Kashi is on a mission to increase organic acreage in the U.S. – but we can’t do it alone. Today, I’d like to invite you – food lovers, buyers, and growers - to join us on our journey.
Forty percent of the United States is farmland – but, despite soaring demand for organic products, less than one percent of that farmland is Certified USDA Organic.1 At Kashi, we believe in nourishing, plant-based foods that promote powerful, uplifting health – and we cannot talk about improving the health of people without improving the health of our planet.
We believe organics are a key piece of this conversation, and that it’s time for that conversation to turn into action. One percent organic farmland is simply not enough, and we are committed to doing our part to increase that percentage. We know we can’t do it alone. We need your support to make it a reality. Imagine what we could achieve together: Could we reach five percent? Even ten?
Two years ago, we visited a farmer named Karen on her organic farm in Michigan. We discussed the challenges farmers face when converting from conventional to organic practices – particularly the 3-year transition period required before farmland is eligible for USDA Organic certification. This process is a heavy financial investment for farmers — with untold risks, capital expenditures, and new tools, practices and processes to follow. Despite all the investment that starts day one, there is no real market for these organics-in-training until after the farm achieves USDA Organic certification.
Then, Karen said something that would change our view entirely: “I actually would be more likely to support a farmer in transition to organic than one who is already certified organic.”
It was a light bulb moment for our team, and we realized, we could do something. We could support farmers in transition, and bring consumers along. But we wanted to do more than boost organics in our own supply chain - we wanted to create a truly seed-to-store solution that would make organics more accessible to everyone.
To make this happen, we knew from the beginning that we would need to go far bigger than Kashi, bigger than cereal, and bigger than just food. We needed a solution that would work for any farmer, growing any crop, and any industry – whether they are sourcing grains, berries, or cotton.
Inspired by the potential, we partnered with QAI, an independent, USDA-accredited organic certifying body, and Hesco, a specialty grain company, to create Certified Transitional. Because it is a third party protocol, Certified Transitional is open to everyone, fully transparent, and open-source. We worked with Hesco to find farmers to test out the protocol, and featured the first-ever harvest of Certified Transitional wheat in our newest cereal, Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits.
Today, I’m turning to you to help us scale Certified Transitional and create a movement toward more organic acreage. Kashi can’t do it alone – we need to go together!
When you buy products with the Certified Transitional seal on the package, you are playing an active role in changing our food system, and casting a vote for increasing access to organics. So keep an eye out in the grocery aisle and make your voice heard!
We hope to see many, many more Certified Transitional products on shelves in the future. We would love to share our journey with any interested brand, and invite and encourage every company that sources agricultural ingredients to consider Certified Transitional sourcing.
We believe that, together, we can create a better food system for all of us. We could not be more excited about the potential we see in Certified Transitional to lower barriers for farmers and increase access to organics. We’re ready. Let’s #gotogether and make our vision a reality.
1USDA Census of Agriculture. 2014 organic survey highlights