These Women are Making Inventive Changes in Our Food Industry
Sep 14, 2016
The agricultural industry both contributes to and is effected by climate change — leading many to find better solutions for more sound food systems.
Much of this effort is being spearheaded by women – all through a variety of niche efforts with big goals in combating climate change, saving money, reducing waste, and feeding the world in a healthier, more localized way.
Fortune recently released a report featuring women who are making strides in the industry. Here are some women you should know.
1. Kavita Shukla, FreshPaper
Food spoilage leads to food waste — a global problem because there are at least a billion people around the world without refrigerators, according to Fortune. inspired by her grandmother's home remedy in India, Shukla created naturally antibacterial sheets infused with herbs to keep produce fresh up to four times longer. The product, FreshPaper is now sold in many markets.
"There's a lot of space in the world of food waste and we need amazing innovators to really start to think about how to encourage more people to just be a little more conscious in their consumption."
2. Emily Broad Leib, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
Because the world produces more than enough food for everyone on the planet, much of it goes right to the landfill. That's why Leib focuses on legislation to address labeling and to make donating easier. This would hopefully balance out the food system and get more food to those who don’t have enough.
"There are no guidelines at the federal level and inconsistent ones on the state level that are not based on actual science. We want to make labeling laws clearer, so when people pick up a yogurt, they know when it’s OK to eat it and when to throw it out."
3. Betsy Babcock, Handsome Brook Farm
The former capital-firm CEO went from owning seven chickens and a B&B, to managing 351,000 pasture-raised chickens and producing 58 million eggs a year. Not to mention, this all happened quite sustainably — Babcock took the road less traveled and purchased her own mill to ensure her hens have organic, non-GMO feed.
"Because it requires a lot of land, the scalability of pasture-raised animals is tough, but it's possible. We haven’t had to sacrifice the integrity of what we're doing."
4. Monica Garnes, Kroger supermarkets
Garnes is an advocate for local growers in big markets. She has increased the number of local farmers Kroger buys from by 27 percent in just five years.
“Now we can tell our customers exactly who raises their vegetables, which is pretty darn exciting."
5. Claire Benjamin DiMattina, Food Policy Action
As executive director of D.C.-based Food Policy Action, DiMattina calls attention to the importance of policies that impact childhood nutrition, provide access to healthy food, and support farmers.
"This isn't hippie back to the land stuff, people want to know where their food comes from and that it's safe."
6. Susie Weintraub, Compass Group USA
Compass is responsible for 8.5 million meals every day, ranging from school cafeterias to senior homes. She prioritized efforts like partnering with sustainable, vegan companies like Hampton Creek, as well as working with the Food Recovery Network and Feeding America to donate food combat waste problems.
"The key to getting people to eat healthier is to make it more convenient, more accessible, just as economical and maintain the quality and flavor so there’s no reason not to choose that option. Hampton Creek is a great example of that."
7. Kristy Lewis, Quinn Foods
Kristy Lewis believes snack food shares a responsibility of being social conscious, and healthy. She took that idea and created the "pure pop bag" which recycled, compostable paper that's free of the chemical-infused linings for her "farm-to-table" popcorn.
"Food should be simple, honest, and transparent."
8. Emily Miller and Kimberly Jung, Rumi Spice
After serving in the military, these ladies learned about the Afghanistan's underutilized abundance of saffron — one of the priciest spices in the world. This way, they could help get Afghanistan into international economy. To go beyond this, they want to work toward replacing Afghan opium poppies, which fund the Taliban, with saffron-producing crocus flowers.
"This isn’t a charity; we’re literally giving these farmers a livelihood when we buy saffron from them."
Photo Credit: Getty Images