Back to the Roots has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019

The company first became known for its simple and popular grow-your-own-mushroom kits. Now it also has a line of organic cereal, but it’s who eats that cereal that’s most interesting. In 2018, the company finished its first full year as the cereal supplier for New York’s public schools, becoming the first organic cereal ever offered in a U.S. public school system. Now it’s working with Nature’s Path & the Urban School Food Alliance to bring organic cereals to 1 in 5 kids by 2020.
https://www.fastcompany.com/company/back-to-the-roots

8 Mission-Driven Companies Reinventing The Packaged Food Industry

Founder and CEO Annie Ryu was inspired to create The Jackfruit Company in the summer of 2011. She was 21 years old and working in India to implement a maternal and child healthcare program that she and her brother had developed. Upon discovering jackfruit, Ryu saw an incredible opportunity to convert an underutilized crop into nutritious, delicious food, while also providing an income opportunity to local farming families. She established the company during her junior and senior years at Harvard, and simultaneously won Harvard’s Women in Business Competition, Harvard’s i3 Innovation Challenge, and the Resolution Project’s Social Venture Challenge, helping to kickstart the support needed to grow the business.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/meimeifox/2019/02/19/8-mission-driven-companies-reinventing-the-packaged-food-industry/#2ab737751d57

Goregaon residents convert waste-to-wealth, develop fruit-vegetable garden

Monisha Narke, founder and chief executive officer, RUR Greenlife said, “This form of circular economy is highly sustainable and is a holistic solution to waste management. It not just results in waste management but also aids in remediation by replenishing nutrients back to soil, mitigates greenhouse gases generated due to transportation of waste from source to landfills.”
https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/goregaon-residents-convert-waste-to-wealth-develop-fruit-vegetable-garden/story-ypvmMswj4rdk6zvwaQ9DQI.html

Sproutel May Be RI’s Most Innovative Company

Providence-based Sproutel has now developed two remarkable — and successful — interactive, smart stuffed toys to assist children with complex health challenges.
https://www.golocalprov.com/business/Sproutel-May-Be-RIs-Most-Innovative-Company-See-What-CEO-Horowitz-Says-t

CleanChoice Energy Launches Clean Furnace Program

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that empowers people and businesses to cut emissions and live cleaner lives, has launched CleanChoice Energy Clean Furnace. The new service allows people to offset the harmful carbon pollution created from their home heating and take an important step towards a carbon neutral home.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cleanchoice-energy-launches-clean-furnace-program-300790835.html

Turning diesel to ink in India

Diesel generators are extensively used in India for power back-up, emitting unburned diesel or soot. In areas where there is no connection to electrical grids, diesel generators are the primary source of energy, and are used on average for eight hours a day. Chakr Innovation aims to cut Delhi’s air pollution levels, largely caused by diesel generator emissions. Such emissions lead to particulate matter density as high as 300 micrograms per cubic metre. At such high levels, soot becomes a danger to human health: the World Health Organization’s safety limit is 23 micrograms per cubic metre.

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/turning-diesel-ink-india

Soupergirl raising funds to fuel post-‘Shark Tank’ growth

After appearing on the program In October, Sara Polon, founder of Washington, D.C.-based soup company Soupergirl, is riding a wave and prepping to raise somewhere between $500,000 and $1.5 million in seed funding to sustain the momentum, the Washington Business Journal reports.
https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/01/soupergirl-raising-funds-to-fuel-post-shark-tank.html?page=all

Tonlé brings zero-waste women’s fashion to SF

This is a process known as zero waste, a radical notion that forward-thinking fashion-industry types are finally waking up to. Faller cuts large scraps down to make clothing like tea-length wrap dresses, coats and tops, while smaller scraps are spun into yarn-like material to be woven into other new clothing. Whatever’s left, even the smallest scraps, is made into gift cards, notebooks and hang tags.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/Tonle-brings-zero-waste-women-s-fashion-to-13550039.php

Three big ideas in food

Mohammad Modarres, founder and chief executive officer of New York-based Abe’s Meats, produced the first-of-its-kind “interfaith meat” in response to a wave of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents following the 2016 presidential election in the United States. He hosted a dinner uniting the Jewish and Muslim communities to tackle the rise in bigotry and learned quickly that serving halal and kosher foods in the same space was a “logistical nightmare and really expensive,” Mr. Modarres said.
https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/13170-three-big-ideas-in-food

Heralding a Sustainable Future: 5 Startups Blazing a Trail in Cleantech & Agritech!

Krimanshi Technologies: International agri-business awardee by the UN and the latest debutant in the Forbes ‘30 under 30’ list, the company upcycles surplus farm and food waste into nutritious cattle feed. Operating in the Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, it supplies cattle feed to 200 farmers every day across Jodhpur, Pali, Nagaur and Bikaner.
https://www.thebetterindia.com/169324/yes-bank-cleantech-agritech-sustainable-future/

Soupergirl aims to change lives

Sara Polon is a University of Pennsylvania graduate who started a food business, changed her life, enlisted help from her family, and swears she is on a mission to deliver happiness to the world and dollars to her bank account.She calls herself Soupergirl.

https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/wires/business/with-a-fire-in-her-belly-and-a-hunger-for-profit-soupergirl-aims-to-change-lives/

Should We Be Eating Bugs?

The watershed moment in the renewed interest in insect protein came in 2013 when the United Nations issued a 200-page report entitled Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security. Greg Sewitz, a co-founder of Exo, a company that produces protein bars that are made with Cricket Flour, was directly inspired by the UN report. A senior at Brown University at the time, Sewitz “was stunned by the realization that the U.S. is one of the only countries with ‘no culture of eating insects.’
https://interestingengineering.com/should-we-be-eating-bugs

LuminAID’s founders built an innovative startup for a brighter future

The Chicago-based company offers portable, long-lasting, solar-powered lighting solutions. After meeting in graduate school while studying architecture and design, they created their company in 2010 on a shared belief that innovative design can be used to tackle real-world problems. Their hypothesis for LuminAID proved true when they were able to deploy the product to help victims of the Haiti earthquake that same year.
https://www.chase.com/news/122118-luminaid-plan-brighter-future

2 Kenyan e-health startups secure grants from Villgro

“The mission of Maisha Meds is to develop systems to improve access to high quality and affordable medicines. We are incredibly excited to work with Villgro in this mission, and have heard wonderful things about the support that Villgro provides companies working to scale health technologies in East Africa,” she said.
http://disrupt-africa.com/2018/12/2-kenyan-e-health-startups-secure-grants-from-villgro/

SOL VISTA Partners with CSD Energy Advisors for Energy Procurement Customer Support

“We have a longstanding relationship with the CSD team and are excited for the value their partnership will add for our Skywalk subscribers. Our customers will have a wider variety of energy supply choices available at lower costs, whether they have one building or a portfolio of properties,” said Shannon Sentman, SOL VISTA CEO & Co-Founder.
https://www.prweb.com/releases/sol_vista_partners_with_csd_energy_advisors_for_energy_procurement_customer_support/prweb15990679.htm

DGridEnergy Heads to East Africa to Build Awareness of the Cold Chain and the Solar Cool Cube Solution

Eugene Faison, CEO of DGridEnergy spent 4 days in Rwanda meeting with agricultural cooperatives, the Ministry of Agriculture of Rwanda, Solar Kiosk, and MTN mobile company in preparation for pilot with a large agriculture cooperative in Kayonza, Rwanda.
http://mentorcapitalnet.org/2018/12/09/dgridenergy-heads-to-east-africa-to-build-awareness-of-the-cold-chain-and-the-solar-cool-cube-solution/

CleanChoice Energy, New Columbia Solar launch largest community solar portfolio in Washington, D.C.

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that provides wind and solar energy products to customers across the country, and New Columbia Solar, one of the District’s largest solar energy companies, have launched a partnership to bring community solar to residents of the District of Columbia. CleanChoice Energy Community Solar will make 1.825 MW of proposed community solar capacity available to consumers. The overall portfolio represents the largest opening of community solar ever in Washington, D.C. CleanChoice Energy Community Solar customers have the opportunity to save money on their utility bills with no upfront costs while supporting local solar projects. CleanChoice is accepting subscribers from anywhere in the District.
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/11/cleanchoice-energy-new-columbia-solar-community-solar-portfolio/

New fecal treatment plant to ease sewer crisis in Naivasha

The ultra-modern plant, christened Sanivation Fecal Sludge Plant, was put up by Sanivation in collaboration with Naivasha Water, Sewerage and Sanitation Company (Naivawas).
Sanivation is a social enterprise organisation whose main preoccupation is to improve the overall dignity, health, and environment of urbanising communities in East Africa through delivering clean, safe and efficient sanitation services.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001304411/new-fecal-treatment-plant-to-ease-sewer-crisis-in-naivasha

ArchPoint Group acquires Watusee Foods

US business Watusee Foods, which makes products based on chick peas, has been acquired by local products and professional services company ArchPoint Group for an undisclosed sum.
https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/12939-archpoint-group-acquires-watusee-foods

South Mumbai society recycles 90% of its waste, thanks to this teen environment crusader

Dr. Aparna Pandey, senior research and development associate, RUR Greenlife, a waste management service in Mumbai, said, “Majumder’s interest and effort in the project has been commendable in terms of scientific monitoring and sensitisation of residents and staff about waste management. She is a living example of an eco-conscious Mumbaiite.”
https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/south-mumbai-society-recycles-90-of-its-waste-thanks-to-this-teen-environment-crusader/story-yIVagbjIBK3o3eMjOwdMHJ.html

It’s buzzing here!

Yes, it’s literally buzzing here at our Fargreen farms! We’ve just included a bee component in our farm ecosystem. So now, besides our delicious mushrooms, natural veggies and local rice produced in our signature closed-loop model, we’re also serving natural honey and it fits in the loop, too.
http://www.far-green.com/en/blog-en/2018/4/15/buzzing-far-by-buzzing-green

Better together: Why some food companies enter into partnerships

Now Nature’s Path, the largest organic cereal company in the U.S., runs the ingredient sourcing, distribution, manufacturing and supply chain aspects of Back to the Roots cereal. Items such as Back to the Roots Biodynamic Cinnamon Flakes still belong to Back to the Roots. Recipes and packages won’t be changed without Back to the Roots approval. But, Arora said, those products now will benefit from the category expertise of a longtime leader.
https://www.fooddive.com/news/better-together-why-some-food-companies-enter-into-partnerships/539411/

Mexican pottery advocates Colectivo 1050° innovate with traditional crafts

Since 2009, the Oaxaca-based organization Innovando la Tradición has been invested in rethinking the imperatives of clay-based crafts, while promoting sustainable practices. Besides running educational activities across potters’ communities in the region, the group’s commercial branch, Colectivo 1050°, identifies opportunities for the distribution of handmade objects to contemporary and high-end markets. AN Interior contributor Benoît Loiseau speaks with cofounder Diego Mier y Terán about the organization’s challenges and hopes.
https://archpaper.com/2018/10/an-interior-interviews-mexican-pottery-colectivo-1050/

GOEFER launches energy-saving technology pilot program

FREDERICK, Md. — Early-stage technology company GOEFER teamed up with ROOT’s five partner organizations to conduct a pilot program of the company’s proprietary energy technology, which analyzes energy usage and gives users greater control.
https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/business/goefer-launches-energy-saving-technology-pilot-program/article_051b797d-a707-54e1-b1ab-1a5ec1c0e954.html

Durham-based Optimal Solar Takes Top Prize at Black Founders Exchange

As winner of the pitch contest that concluded the Black Founders Exchange Program at American Underground on Friday, Parker was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet potential investors, as well as an offer to join venture capital firm Backstage Capital’s three-month incubator program.
https://grepbeat.com/2018/10/01/durham-based-optimal-solar-takes-top-prize-at-black-founders-exchange/

Refashioning the fashion industry

The textile and clothing industries continue to be the backbone of Cambodia’s export-driven economy, employing 800,000 people around the country, which is 86 percent of all its factory workers, and contributing 40 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country is also home to Sustainability Champion, Tonlé, one of the frontrunners in processing pre-consumer waste.
https://theaseanpost.com/article/refashioning-fashion-industry

African innovation scores wins at 2018 MIT Solve Global Challenge finals

Access Afya runs a chain of micro-clinics in Nairobi’s informal settlements. The startup was founded in 2012 by Melissa Menke. Access Afya’s Akiba ya Roho initiative — a comprehensive diabetes and hypertension management programme — scored the social enterprise a place on the 2018 MIT Solver class.
http://ventureburn.com/2018/09/mit-solve-africa/

African innovation scores wins at 2018 MIT Solve Global Challenge finals

Akiba ya Roho (Melissa Menke, Kenya): Access Afya’s Akiba ya Roho programme helps trained community members conduct mass non-communicable disease screenings in slums with a mobile app which guides users through a series of simple health questions, and community members take basic measurements like blood sugar and pressure.
https://ventureburn.com/2019/05/african-innovators-mit-solve-event/

Indian startup turns air pollution into ink

Arpit Dhupar knows that only too well. He grew up in Delhi and developed breathing problems at a young age. Now 25 and a mechanical engineer, he has taken on the fight against pollution by tackling diesel generators.
https://www.dw.com/en/indian-startup-turns-air-pollution-into-ink/a-45664168

Meet the tech whiz building robotic teddy bears to comfort sick kids

The experience sparked the idea for Jerry the Bear, an adorable robot teddy that simulates symptoms of Type 1 diabetes — including fluctuating blood sugar, bathroom urgency and feelings of dizziness. It’s designed so kids can better understand their own health and help normalize their experiences.
https://nypost.com/2018/09/27/meet-the-tech-whiz-building-robotic-teddy-bears-to-comfort-sick-kids/

Tippy Tippens and All Things Good

I hadn’t heard the term social entrepreneurship before coming to New Orleans. When I did, it really clicked with me – I realized that this is exactly what I want to do. To use my design skills to do good for the world, to help change things for the better. It inspired me to start my company, where all of our products give back and are made of eco-friendly materials.
https://dno.la/blogs/journal/do-your-thing-tippy-tippens-and-all-things-good

Ayzh founder Zubaida Bai on the ‘birth kits’ helping women in rural India have hygienic deliveries

Ayzh (pronounced ‘eyes’) is a for-profit venture that is perhaps best known for its JANMA birthing kit. The kit, which is aimed at rural women in areas where healthcare and sanitation are often a low priority, includes the tools necessary to have a hygienic birth in the presence of a doctor or midwife. The expectant mother is given the jute purse after delivery for her own use, which Bai sees as an advocacy tool that furthers the movement for cleaner births.
https://www.firstpost.com/life/ayzh-founder-zubaida-bai-on-the-birth-kits-helping-women-in-rural-india-have-hygienic-deliveries-5236291.html

Women And Power: The eco warrior Lorna Rutto

The ban on logging and the need to preserve the environment from the harmful effects of plastic waste have presented eco warrior Lorna Rutto, with the perfect incentive to turn waste into cash. Through her company, Eco- Post, Lorna is doing her bit to salvage the country’s forest cover, while keeping the land free from plastic waste. I spent time with this eco-preneur and found out, that apart from creating jobs in an endevour to create a clean environment, Lorna is living her dream. Her story is the subject of this week’s Women and Power with Gladys Gachanja.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=sEsp9Ms2d4c

From bean to bar: The Bay Area’s chocolate revolution

On the commodity market, there’s no such thing as a high quality cacao bean. All beans are treated as equal, and their price is usually set very low. So the only way most cacao farmers can make more money is by selling more beans, and with the push for increased quantity comes inevitable exploitation.
http://www.kalw.org/post/bean-bar-bay-area-s-chocolate-revolution