At Rhythm Superfoods we’re passionate about fostering food education, encouraging healthy habits and positively impacting the environment, both at our headquarters in Austin, Texas and our manufacturing plants and farms in Mexico. Our impact begins and ends with our products and mission to bring nutrient-rich snacks to consumers. We realize that there are many areas of sustainability where we can have a positive impact. We’ve chosen to focus our sustainability initiatives around farming, manufacturing, packaging and community involvement.
The below provides an outline and brief overview of our sustainability initiatives:
More specifically, our farmer scorecard mentioned holds our farming partners accountable for the following organic and regenerative agriculture practices:
- Cover Crop: A cover crop is a plant that is used primarily to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help control pests and diseases and overall increase the biodiversity of farms. Farmers can receive the highest score in this area when at least 90% of the farmed land is covered by a cover crop.
- Crop Rotation: Farmers can receive the most points in this area if the following is adhered to:
- They participate in crop rotation in more than 80% of their growing acreage
- The crops used for rotation are well adapted to the climate and help improve the long-term productivity and health of the soil.
- The crop used minimizes erosion, pests and possible disease to the land/crops and adds organic matter to the soil.
- Shipping: Through our farmer scorecard, we ask that our farmers ship our produce in reusable plastic crates (RPCs) and ship full loads.
- Irrigation: We ask that our farmers implement drip irrigation and rainwater collection systems. A rainwater collection system is a tank or cistern that stores rainwater for later use. To receive the highest points, farmers must grow crops that are native to the land and can grow naturally with the climate.
- Nutrient Management Plan: Being USDA Organic Certified is a requirement to the mission and ethos of Rhythm Superfoods, and thus we make it a priority that our farmers only use USDA Organic approved nutrients and follow the 4 R’s of nutrient stewardship described below:
- Right Source: Fertilizers match the type the crop needs.
- Right Rate: Fertilizer amount matches what the crop needs.
- Right Time: Nutrients are available when the crop needs them.
- Right Place: Nutrients are placed where crops can use them.
- Integrated Pest Management: All pesticides must be justified and follow the list of allowed and prohibited pesticides for USDA Organic Certification.
- Soil Sampling: To ensure that the soil is in good health, we conduct independent soil sampling tests with our farmers at least once a year and always before planting a new crop.
- Wage: To positively impact the families, communities and employees of our farmers, we ask that all farmers pay a living wage.
We are committed to work with our Farmer Partners so that by the end of 2020, all our farmers will score an 85% or higher on our sustainability scorecard. We will work with our farmers who are currently below the 85% to help them achieve the 85% score in regenerative agriculture practices and make improvements to their sustainability processes.
In addition to farming, the three other areas we focus on for our sustainability initiatives are: manufacturing, packaging and community involvement.
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by way of Solar Panels – By the end of 2020, 15% of our electricity used will be powered by solar panels. We will continue to add more Solar Panels annually to continue to increase this percentage.
- Water Usage – By the end of 2020, we will increase our water recycling program by 15%
- Carbon Footprint – In order to continuously monitor and improve our sustainability practices, we will annually measure our carbon footprint and reduce it by at least 5% each year starting in 2020.
- Social Audit – By the end of Q3 2020, we will have conducted social audits at all of our manufacturing plants ensuring that our plants are following fair labor, health and safety regulations as defined by an ethical audit.
- We have yet to find a recyclable or compostable film packaging option that protects our products from light, moisture and oxygen, which is what keeps our products safe and shelf-stable. We will continue to look for a recyclable or compostable packaging options that fit our products.
- We will continue to use corrugate shipping cases and displays that are 100% recyclable.
- Currently we partner with St. Elmo Elementary School in Austin, Texas where we help to foster food education by way of building gardens with the students and faculty and help to teach and encourage healthy habits of the community. By the end of 2020, we will have added another school garden partnership.
- We will continue to support the Central Texas Food Bank through 120+ volunteering hours per year (20,000+ meals per year), product donations and social media support.
We’re excited for this next year and to see the positive impact we can have in the many communities we touch. Stay tuned on our as we will be updating our community regularly on our progress towards our goals.