While Austin birthed Whole Foods, California has long led the organic movement and our elephant journal’s hometown is the cradle of green (Chipotle, Wild Oats, Izze, Pangea), we can thank the Northeast for Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farms and Seventh Generation. And so, as a native Bostonian, I proudly welcomed Natural Products Expo East to my beloved beantown.
The expo brought together over 25,000 people responsible for offering the food, body care and media alternatives that help us all “live good lives that also happen to be good for others, and our planet” (our mission statement..!). I jumped on the subway, amid passionate chatter about the Red Sox’s wicked awesome comeback against Tampa Bay the night before, and met ele photographer Caroline Treadway by the waterfront. (She’d decided to bike across the city from Cambridge, brave girl that she is). With arms full of magazines, we met at the Boston Convention Center on a crisp Friday afternoon. Below are some of the highlights. (You can advance through the slideshow by clicking on the main photo. Photos by Caroline Treadway.)
Find out more about the do-good, eco/yummy companies mentioned above:
Planet Friendly PR: The husband and wife team Mic and Katie LeBel have been connecting us with cool, mindful companies for years from their home base in Maine.
Earth Friendly Products: Earth Friendly’s cleaning products are 100% plant-based. Their reps were also very friendly, warmly accepting a copy of our latest issue though they’d never seen the mag before.
Mychelle Dermaceuticals: Long-time supporters of ele and fellow Coloradans, Mychelle’s skin care is free from nasty parabens and chemicals.
Seventh Generation: The chemicals in household products may be killing us softly. Seventh Gen is leading the movement to make all cleaning products disclose 100% of ingredients on their bottles, and tell us what they mean.
Honest Tea: Barack Obama’s been criticized for the GOP for stocking his fave Black Forest Berry Honest Tea wherever he goes. The company sold to Coca Cola last year, but seems to be thus far maintaining high standards of eco responsibility.
Kopali Organics: The founders of this company have actually worked on farms in Costa Rica, so they know first hand the exploitation of farm workers and environmental degradation that comes with factory farming. Kopali is a business-driven model for reversing the damage of corporate farming with small, organic, community-focused farms.
Organic Valley: The FDA refuses to ban the hormone rGBH, though Europeans have deemed it unsafe. The only way to ensure that your milk doesn’t contain rGBH? Buy organic.
Good Belly: Check out our interview with founder Steve Demos, also founder of Silk Soymilk, here.
Karthein’s Organic Raw Cultured Sauerkraut: Probiotic sauerkraut, who woulda thunk it? But it’s delicious. My German ancestors would be pleased.
Guayaki Yerba Maté: Drinking Guayaki is like purchasing carbon offsets, because the product preserves the rainforest. For every package of Guayaki that you buy, you’re actually reducing atmospheric CO2 by 573 grams.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp: Hemp isn’t just for hippies. It’s also for parents who want to serve their children tasty snacks full of Omega 3 fatty acids. Manitoba’s hemp nut butter is killer on toast, and full of essential nutrients you won’t find in other nut butters.
Sambazon Acai: Long-time friends and supporters of ele. Like Guayaki, these guys have figured out a way to build rainforest preservation into their business model. And they’re surfers.
Dagoba Chocolate: Another supporter of ele, until they were bought by Hershey’s and their founder could no longer control where advertising dollars went. Still, Dagoba’s spicy xocolatl is my fave guilty pleasure, and they’re still organic and hopefully having a sustainable influence on the big H.
Amazing Grass: I never thought it was possible to make wheatgrass taste good. Their secret? Chocolate milk.
Shaman Chocolates: This is no get-rich quick scheme. 100% of profits go to Mexico’s Huichol Indians.
Wholemato Agave Ketchup: My favorite discovery at Expo East. You’ll never have to eat corn syrup with your french fries again.
Immaculate Baking Company: Quick and easy, just like Pilsbury, but without the crappy ingredients.
Amy’s: I think Waylon’s body is 90% composed of Amy’s spicy chili. He heats it up and pours it over tortilla chips with a little salsa and cheddar cheese.
Yogi Tea: Though their chai blend is a classic, I love Yogi’s medicinal teas—I’m stocking up on their throat soothing and cold-fighting blends now in preparation for winter.
Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk: Rumor has it that goat milk is easier to digest that cow’s milk (even for those intolerant to lactose). Redwood Hill’s goat yogurt is also lower in fat than most whole cows milk yogurt, but just as creamy.
Flora’s fresh pressed oils: Another ele supporter. Fresh pressed means minimal heat, so the nutrients and healthy fats contained in nut oils are preserved.
And last, but not least, a special message for all the companies who sent countless plastic sample cups to the trash: We’ll be at Expo West, and we’ll call you out by name if we see you using non-sustainable to-go ware. With resources like this company out there, you have no excuse! Besides, who wants a plastic fork when you can pick up cute little samples with toothpicks?