Our social entrepreneurs innovations support the sustainable use of our planet’s natural resources,
improve local food systems, harness renewable energy, reduce plastic waste and mitigate the risks of climate change.
We invest in sustainability leaders
Annie RyuFounder, The Jackfruit Company
The mission of The Jackfruit Company is to transform healthy eating, farmers’ livelihoods, and humanity’s eco-footprint for the better.
Annie is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest supplier of jackfruit products. While attending Harvard, Annie discovered the jackfruit plant as part of her work in India to implement a maternal and child healthcare program she developed with her brother. In discovering jackfruit, Annie saw an incredible opportunity to convert an underutilized crop to nutritious, delicious food, and income and opportunity for farming families. In 2015, Annie launched The Jackfruit Company, introducing U.S. consumers to this innovative, plant-based meat alternative in ready-to-eat formats. The Jackfruit Company’s products are available today at retailers from coast-to-coast and feature a variety of options, including meal starter pouches, frozen ripe jackfruit and single-serve frozen entrees. In addition to achieving many accolades while attending Harvard, Annie was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurs in 2017.
THE SOCIAL ISSUE
The Jackfruit Company is providing income for Indian farming families and diminishing the carbon footprint associated with meat-consumption.
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Tom McDougallFounder, 4P Foods
Purpose, People, Planet, Profit – The four P’s of 4P Foods. Their Purpose is to create a just and equitable food system in the United States. This can be done by ensuring that all people have access to farm-fresh, healthy food, grown using sustainable and humane practices and that the people who produce that food are able to earn a fair and dignified living doing so.
Tom was born and raised in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. He grew to love the rolling country, and learned to question the suburban sprawl that took over one cow pasture after another around his childhood home. After moving to DC and reading one too many Michael Pollan books, he found himself on a life-changing path of working towards food systems change. He is the founder of 4P Foods, a benefit corporation that works with over 100 local farms, delivering their sustainably produced food to customers in and around DC. Tom is a fierce advocate for True Cost Accounting as a resource to change the conversation around what, ultimately, is the true purpose of business. His favorite vegetable? Kohlrabi.
THE SOCIAL ISSUE
4P Foods is addressing food security, which is key in sustainability all around the world. Creating sustainable food systems is one of the ways in which the world can continue to tackle food wastage and food deserts.
Mary AckleyFounder, Little Wild Things Farm
Little Wild Things City Farm produces soil-grown microgreens, shoots, and edible flowers on less than one-quarter acre in the heart of Washington, D.C.
Mary discovered her love of plants in a graduate school botany course at the University of Vermont. Later, she began experimenting with urban gardening while living overseas for her job with the U.S. Foreign Service. She continued to garden when she returned to Washington, D.C. in 2013 where she was a founding member of the Harry Thomas Community Garden in Eckington. Mary was a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji from 2003-05, holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Natural Resources Management, and previously worked in international development living and traveling all over the world including assignments in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C.
THE SOCIAL ISSUE
Little Wild Things Farm is proving that environmentally sustainable, commercially viable farming is possible in urban landscapes. They aim to demonstrate that farming is a desirable career for the best and brightest of the next generation, and seek to develop relationships with customers who share these values to create a transformative impact on our local food system.
Noah Wilson-RichFounder, The Best Bees Company
Best Bees is a beekeeping service that installs and manages beehives for home gardens and city rooftops nationwide.
Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D. is a biologist, professor, NYTimes, LATimes and National Geographic contributor, two-time TEDx speaker, beekeeper and uncle. He has 20 academic publications with Harvard, Tufts, MIT, and Northeastern.
THE SOCIAL ISSUE
The Best Bees Company works to tackle one of the most pressing issues in our current climate; sustainability of our environment through preserving our bees so we can have a healthy ecosystem. By working on sustaining and increasing our bees, our environment can continue to excel and the ecosystem can begin to recover from the damage that humanity has inflicted on it thus far. By making use of our “city type” environment- rooftops and gardens to sustain homes for bees, the Best bees Company is working to create sustainable city environments.This is extremely important as we continue to modernize we must sustain environments for our bees to continue pollinating flowers and moving our ecosystem.