Nourishing the body, SF Green Festival ’09

Photo by Amber Blankenship

Photo by Amber Blankenship

At the 8th annual Green Festival in San Francisco this year, I noticed that each company has its own approach to environmental sustainability.  Where one company’s focus lies in  sourcing the most natural ingredients for their product lines, others may also focus on social causes, or on reducing waste.

Nick Kelly, founder of Kaia Foods educated me and reminded me of the “radical transparency” which Joey Shepp listed as a consumer “want” during his “Social Media and Sustainability” speech. Kaia Foods wants to disclose what’s in their raw, organic oatmeal.  Their passion for educating consumers on proper nutrition is the motivation behind the brand.  The company believes in bringing minimally processed food to the market; the philosophy “Keep it Simple.” Nick preaches on the benefits of eating fewer calories; contending that the practice may extend your life span.   In addition to promoting a wholesome diet, Kaia foods donates 1% to the Hunger Project and the UN Food Program.

While Kaia Foods strives to educate consumers about the benefits of eating raw, unprocessed, natural foods, the family producing Inesscents products seek to feed and heal your skin. They have been operating for 10 years, out of Ashland, Oregon, solar infusing calendula flowers and working with homeopathic doctors to create a series of natural body care products that nourish and cure the skin. “Why intoxicate your body with ingredients that are used as preservatives in lotions?  Your skin needs to breathe and it can only do so if you allow it to eliminate the toxins by not clogging your skins’ pores with unnatural ingredients,” explains Tsadae Neway. For example, their African Black Soap, fairly-traded from Ghana, contains no animal fats or chemicals, and is best for treating rashes, acne, ringworm, eczema, and dandruff.  As a certified B Corporation, the business has received high ratings in leadership, which emphasizes the company’s accountability and transparency as far as its efforts in sourcing from organic and fair trade producers.

For a chocolate manufacturer, competition is vast. Yet, Earth Source Organics operations manager, Adam, claims that the secret to their “Righteously Raw” chocolate bars is that they’re more than just raw chocolate bars.  The raw cocoa surrounds a super-food filling, which consists of either Goji Berries that are known to improve circulation and vision, Acai berries, rich in Omega 3, 6, and 9, or Maca root, for energy and vitality.  Earth Source Organics works on their recipes for a period of about 3-4 years to perfect and attain the final, customer-approved flavor.  They’re also environmentally conscious.  Righteously Raw chocolate bars are packaged in soy-ink printed recycled paper.

As a consumer, it was my curiosity to engage these companies to find out what made them environmentally or socially conscious. I was glad to find that transparency is something they embrace, as well as education and finding the most natural and healthy ingredients for their consumers.

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