A Company With a Good Cause
Bloom Farms 1-for-1 mission inspires the community to give back
Living in California, agriculture and food products are always a topic of conversation. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering California’s 70,000+ farms generate more than 400 commodities, making it the country's largest agricultural producer and exporter. Although it may seem that we live in the land of abundance, millions of Americans still struggle with hunger. Studies have shown that one out of five children live in food-insecure households, and a staggering 5.4 million seniors have trouble finding their next meal. Having access to fresh and organic foods, shouldn’t only be available to those who can afford it. By donating resources, a few cannabis companies have dedicated their mission and values to help support families in need, most notably BLOOM FARMS. After joining the cannabis industry in 2017, I was always impressed by BLOOM FARMS’ mission to provide their customers a life full of relaxation, relief, creativity, and fun. I especially looked up to their 1-for-1 philosophy that states “for every purchase of a BLOOM FARMS product, we will donate a healthy meal to a food-insecure individual or family.”
photo credit: Bloom Farms
Partnering with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Alameda County Community Food Bank, SF-Marin Food Bank, World Harvest, El Dorado County Food Bank, and Redwood Empire Food Bank, Bloom Farms continues to fulfill this mission. To date, the company has successfully donated over 1.25 million meals to the community. This number is calculated by taking the total number of BLOOM FARMS items sold per month and matching it to a donation that’s provided to one their nonprofit partners to cover the costs of sourcing and distributing healthy meals to individuals and families in need. In other words, purchasing one BLOOM FARMS item equals one meal donated. In addition to BLOOM FARMS donations, they also provide a volunteer program that encourages team members and customers to give back, demonstrating how a leading cannabis company can make such a positive impact on the community.
photo credit: BLOOM FARMS
To find out more, I was lucky enough to speak with BLOOM FARMS’ CEO Michael Ray about the company, and why this ethos has been such an essential pillar of the business. I've always admired your 1-for-1 program that's dedicated to providing healthy food to the community. While there are hundreds of different causes and charities to donate to, what led to your decision to focus on providing meals? Growing up in Calaveras County, a region in California that faces extreme poverty, solving food insecurity is something I am personally passionate about. At a young age, I watched many of the people in my community including close family friends struggle with finding meals and nourishment. As I got older and began to learn more about food issues that impact families throughout California and the country, I wanted to do something. As a young adult, I simply didn't have the resources, but I knew when I launched BLOOM FARMS in 2014 I finally had a platform to begin making a difference. Having always been a fan of companies like Toms Shoes and Warby Parker and admiring their 1-for-1 approach, I developed our plan to do something similar. What I didn't know is how hard it would be to get food bank partners willing to help us back when we launched the program. How do you decide on what food banks to work with? Now that cannabis is recreationally legal in California, are you still facing the same stigmas that were prohibitive in 2015 when you first launched the program? We got denied partnerships by several food banks in the early days. I won't mention them by name as I understood their challenges, but I really wanted to make this work, so I kept setting up meetings. At the end of the day, I felt as though this shouldn't be a political battle. This is about feeding people. It was finally a meeting with the SF-Marin Food Bank that helped us launch our program. They are a fantastic organization and were willing to take a chance on us. Once we began working with them while continuing to chip away at the negative stigmas, suddenly some doors began to open for us. We are now working with six California food banks and two in Nevada. With their help, we have donated over 1.25 million meals. It's a great start but there is a lot more to do! Hats off to you and your team for donating over 1.25 million meals to the community. Looking ahead, what is your vision for this program over the next three years? Do you plan to expand? One million meals is a milestone, but I still feel as though it is just a drop in the bucket. We will continue to donate one meal for every product sold as long as I am in charge. As we continue to grow the business and begin to expand into other markets, our 1-for-1 program will absolutely come along with us. I would like to see BLOOM FARMS products sold in every legal market in the US, Canada, and Europe over the next three years. It's a big task, but my team is dedicated, and I am more confident than ever that we are up for the challenge.
photo credit: BLOOM FARMS
On August 16th, we are thrilled to partner with BLOOM FARMS for Thursday Infused, a gourmet event series for the canna-curious. Inspired by BLOOM FARMS mission, Thursday Infused also has a give back initiative that focuses on providing fresh and organic foods to the community. For every event held, The Herb Somm donates a portion of event revenues to City Slicker Farms. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowers East Bay Area community members to meet the immediate and basic need for healthy food by creating organic, sustainable, and high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens.
To learn more about Bloom Farms and their exemplary 1-for-1 mission, please visit www.getbloomfarms.com or follow @BloomFarms. For more information about Thursday Infused, please visit www.ThursdayInfused.com.
Peace, Love & Cannabis, The Herb Somm