At Annie’s, we try to employ the engine of our business to make the food system more sustainable and the world a better place, but we know this approach doesn’t accomplish all of the changes we want to see. And we know that we can’t do it by ourselves. So, we find strategic ways to give back to organizations that are doing good work toward these goals, via funds and hands-on time from our employees.
In the past three years, we have given more than $1.2 million to organizations that are helping to support a more sustainable food system. While the charitable contributions chart shows our product donations have gone down, we actually see a positive side to this, because it means we are managing our ingredients and finished goods better. Three programs in particular — Grants for Gardens, Agricultural Scholarships, and FoodCorps —extend our reach into schools and universities across the United States.
We strongly believe that children should have the opportunity to see how real food is grown, so in 2008 we started Annie’s Grants for Gardens — a program that supports school gardens across the United States. In FY2013, we happily gave $38,000 in grants to this program. Creating small gardens doesn’t take much — nature does most of the hard work — but we’ve seen firsthand how gardening can change a child’s life. When kids grow vegetables, herbs, and fruits themselves, they’re much more likely to try and enjoy them, making mealtime an educational, fun, and healthy experience. (For kids and parents alike!)
In FY2013 we supported undergraduate and graduate-level students with $100,000 in scholarships to support the next generation of organic- and sustainability-focused environmental science and agriculture students.
Maclovia says: “The practice of agriculture is vital for the maintenance of northern New Mexico’s unique culture and ecology. Agriculture is culture, especially for those withlong family histories in the region. A happy and healthy world is one in which everyone who wants to is empowered to grow food; where land and water are preserved for future generations; where communities have access to locally grown produce, especially culturally specific foods; where farmers are valued and respected; and where everyone feels a love for and a connection to the land. Preserving smallscale agriculture in northern New Mexico will guarantee that this is the case, if only in one small corner of the world.”
Annie’s is a “Seed Funder” of FoodCorps, and in FY2013 we supported them with $100,000. FoodCorps is a national nonprofit whose service members teach kids about healthy food, build and tend school gardens, and partner with local farmers to bring high-quality local produce into public schools, promoting healthy eating while supporting the next generation of food producers.