My stomach is growling as I'm writing this, making me wonder, "What did I get myself into with this Power of SHE Project" - buying only (if I'm able) from women-owned business for ALL of 2018!!! It's only January 17th and I'm already challenged. (I did find toilet paper though! Green2 Tree-Free toilet paper from TGEco Products, made from a by-product of sugar cane, called bagasse, and bamboo grass, and YES, it really is soft!)
One of the biggest challenges right now, is finding FOOD that I can eat! I never have been very intentional about my food purchases until now - except to buy naturally nested eggs (for the sake of the chickens) and non-hormonal, grass fed beef (for my sake); and wow, am I discovering a LOT! Did you know that only 10 Big Food companies control almost all the food and beverages we buy? You probably did know that, cuz I hang around smart people. Check out the mind boggling infographic below, created by Oxfam, that shows how interconnected consumer brands really are.
So, last night I went to PCC Community Markets to grocery shop, because there are no large, woman-owned grocery stores in Seattle - and after some research, I came to the conclusion that PCC is the best option, considering: (1) it's a co-op, which means it's owned by people in the community like you and me. Find out how you can become a PCC member/owner for a lifetime investment of only $62! One benefit is that, each month, you get 10% off your total purchases (you choose which shopping trip you take the discount on). And (2) PCC has a female CEO: Cate Hardy! #powerofSHE - can't wait to meet her.
(Note: check out Dani Cone's, Cone & Steiner, a neighborhood market providing a selection of grocery, fresh produce, prepared foods, beverages, etc. She now has 3 locations in Seattle! Dani is also the founder and owner of Fuel Coffee; my new favorite coffee spot in Wallingford.)
So...back to food. After 45 minutes in PCC, standing in front of types of products that I typically buy/eat (produce, meat/chicken, rice, almond milk, protein bars) and Googling on my phone, "Who owns...?" this is the paltry group of products I came home with:
What am I going to do with this weird combo? I have no idea, but let me tell you all the fun facts I discovered about these brands:
3 SISTERS BEEF: THIS ONE I'M EXCITED ABOUT! A family farm for over 100 years on Whidbey Island, 3 Sisters is, OWNED BY....3 SISTERS: Jessica, Jennifer and Rochelle and mom, Shelly. Dad, Ron, works the farm. 3 Sisters produces grass-fed beef and lamb, all natural barley fed pork and open floor, free nested eggs. You can buy their franks and pepperonis at PCC, or you can order all their meat online and pick it up at their store on Whidbey Island. Road trip!
HODGSON MILLS: Makes whole grain and gluten-free milled products such as quinoa, couscous, cereals and much more. The brand started out as a small, family-run business, and has grown to more than 90 employees. Founders, Cathy and Bob Goldstein still own and run the company. (Note: I'm also purchasing from 50/50 female/male owned companies; many couples go into business together I've found.)
ANDERSEN ORGANICS: Is a family farm in Othello, WA owned & operated by Denise and Brian Andersen, along with their two daughters. They grow asparagus, onions, potatoes & squash.
GINGER PEOPLE: Is owned by Abbie & Bruce Leeson. They started out small, and now make over 80 ginger products. I loved their brand story and mission of buying from local farming communities all over the world. I don't even like ginger (although I know it's good for me), but I was getting hungry and this ginger + lemon drink looked good.
ALMOND BREEZE: There are no almond milks made by women that I've found yet, unless you make it from scratch and....um, NO! This is not Little House on the Prairie, so I'm not doing that. However, I thought Almond Breeze was a good compromise, given that it's a cooperative owned by half of California's almond growers who produce over 80% of the WORLD almond supply!! (I may have to find an alternative to almond milk, considering I've found that most being sold at the grocery stores contain a very, very low % of almonds!!)
LÄRABAR: A girlfriend told me that Larabars are woman-owned, so I've been stuffing my face with them since January 1st when my mission began. I should have done my own research, cuz I've technically been cheating this whole time (but since I was given bad info and it was unintentional, I hope you'll forgive me). Yes, Lara Merriken created the brand back in 2000 - starting out like SOOO many women entrepreneurs do: she couldn't find a product that she wanted on the market, so...she made it! Eight years later, Lara sold her company to General Mills. Yippee!! for Lara, who hopefully is a millionaire now; but sad for consumers, many of whom choose not to buy their food from the Big Food brands, due to unethical farming and business practices, or who may change formulation (no longer organic?) to cut costs.
The above picture is me tonight. I'll eat the LARABARs so as not to have them go to waste; but PLEASE HELP me find more food from woman-owned companies. I look forward to purchasing produce from female-owned farms, One Leaf Farm and Red Barn Farm; but that will have to wait until spring. I've had about as much roasted carrots and squash that one person can handle.