We are taking stock of climate action in 2020 and what's ahead for the industry through a series of interviews with the 2020 National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative Awards winners. Erin Callahan sat down with Tucker Garrison and Philip Matthew, Co-Founders at Imlak'esh Organics, winner of the 2020 Outstanding Value Chain Engagement Award. Imlak'esh Organics are importers and distributors of superfoods ethically sourced from small-scale organic farmers around the world. (View our previous interviews with Numi Organic Tea, Outpost Natural Foods, and Stonyfield Organic).
You can watch the full video or catch up on specific topics we covered at the timestamps below:
- At 2:00: What has this past year in climate action looked like for Imlak'esh and their supply chain? How have you had to pivot? What have been your takeaways?
"Covid was incredibly challenging and impactful on our supply chain. And at the same time, I feel incredibly lucky, one of the big learning lessons for us that came out of this is that relationships are everything, and when you take care of people, they take care of you." – Tucker Garrison
- At 4:30: Our industry is filled with small but mighty companies. What have been the enabling factors that have allowed Imlak'esh to go deep into regenerative agricultural practices despite their size?
"Find people that really care about doing this work, but need assurances of purchasing, that need potentially additional support from a technical expertise standpoint, but more than anything, it's about listening." – Tucker Garrison
- At 7:00: Learn about what Imlak'esh has been particularly proud of this past year with their cacao farmers. Their volume of purchasing has increased alongside the number of farmers practicing regenerative practices.
- At 10:00: What has you excited about the next year? What are you really looking to dig into with the industry and beyond?
“One area I'm really excited about is packaging. Taking the plastic out of the supply chain. We launched the pouch, which is a plant based material. By no means perfect, but absolutelty a step in the right direction.” – Philip Matthew