beyond sustainable.”
Free-range trees—a sustainable approach?
At the core of Milkadamia’s sustainable approach is “free-range trees.” Macadamias, native to the rainforests of Australia, thrive on Milkadamia’s farms without artificial irrigation. The brand emphasizes that these free-range trees receive water solely from rainfall, avoiding the exploitation of the earth’s precious resources.
“Our free-range trees get water falling from the sky only, not pumped from the earth or taken from rivers. The benefit is that the climate suits the tree, and the tree suits the climate, avoiding the exploitation of earth’s precious resources,” Newman says.
All this has made the global plant-based milk brand a welcome source for vegans and those looking to consume less dairy, turning to nature for nourishment and making dairy-free products more mainstream.
“Grown where they originated, our free-range trees are supporting life, not trees on life support,” Newman says.
Speaking against palm oil
Milkadamia doesn’t just offer a delicious and sustainable alternative to dairy, it also takes a vocal stance against ingredients with negative environmental impacts, such as palm oil. The brand believes in empowering consumers to make informed decisions, advocating for sustainable choices that preserve the earth’s delicate ecosystems.
“The Earth needs to breathe. The tropical forest is being destroyed at the rate of 300 football fields every hour for more palm oil plantations,” Newman says. “If you produce palm oil, you are removing the forest. This is unacceptable in our book.”
“There is no such thing as sustainable tropical forest destruction. We can do better, and we are doing so when we make mindful choices each time we shop.”
What’s next for Milkadamia?
As Milkadamia continues to gain recognition and love in the plant-based world, the brand remains committed to bringing meaningful innovation to consumers. In 2023, Milkadamia introduced the Coffee Latte and Milk Tea variants, offering dairy-free alternatives for iced coffee and tea enthusiasts.
In 2024, the brand plans to launch a shelf-stable Milkadamia Organic Artisan, its first organic macadamia milk, crafted with only a few ingredients.
“Our dream was also to become a billboard on every kitchen table as the non-dairy milk that offered a hopeful step forward for the future of our planet via gentle, regenerative farming,” Newman says.
As the brand expands its reach and product line, it continues to pave the way for a sustainable and nourishing future for consumers and the planet.