Reflections from Future of Food: The JEDI Mindset

November 14, 2019 by dev_team




Introducing a Positive Conversation About Diversity in Your Company

OSC2 and the Natural Products Industry Bay Area community gathered Nov. 7 to start the conversation around justice, equity, diversity & inclusion (JEDI) and discuss how companies can get involved with JEDI Collaborative. We had gathering full of passionate JEDI experts, students, CEO’s, founders, culture experts, marketing and sales leaders and beyond.

Because this is a natural products community based project, we commenced the evening with a few audience members sharing their ‘JEDI Why’ statements: Vincent Kitirattragarn – CEO of Dang, Prapti Rana – People Manager at Nutiva, Ryan Honeyman – Lift Economy, Sarah Wallace – CEO of The Good Bean, and Katie Mayfield – Director of People & Change at La Tourangelle. People in our industry believe JEDI work is critical – to reflect our consumer base, support social and environmental justice – it is important to our stakeholders including consumers and our employees.

As an industry of innovators and leaders in our food and agricultural systems, we have a vital business challenge facing us – a lack of diversity of human ingenuity, perspective and talent.  Unless we work to overcome it, we will not be able to forge breakthroughs into new systems, products and services to best meet the demands of our customers in an increasingly multicultural America.  With an industry-wide commitment to justice, diversity, equity and inclusion (JEDI), we can and will attract the best people, the best ideas, and the best way forward toward a more just and prosperous future for all.

We previewed the JEDI Collaborative project including our major commitment areas: consumer, culture, and community, because this work goes beyond human resources. We announced our 7 pilot companies that are helping build case studies for our major JEDI Collaborative industry launch in 2021 at Expo West. A few highlights include: Kuli Kuli increasing diversity in hiring by 67% since embracing the pilot work, REBBL building a JEDI vision statement to guide their work and Nutiva commencing internal employee trainings on unconscious bias and recruitment.

Then we invited our panelists to share their ‘JEDI Why’ statements and commitments to this work.  Sheryl O’Loughlin – former CEO of Clif BarPlum Organics, and REBBL rallied us to think about this as an industry imperative – a huge opportunity for reaching a much bigger market, as she did with Luna Bar (the first bar marketing toward women), and an absolute mandatory when it comes to ensuring resilient and just supply chains, as she and her team focused on at REBBL.

Nikki Silvestri, founder of Soil and Shadow, engaged us in the joy of stepping into the uncomfortable place of human connection in companies. She beautifully articulated the difference between aspirational goals and operational goals when it comes to JEDI work and the importance of acknowledging and stepping into each.

And Steven Naccarato shared his JEDI why as the CEO of Nutiva and the importance of empowering his diverse team, respecting and building a bridge with the broader Richmond community in which they work. He taught us the importance of authentic CEO commitment in effectively embracing this work in order to make progress.

We hope to have fueled an important conversation. Keep up with JEDI Collaborative as we will continue to provide tools and resources to help you take action and ignite positive change in the industry. See below how you can start to get involved now!

A huge thank you to our hosts, Amalgamated Bank for kicking off the evening and creating a productive and engaging space for us to convene!

Take action today!

    • Fill out our Diversity Benchmarking Survey  to help us establish baseline industry data. All answers are confidential. It only takes 5-10 minutes and requires only recall to the best of your knowledge. If some of the questions are difficult to answer, just skip those but please finish the survey.
    • Share our Diversity Benchmarking Survey  with your network. Our goal is to have 500 companies fill out the survey by the end of 2019. Your assistance in sharing the word about the survey is hugely helpful to us! Share on LinkedIn or personally email to your contacts.
    • Become an Early Adopter of this work in 2020. Following our Expo West C-Suite launch we’ll be taking on 10+ Early Adopters of this work. Early Adopters will receive an array of tools and resources to begin JEDI work in their companies. Interested in learning more? Send us an email to get more details on becoming an Early Adopter.
    • Submit a case study on your JEDI work in 2020. Already investing in JEDI initiatives? Wonderful! We’d love to hear more about what you’re doing and highlight your work.
    • Attend the JEDI c-suite launch and programs at Expo West. Please contact us for more information on all the Expo West events we’ll be a part of. Know someone who would like to attend our preview events? Send us an email!


Nikki Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a coaching and consulting firm bringing social and environmental entrepreneurs more impact in their work and joy in their lives. Her wide-ranging career has taken her from presentations at the White House and negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency to intimate workshops with local businesses and small retail organizing. [Learn More]

Sheryl O’Loughlin is an accomplished entrepreneur with  a heart for human rights and mental health advocacy, Sheryl is the co-founder and co-leader of both the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Project and the Women on Boards Product for the natural products industry through OSC2. [Learn More]

Steve Naccarato was a pioneer in the development of organic virgin coconut oil as a successful mass consumer product, helping to launch Nutiva’s coconut oil product line in 2002. His technical expertise not only helped to overcome the packaging and seal security issues inherent in the manufacture of this product, but was also instrumental in developing and maintaining the primary supply from the Philippines. [Learn More]

Lara Dickinson is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of OSC2 (One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community), a group of founders and CEOs working together to support each other’s business growth and more sustainable food solutions. With OSC2, she has launched several industry collaboratives, including the OSC2 Compostable Packaging Collaborative, The Rising Star Chapter, and most recently, the Climate Collaborative. [Learn More]

About JEDI Collaborative
JEDI Collaborativea project of OSC², is forging a path forward on behalf of the natural products industry by redefining the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our entire food ecosystem. Our intent is to take a positive, forward-thinking approach vs. fixing what’s broken. We seek to understand the deeper issues and to devise an outline for the best solutions. We will clarify the systemic issues that require courage and thought leadership and define immediately controllable issues we all can address as an industry and in our day-to-day operations. We will develop a step-by-step approach to serve as a model to facilitate and inspire the industry to commit and take action. We will develop a reporting tool to demonstrate the impact of the project on progress. We believe the benchmark reporting will result in an increase in productivity in an increasingly multicultural marketplace.