90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Surprisingly Colorful History Of Milk

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook

“Got milk?” What the history of milk tells us about our society.

Elsie the Cow, Borden's celebrity spokescow in Lakeland, Fla. (PRNewsFoto/Borden Dairy Company)

Elsie the Cow, Borden's celebrity spokescow in Lakeland, Fla. (PRNewsFoto/Borden Dairy Company)

For all humans, for all mammals, it is the first food. And milk for many of our ancestors was not just a central part of their diet, but a scared symbol of sustenance.

The history of milk holds within it the story of how human societies and economies have evolved.

In the agrarian days, we drank milk from animals we ourselves raised. Now, milk is produced and processed by industrial corporations, and the family farmers who sell raw milk and make cheese have to compete with agribusiness rivals.

This hour On Point: What the story of milk says about who we are and what we’ve become.

-Tom Gjelten

Guests:

Deborah Valenze, professor of History at Barnard College, and author of “Milk: A Local And Global History.” You can find an excerpt of the book here (PDF).

Heather Paxson, professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She’s currently researching American artisanal cheesemakers. Her work explores how people grapple with changing socioeconomic conditions and new bioscientific knowledge.

Karl Klessig, farmer and owner of Saxon Homestead Farm and Creamery in Cleveland, Wisconsin.

More

Here are some photos from the milk hour today.

Deborah Valenze, author of “Milk: A Local And Global History,” in studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Deborah Valenze, author of “Milk: A Local And Global History,” in studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Heather Paxson, professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Heather Paxson, professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook this week On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook this week On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 24, 2014
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Silicon Valley pioneer and Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas holds up Blackphone with encryption apps displayed on it at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.  (AP)

We’ll look at privacy, security, and the battle heating up between intelligence agencies and tech companies that are moving to encrypt your communication.

Nov 24, 2014
Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Smashing the assumptions about what it’s really like to live in poverty in America.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments