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a little flavor of ExpoWest…

Wedding gifts: often redundant, sometimes essential, occasionally pulled out of the closet just before the person who gifted it to you comes by for dinner, and always, of course, a useful tool to impress the ladies — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDda4zG3zvE.  But other times wedding gifts have an entirely different effect: Arjan and Rimjhim tell the story of how Nature’s Path’s latest granola series, Love Crunch, came out of an idea to have their wedding guests gift community service projects in place of material items.  Love Crunch is now a product that gives back Bite4Bite so that for every bag you buy, Nature’s Path will donate the equivalent amount in cash or organic food to the food bank (up to $1 Million per year!).

This story was my introduction to one of our newest members, Nature’s Path, who has joined 1% for the Planet with their EnviroKidzBrand. Nature’s Path donates 1% of sales from EnviroKidz products, the brand’s children’s line of cereals and bars, to species and habitat conservation or education programs for kids. Since the inception of EnviroKidz, Nature’s Path has donated $1.4 million. In 2012, Nature’s Path proudly joined 1% for the Planet with EnviroKidz.

I was completely taken aback (with delight and admiration, of course!) by the core values that began Nature’s Path and that remain as the solid foundation upon which the company thrives today.  Nature’s Path is a remarkable example of a company looking at its triple bottom line and really living and breathing its everyday values.  Founded by a family that grew up on an organic farm, they’re highly committed to organics and proper land stewardship.  As founder, Arron Stephens, says, “Always leave the Earth better than you found it,” Nature’s Path truly goes the distance to provide a product that does good from the moment its ingredients are planted in the soil, to the point where kids eating it for breakfast are prompted by artwork on the cereal box to learn about the food cycle.

It was truly a pleasure to kick off this year’s Natural Product ExpoWest show with a luncheon hosted by Nature’s Path.  Myself and colleague, Rebecca, had the pleasure of welcoming the Nature’s Path family into the 1% for the Planet network, hearing their history, plans for growth and engaging with the 1% network, and watching as a scholarship from the Rodale Institute to support young organic farmers was named in honor of Arron Stephens.  Congratulations, Arron!

The great energy from this lunch seemed to extend seamlessly throughout the rest of the show.  As the show divvies its expansive space into sections based on products, 1% was really present everywhere – there’s the water bottle area, where 1% member company, Klean Kanteen, was generous enough to share booth space with us, the vitamin and supplement area where Ascenta Health showed off their new capsule form of their Omega-3 oils, the ice cream was downstairs, where we welcomed new member company McConnell’s Ice Cream, and also tasted the new cake mixes provided by longtime standing member company Three Twins Ice Cream (“Gotta have cake to go with your ice cream!” says Neal).  Other members present at the show included Clif Bar, Harney & Son’s Tea, The Bamboo Bottle Company, Purely Elizabeth, Planet Inc., People Towels, Elemental Herbs (thank you, Caroline for your wonderful lip balm!), Wean Green, Mamma Chia, Zuperfoods, Angell Bar, Lara Pearson, PurBlu Beverages and Natural Hero.  Phew!

It’s the stories like that of Nature’s Path, and the diverse nature of our membership base that make this alliance so intriguing.  It’s enormously encouraging to see the movement spreading virally, and during our happy hour co-hosted with Klean Kanteen it was a hoot to bring together such an eccentric crew — from ice cream makers (Three Twins & McConnell’s!), to lawyers (Lara Pearson and Wendel, Rosen, Black and Dean) or green retirement plan providers (SocialK), we had a solid 1% presence.  In addition to current members, prospective members swung by to check in and other show attendees frequented our booth to learn about the business model and/or to find out how they could get one of the beautiful steel 1% pints!  I want to graciously thank all of our members that attended the show!  There’s nothing more invigorating than getting out and meeting the faces that stand behind the good work, and to speak with the people who are causing revolutionary change in the way we do business.

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