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For Better Food, We Need Better Business

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Last week OxFam America, an organization that aims to reduce poverty and injustice worldwide, released their "Behind the Brands" report, an assessment of the social and environmental policies of the world's ten largest food and beverage companies. OxFam graded companies based on seven criteria: small-scale farmers, farm workers, water, land, climate change, women's rights and transparency. Not one company received a passing grade. Business has to change if we want the food system to change, and it's time that all food businesses were held accountable.

We can all agree that large food companies have played a significant role in our broken food system, yet it's hard to know where to even begin tackling the daunting problems at hand. But there's a larger movement of businesses who are seeking to drive positive change. B Corporations are a group of companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental practices. Among the more than 700 B Corps in 24 countries who are redefining business success are a group of companies that we believe are helping to revolutionize the food system. We're taking a step back from fish this week to reflect on this larger movement and highlight some businesses looking to change the way we eat.

King Arthur Flour started out in 1790 as a family business in Boston, but today is 100% employee owned. Their high quality flour is milled from pure, unbleached U.S.-grown wheat. The company works closely with American family farmers who practice environmentally friendly farming methods, and their packaging and manufacturing facilities are committed to energy efficiency and waste reduction.

Revolution Foods is tackling a big problem - childhood nutrition - with real solutions. The company is on a mission to make school lunches healthier, and they provide 200,000 healthy meals a day in 1,000 lunchrooms around the country. Two-thirds of the children served come from low-income households. In addition to their school lunch program, Revolution Foods installs vending machines stocked with all-natural snacks, and nurtures healthy eating through nutrition education.

It's been said that sustainable development is a three-legged stool: people, planet, and profit. Whether you're in the nonprofit sector, a small business like ourselves, or just a consumer trying to make better food choices, it helps to be reminded that businesses can, and should, drive real change. As the saying goes, it's always better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Instead of only casting blame, let's look to the leaders creating new and better systems. What food businesses do you know who are making a difference? Let us know in the comments below.