Amongst cool season grasses, a herd of bison, and a hundred thousand honey bees, this spring marked the birth of our first annual Impact Summit at ROAM Ranch! Over a year in the making, this summit was brought to life with the intention of hosting a collaborative planning session with fellow leading food brands focused on driving positive impact on the planet. The event was designed to be a celebration to share ideas, collaborate on accelerating mission, plan to continue pioneering in the natural foods community, and win big together as a force of positive change in agriculture. With a small yet powerful group of mission-driven brands invited, the event was attended by 15 thought leaders from EPIC, Annie’s, Cascadian Farm, and Muir Glen Organic. Additional attendees included Soil Health leadership from The Natural Resources Conservation Services, the founder of Two Hives Honey, and leadership representation from General Mills.
The first annual Impact Summit was a game changing two-day event that combined hands-on workshops with honest conversations about how to maximize efforts to restoring the ecological health of our planet! Breakout sessions included honey bee hive tours, a field walk to evaluate soil health, demonstration sites of positive animal impact, a rainfall simulator workshop, and a live chicken harvesting prior to dinner. These field sessions were intended to demonstrate first-hand the powerful effects of appropriate land management and agricultural systems that emulate the complexity and diversity present in nature.
In between field sessions, the group rallied at our homestead to collaboratively take deep dives into topics such as celebrating the triple bottom line approach to business (people, planet, profit), understanding the value of deep rooted perennials in crop production, the importance of driving regenerative agricultural production models, and framing the value of driving mission and impact in business. All meetings positioned this group of disruptive thinkers to end the summit with a four-hour brainstorming session focused on identifying opportunities to drive positive impact together and plan to execute on a united vision. Attendees left the Impact Summit feeling inspired and ready to “charge into the storm” together, bigger and stronger than ever.
When Katie and I agreed to be purchased by General Mills, we did so with the dream of scaling our environmental impact by influencing this massive organization from within. What we’ve learned, and the Impact Summit proved, is that we’re not alone on that mission. The partnership we saw in Fredericksburg is laying the groundwork for impact beyond our wildest dreams but will require the passion and spirit of the entire organization. We couldn’t be more honored and excited to have y'all on board.