got corporations? *UPDATED*

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve heard me talk about how I dislike and mistrust corporations. One day it will be abundantly clear why when I share more about my life, but for now you will just have to trust me: it is a strongly held opinion based on something that happened. Many of you have commented that not all corporations are bad and maybe I need to back off a little. Well, life went ahead and proved you right.

I went to BlogHer Food, which was made possible by contributions by corporations. At first I was a little uncomfortable about that relationship and I wondered privately if it was really on the “up and up” for me to attend. I decided to withhold judgment until I got to the conference. That proved to be wise of me.

Anyone at the conference could attend any session. So there were employees of sponsoring corporations and PR people attending different talks and a couple representatives sat in during our session on the Values track. The way that BlogHer manages the crowd is smart: people who are watching are able to comment while the chat is underway.

The very last person to make a comment was the representative from Nature’s Path Organic. She stated it exquisitely, “I’m mad! I’m mad that more people aren’t upset about school food! You know, I work for an organic company and even during a recession our sales are up. Why can’t more companies do the right thing for people?” I was stunned.
After the talk I found her to chat. It was refreshing to hear about Nature’s Path and to hear about all of the amazing things that they are doing for people (school gardens too!) while also putting out a fantastic product for adults and children.
She mentioned a further detail as it related to school lunch. She told me that she had met people in control of buying food for school breakfast programs (if you look at their product mix, it’s geared toward breakfast). I don’t remember if the people were part of a school food company or directly from a school district. Nature’s Path displayed their product selection and were endeavoring to get some of their heritage grains onto the lunch trays of students. Well, the buyer did agree to purchase something for their school breakfast program, but it wasn’t a cereal grain. The company or district purchased Nature’s Path’s wholegrain toaster pastry… The Nature’s Path representative told me that they were thrilled to get the sale of that product, but they felt some disappointment that their other products were passed on.
I don’t know about you, but if my school district bought heritage grains for breakfast and actively promoted the offering to the parents of the students, participation in the breakfast program would increase dramatically. In fact if my son was attending that school, I would send my child to school hungry and with money to buy breakfast and feel confident that he was getting a solid start in the morning. To me it seems short-sighted to choose only the toaster pastry. Certainly it could be a money issue, but if this company or school district is able to purchase the whole grain toaster pastry, they must have some money. Not to mention offering higher quality school food options would bring in extra dollars.
(On a side note, I think districts need to start sending out surveys to parents and finding out if they would be willing to pay for higher quality lunches and offer examples of the kind of food that could be available with a funding shot in the arm)
Anyway, I hit it off with the representative from Nature’s Path. She offered to give me a tour of their production facility if I ever visited their factories (in the Canada/Washington state area). I told her about our Twitter/Blog party in August and that #lunchrevolution became a trending topic on Twitter in Canada. Notes from a Cookie Jar and I want to do another Twitter/Blog party in January and it looks like Nature’s Path is in!
I feel great that corporations are out there who are doing right by people and it’s very encouraging that they can turn a profit too.
Another giveaway!
Towards the end of the conference I passed by Nature’s Path’s booth and they had some extra bags that they didn’t want to haul back with them. I took as many as I thought I could fit into my suitcase. I’m giving away SEVEN reusable grocery bags exactly like what you see above! To enter, please comment on this post.
Later at a BlogHer Food party, I got two very interesting kid-friendly samples from two other companies:
Full Bloom — Delicious snack for kids!

Dairy-free chocolate oat drink!
The company is so brand new that its website isn’t working yet!
*UPDATED: Here is a working website for the Oat Grow drink:
I also forgot to say that it was delicious!*
No samples to share with you of those products, but just knowing that they are out there is comforting. Developing connections with amazing companies doing good things made me feel better about corporations in general. It’s nice to feel inspired by organizations instead of feeling let down.
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67 thoughts on “got corporations? *UPDATED*

  1. I with you on the corporation thing and it makes me very happy to find one that is for the consumer and want to put out a good product.
    last week i went to my local store and you would of thought i hit the lottery the had grass fed beef in the butcher case now i do not have to drive 60 miles, people will pay a little more for a good product. have a wonderful day everyone.

  2. Just found your blog via Chef Ann…love what I've seen so far, and can't wait to dig in further. Also…love love love Nature's Path. I cannot get enough of their pumpkin flax granola.

  3. Nature's Path makes my absolute favorite cereal: Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon. I really miss that stuff.

  4. I absolutely love Nature's Path! I love their products and I have really enjoyed working with them for my site. A fabulous company! Thanks for all you do for our kids!

  5. Hi Mrs. Q,
    I read your posts everyday but I don't comment often. I am thrilled to see that someone cares as much as you do. You remind me of my aunt, who is also a teacher. She works with many of the underprivileged and educationally challenged students at her school. So far she has managed to implement a school garden for vegetables, and her students raise African violets and then do a "plant auction" in her town to raise extra funding for the projects. It's great to see so many educators putting for this kind of effort.
    Just thought, I'd put that out there- THANK YOU!
    and the bags are super cute 🙂

  6. It IS so refreshing to see good companys out there among the greedy ones.
    I am so frustrated by school lunch and the products they put right there for our little ones. My daughters school has a constant supply of Caprisun with lunch..what is the point of that?

  7. ooo! ooo! I want a bag! (Although, I don't think I've ever seen the random generator pick number 1… but with 7 chances, maybe I have a shot!)

  8. I love your blog. I refuse to let my kids eat the school lunches, due to cost ($3/day for 3 kids) and mostly due to how unhealthy they are. If we had better options, I might re-consider. I will look for Natures Path products at my grocery store.

  9. I love Nature's Path granola bars and cereal. I'm glad to hear that at least one big company cares 🙂

  10. Congratulations on getting Nature's Path to join in your next blog party! Any time a corporation makes an effort to care about the consumer is a cause for celebration. 🙂

  11. I'd be delighted to win one of the bags – I love Nature's Path granola with greek yogurt in the morning!

  12. I haven't tried Nature's Path products but I've seen them around. I'm a big Stoneyfield fan, though.

    Lately I've been watching a lot of the documentaries on nutrition and food. It's making me much more conscious of what I purchase. I get all excited when I go to my local Grocery Outlet and find all sorts of organic foods available to lower income families. Last week I found a wonderful organic graham cracker treat for kids with sports shapes. I bought a bunch and brought them to the classroom I'm currently working in. The kids LOVED them. 🙂 My favorite is the Cinnamon Toast flavor.

    Keep up the great posts. I really enjoy reading them.

  13. Mrs. Q,

    I've been reading ever since your blog was linked from yahoo one day last year. (I just normally post anonymously since I often post during my planning period at my teaching job).

    I think changing school lunches (and breakfasts) is a HUGE step in changing education. If we start kids with a healthy meal and a healthy education about nutrition we teach them them so much. These will be things that stick with them throughout their lives. We've all watched "smarter than a 5th grader" and realize how much we've forgotten that we learned in school, or how we never used it after graduation. But imagine the power of 180 nutritious lunches x 12 years, and learning how the basic act of eating affects your body. (can you imagine if you learned that when you were little, instead of just these last few weeks?)

    Not only that, having enough time to eat (which is a huge issue in of itself), and a nutritious meal affects your day. How many people can concentrate when their stomach is growling? How productive can you be if you just ate too much or an unhealthy meal? (Or if you just ate too much gluten and you're hoping you make it home to your bathroom before your digestive system decides it must come out now?)
    (Thanksgiving food comas anyone? Halloween candy sugar crash sound familiar?)

    Yes we have kids that are homeless, kids that don't fit the magic number on a standardized test to qualify for interventions, kids that learning styles don't fit the traditional school model. These things are so HARD to fix! And often out of the scope of a school day. Providing kids with healthy, wholesome meals, and nutrition education *should be* a simple thing that schools can do.

    For anyone that noticed huge changes in their/their kids behavior/mood/bathroom emergencies after changing their diet, knows how much impact food has in our everyday lives.

    There are a million things to fix in education, and a million ways/opinions on how to do so. School food: 2 main problems: 1. not healthy enough 2. not enough time to eat. Seems to be an easier place to start than the rest of the educational problems I can see.

    Keep it up!!!

  14. Love Nature's Path! Perhaps on the next go-round, their sales team can offer a competitive pricing bundle to entice the school to try the heritage grains.

  15. there ARE some companies doing things right, and more and more everyday. a company i just love love love is Justin's. they make all natural nut butters that come in jars or squeeze packs that you can throw into the lunchbox. i am an endurance athlete and use those to fuel some of my long runs.

  16. Dear Mrs. Q,
    I've been a reader since the beginning, and it's so interesting to see your progression in terms of food knowledge and understanding of such a complex industry. The project may be drawing to a close somewhat soon, but the information you have gained will stick with you.
    Nature's Path is great… they have such tasty options for those of us with various food sensitivities, as well.

  17. I would like to enter please.

    I've never heard of Nature's Path, but I will have to look for them locally – My son is allergic to food coloring, so I'm always looking for new things he can eat.

  18. Keep up the fabulous work, Mrs. Q! We all appreciate what you do ~ you're moving us toward a better world. And it's so great that there are some corporations that have that as a goal, too!

  19. I've been enjoying reading your blog. The one from yesterday was very touching. Nutrition is paramount for us all. Nutrition affects our ability to learn and grow which is obvious a big deal for the future generations. Big Ups to you and thank you for being a champion!

  20. I think that's awesome! I agree that a lot of corps can't be trusted, but there are some good ones and I love Nature's Path!

  21. I love reusable grocery bags :0 they are especially useful when you are moving too… like I am now!

  22. Thanks for introducing us to Nature's Path–I'll be on the lookout for their products! Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.

  23. Them are gooooood bags- that would be a good start for me. I have not gotten bags like this yet, but I keep meaning to.

    Also- just a tidbit of encouragement for you: I rarely read the comments, because I'm really here to learn from your voyage. I guess I am a slight purist, that way. sometimes, the comments take things so far off track and really detract from the blog. I find that to be the case here. I want your words, thoughts, growth, mission and pictures. I did go back and read a few, based on a comment in one of your recent posts.

    My advice? (not that i'm a somebody necessarily worthy of advising anyone, but here goes anyway!) 🙂 Don't allow yourself to be blown about in the breezes of discourteous or pushy commenters. This mission is yours, and yours alone, and you choose to share it. Please don't allow them to sway you. They don't know you, for all that we've been privy to a bit of your life for many months now. You know you, and you know your life/body/health needs/mission. Do what you need and want to do, and please don't bow to the desires of the pushy masses.

    Hang in, Mrs., for you're doin' a good thang! 🙂

  24. just so you know–my Google RSS feed attached a Burger King ad to this post. Lovely, isn't it?

  25. I love Nature's Path heritage flakes – I discovered them when I was looking to increase my intake of whole grains. My husband didn't care for them at first and nicknamed them "cardboard flakes". They grew on him, though, and now "cardboard flakes" is our term of endearment for what is now the go-to breakfast of choice in our household.

  26. I wish my kids schools would send a survey home. One of my kids goes to a private school. The cost of lunch is high but usually the food is good so she eats lunch at school often. My other two attend a public school. Lunch is cheap and the food is crap. They both pack.

    Getting my kids to eat natural and organic has been difficult. Heck getting them to eat good food in general is difficult. If only the schools would help!

  27. My kids LOVE Nature's Path Gorilla Munch. They also like to read the backs of the boxes while they eat and I appreciate very much that Nature's Path puts fun little games and puzzles on there that pertain to nutrition.

    And I appreciate your comment that districts should consider parent input on raising prices to raise quality. I'm by no means wealthy, in fact quite the opposite, but if given the choice, I'd gladly spend a few cents extra to know I could rely on the school system to provide a healthy lunch for my kids. Sure would save me time and anguish packing every single day! ; )

  28. ayy i typed out a long comment and it deleted me! i am also an urban school teacher (in NJ) working to change lunches at my school. our lunches are currently selected by two women with terrible eating habits who both just got gastric bypass. i'm starting up a "girls on the run" program for my 3rd and 4th grade girls to promote physical activity, positive body image, and healthy eating habits.

    i love nature's path products and have shared some with my students from time to time- if i can change some taste buds, i will! i've been following the whole foods movement myself and hoping my students see my changes as well!

  29. I recently went to a gluten free fair and got to find out information about a lot of these companies. I wish I knew about them when I was a kid! Also, I miss Nature's Path Flax Granola cereal, but they still don't make it with certified GF oats, so I guess I can only dream for now.

  30. I like Nature's Path "pop-tarts." Maybe not the healthiest thing, but as a once-in-a-while treat, not too bad.

  31. I been eating organic as amuch as possible for years now. I'm in my mid twenties and I work at a gym that gears towards families and children. I'm always suprised by what kids tell me they eat for lunch. Some kids are eating spinach salads with homemade dressing and blueberries, while others are eating chicken nuggets and pizza. I'm guessing you know which child's parents packed his/her lunch. But I love Natures Path. There granola bars and cereals are excellent. I wish the schools had chosen something more than a toaster pastry. Baby steps.

  32. Excellent post, Mrs. Q! I've enjoyed Nature's Path cereals and granola bars over the years and buy them as much for what's not in them as for what is in them. It's encouraging to learn that the company also has such strong ethics.

    @Anonymous Katherine, I love the idea of kids raising and selling African violets for their school fundraiser! That's so much better than the giant candy bars, buckets of cookie dough, and frozen cheesecakes (all loaded with sugar and mysterious chemical ingredients) that I've encountered at the office as a result of my coworkers selling this stuff on behalf of their kids. Thanks for sharing a great idea for a non-food fundraiser!

  33. I like the idea of having the school district send out a survey describing what more they could offer students if they paid X more for it.

    I wonder, though, how that might work in a large school district like mine (Chesterfield County) where the entire county is the school district. The county is a mix of poor and affluent people. I wonder if lots of people voted to raise the price (and therefore quality) of meals that it might put an unbearable financial burden on the less fortunate people.

  34. Nature's Path sounds like they have a long road ahead of them to convience school systems to switch. I will have to check out their website.

  35. I like those new products. I will be keeping an eye out for the drink boxes. With a dairy allergy in the house we are always looking for good milk alternatives and snack bars for after sports that are dairy free. (I'm guessing on the bar – but at least it doesn't appear to be coated/filled with chocolate, so it might be dairy free.)

  36. I have been following your blog all along your journey – you are a brave woman!
    The bags are awesome, and I am a consumer of whole and organic foods, including nature's food patch….would love to carry this bag!!

  37. Bag winner or not (though the former would be fun:)), I'd like to say that I've become a regular reader, and I appreciate your efforts. As a mom and teacher, I know EVERY. LITTLE. THING. we do to improve our children's nutrition (and well, anything) helps. It was intimidating for me to think of all the changes I wanted/needed to make in our family's food consumption, and I finally realized I didn't need to make ALL those changes at once (or ever, if I decided that). I took baby steps with things that felt "natural" to me, and soon enough I had reversed our whole way of consuming. (And I'm still not "hard core." Anyway, thanks for adding fuel and information to our fire!

  38. I love Nature's Path pumpkin flax granola. And my son, who is extremely picky, loves it, too. Thank goodness that something he eats is good for him!

  39. I'm glad to hear that you'll be making more of an effort to continue on with your blog's original theme. While I appreciate your personal decisions regarding embarking on a gluten-free lifestyle, I just don't think that you ought to, for lack of a better word, harp on the fact that school lunches are gluten-filled. It just seems, to me, at least, that you ought to be focusing on making simple, attainable, yet necessary changes to school lunch programs across the country. In the end, campaigning for the little things, like serving cut oranges or giving children more time to eat will prove to be far more successful and beneficial than attempting to pioneer an "uber-granola" overhaul of the system itself. Keep up the good work!

  40. Love this post. I don't trust corporations, either, and I'm really glad to hear that some companies do the right thing.

  41. I applaud your efforts to bring awareness to the quality of school lunches. I would also like a chance to get one of the bags. I like that there seems to be some improvement in the lunches for the new school year, although there's still room for improvement.

  42. I always wonder why more corporations do not find ways to collaborate with schools…a food company could sponsor a healthy lunch day or something in exchange for posting a sign or something on the front door. Really, I think it's no big deal.

    When student teaching I ate lunch at school almost daily. It was usually gross. I wouldn't do that again…ever!

  43. I love Nature's Path cereal! So does my 4 year old, who will continue to eat breakfast and lunch at home when she enters kindergarten, unless the public schools make some changes.

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