VIDEO: OlyKraut – A food company for our next systems

For too long, most food companies have worked against us.

Driven by the sole goal of making money for their shareholders, they make foods that are unhealthy and addicting. They market misinformation to children to try and get them hooked early. Their production processes often destroy ecosystems that farmers have relied on for centuries. They often keep animals in small cages their whole lives and submit them to constant abuse and pain.

Most food companies simply want to make money, no matter the cost to their own customers’ health or that of the planet.


Simply put, their business model is take advantage of and harm the people and things that make their business possible.

Here’s the good news: many of us are waking up to this. We are looking for ways to break this cycle and make our eating habits healthy, sustainable, and mindful. We are looking for conscious companies that do business the right way – doing well by doing good.

So where are all the conscious food companies?

One of them can be found in my neck of the woods: just south down I-5 in Olympia.

OlyKraut makes raw, fermented foods – sauerkraut, brine, pickles, and more – that promote healthy gut function. By intentionally making food that promotes health and well-being, they are already way ahead of the curve.

But not only is OlyKraut’s food itself healing, so is the way they do business.

This past year, OlyKraut purchased 50,000 pounds of cabbage from farmers in Olympia’s surrounding food system. In doing so, they help create an engine of economic prosperity in the Olympia area. Olympians buy raw, fermented foods from OlyKraut. OlyKraut buys cabbage and other produce from farmers in the surrounding areas. OlyKraut hires folks from the Olympia community. And folks from the Olympia community love and support OlyKraut. Truly, a virtuous circle!

Through my Management class at Pinchot thing Spring, some classmates and I had the opportunity to speak with Sash Sunday and others from OlyKraut about what makes the company so special.

We found is that it isn’t just that they make a healthy product. It isn’t just that they make food sustainably. It isn’t just that they treats their people with respect and give them an opportunity to grow and thrive.

It’s that OlyKraut does all of these things. Healing and sustainability are baked (scratch that: fermented) into all aspects of the business: the product, the organization, and the community and system in which the organization operates.

This alignment (among the organization’s “3 Lines of Work”) is what makes OlyKraut truly conscious, sustainable, and an active and powerful part of our next systems. By weaving their intention and values through all aspects of work, OlyKraut reveals their purpose, the thing that motivates them beyond simply money.

So there’s one next systems food company. Do you know of any others?

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