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Dr. Bronner’s recognizes Gero Leson of Special Operations and Mike Stacy of Global Sales for their Roles in Growing the Brand

We’re pleased to announce the promotion of two key staff members to Vice President positions, after over 10 years of service each to the company.  Gero Leson has been promoted from Director of Special Operations to Vice President. Mike Stacy has been promoted from Director of Global Sales to Vice President.

“As recognition of their dedication and accomplishments, and to properly reflect their ongoing service to the company, my brother David and I are honored to promote our close colleagues Gero Leson and Mike Stacy to Vice President,” says Michael Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s.   “These two titans are the backbones of our supply chain and sales operations and have been essential to our growth, development, and corporate culture.  Mike and Gero are the first at the company to have the title of Vice President who aren’t named Bronner, but they might as well be family members the way they embody our values and purpose.”

Gero Leson, Vice President of Special Operations began working with Dr. Bronner’s in 2005, helping the company transition to sourcing all of its major ingredients directly from certified fair trade and organic projects. When the company, concerned about potential labor abuse and exploitation in its supply chain, could not identify willing third party suppliers or existing certification for its main ingredients, it enlisted Leson to build a new supply chain from the ground up. This resulted in the creation of Dr. Bronner’s sister companies: Serendipalm in Ghana for palm oil; Serendipol in Sri Lanka for coconut oil; and Serendicoco in Samoa; as well as close partnerships with independent operations such as Canaan Fair Trade in Palestine and Creation Biotech in India.

Leson, who holds a PhD in environmental science and engineering, manages the establishment of new production facilities and oversees ongoing sourcing operations and related community development endeavors such as local education, healthcare, and environmental infrastructure projects. He also coordinates the sale of products from Dr. Bronner’s own projects to other companies who are committed to fair and sustainable supply chains. Dr. Bronner’s Special Operations team, led by Leson, focuses on the education of farmers in developing practices such as composting, cover cropping and mulching, that not only build up soil fertility and organic matter, increasing yields and profits for small farmers, but also aid local communities’ resiliency to heat waves and storms, thus mitigating the effects of climate change. Overall, Dr. Bronner’s fair trade projects around the world are estimated to directly benefit 25,000 farmers, employees, and their families—improving livelihoods while simultaneously regenerating soil.

In addition to his role in creating Dr. Bronner’s supply chain from the ground up, Leson has played a key role in helping the company connect to and explore its ancestral roots in his own birthplace of Germany—in the towns of Laupheim and Heilbronn. He also worked closely with company President and co-owner Michael Bronner to establish Dr. Bronner’s Germany, Dr. Bronner’s sister company and base of operations in Europe. In the last five years, the German operation has grown to $2.8 million in annual sales.

Mike Stacy, Vice President of Global Sales joined Dr. Bronner’s in 2006 as the sole employee of the sales department and was tasked with building and managing the entirety of national sales operations for the brand. Since 2006, as Director of Sales, Stacy has grown the sales department to a team of 36 staff, serving the United States, while he also plays a key role in overseeing successful growth in international markets such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

When Stacy joined the company in 2006, a third party broker network coordinated national sales, and revenue totaled just over $18 million per year. At the end of 2017, Dr. Bronner’s sales were managed entirely from within the company, and totaled more than $111 million in sales.

Stacy’s 20+ years of sales and broker experience in the natural products industry has been essential to Dr. Bronner’s rapid and sustained growth over the last ten years. Notably, Dr. Bronner’s has continued its history of utilizing little-to-no advertising and relying entirely on word of mouth, strong customer relations, and unique in-store cause marketing efforts related to the promotion of hemp farming, fair trade, GMO labeling, wage equality, and other causes to grow the brand. Stacy has been a guiding force in the creation and expansion of other departments at Dr. Bronner’s, which have been necessary as a result of the brand’s success.

A heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Mike Stacy and Gero Leson!

The post Honoring the Work of Mike Stacy and Gero Leson appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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If the deliciously comforting smell wafting from the bubbly cooking pot doesn’t already lure you, the hearty, homey taste of your finished dish absolutely will. Likely, you’re familiar with the joy of split pea soup, but the pleasure of this clean creation is something you don’t want to miss. Humble ingredients like onion, carrots, potato, peas, and water, combine with two powerhouses of flavor: rich coconut oil, which adds a depth to the vegetables, and yellow miso paste, which offers a salty, umami undertone. At the last minute, a bounty of fresh kale is added, which immediately becomes tender in the hot soup, and is a wonderful toothsome compliment to the sea of melt-away peas.

Note: With a little help from an immersion blender at the end of cooking, this soup can be served either chunky or smooth, or anywhere in between. I usually like to puree about half of the soup to create an extra creamy base while retaining a bit of texture.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons miso paste
8 cups water, divided (or more as needed)
2 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound yukon gold potatoes, diced
1½ cups dry split peas
3 large kale leaves, stems removed, leaves chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the miso paste with ½ cup of water until dissolved. Set aside.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, warm the Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Oil over medium heat.

Add the onions and carrots, and cook until well softened, about 9-10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute longer.

Mix in the potatoes and split peas, then add the miso mixture and the remaining 7½ cups of water. Stir to combine, and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 60-70 minutes, or until the peas are very soft and partially dissolved, adding a little more water during cooking if needed.

Add the kale, along with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste), and cook for one minute longer, or until kale turns bright green. Remove from heat. If desired, use an immersion blender to partially or fully puree the soup.

 Adjust seasonings and water if needed, and serve warm.

Covered and refrigerated, Split Pea & Kale Soup will last for up to 5 days.

The post Split Pea and Kale Soup appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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Since 2005, Dr. Bronner’s has shifted supplies of the vast majority of its main raw materials—coconut, palm, olive, mint oils—to organic and fair trade sources. Now, we are supporting our partners in their move to regenerative organic agriculture. One example is Creation Biotech, our partners in Bareilly, India, some 170 miles east of Delhi. Creation Biotech supplies Dr. Bronner’s with organic and fair trade mint oil. The project now works with more than 1,200 farmers, on farms that average less than 2 acres. Members of Dr. Bronner’s Special Operations team visited the project In November 2017 to plan next steps in implementing regenerative organic agriculture on the ground.

A key element of the program is the recently launched centralized compost operation—it will eventually supply farmers with about 10,000 tons a year of subsidized compost. This compost will be used to increase the biomass content in the depleted soils, build soil fertility, foster microbial life and facilitate sequestration of atmospheric carbon. The hardware for the project was funded by the German development agency GIZ, while Dr. Bronner’s staff and consultants (such as Soil and More) provide technical advice.  Compost is a low cost, but highly impactful tool for farmers that helps them increase yields, improve their soil’s water-holding capacity  and build resiliency in the face of climate change.

Many Creation Biotech farmers have already used vermicompost, a compost process that utilizes worms, which they produce in simple pits at their homes and on their farms. It serves as a fertilizer and top dressing when planting new crops. Many of these vermicompost pits are located near village farms. Farmers pour the concrete pad for the compost pit, while protective netting and posts are financed by the fair trade premium—an additional 10% that is charged to mint oil buyers and which can go to finance projects such as this.

Minimizing soil distrubance is an important aspect to any regenerative organic farm. Regular heavy tilling, like plowing, destroys soil structure, disturbs microbial populations and sends carbon into the atmosphere. Creation Biotech farmers are testing new conservation tillage technqiues and tools, like roller-crimpers, harrows and no-till seed drills, to minimize soil disturbance and preserve soil organic matter. The local fabrication of conservation tillage equipment was also paid for through the GIZ grant.

November in Uttar Pradesh is lentil harvesting season. Creation Biotech farmers have increasingly begun to plant lentils and other legumes (such as beans and peas) in their crop rotation. Aside from providing a healthy, plant-based protein source, legumes play an important role in regenerative organic agriculture. They sequester atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into organic nitrogen fertilizer, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizer while stabilizing soils. Diversifying crop rotations can also reduce pest pressure. Delphi Organic, a German importer of organic products, joined us on the November visit to Bareilly and have shown great interest in sourcing some of their organic and fair trade legumes from Creation Biotech.

Creation Biotech farmers have also begun planting cover crops on their fields. Keeping fields covered as much as possible is a core principle in regenerative organic agriculture. Cover crops can play a key role in reducing erosion, fixing atmospheric nitrogen, building soil structure, suppressing weeds and generating biomass. This Creation Biotech farmer has grown a cover crop of Dhaincha during an otherwise fallow period. The Dhaincha (also known as Sesbania) is another legume, which can either be folded into the soil as a “green manure,” or harvested for use as fiber or animal feed.

Since its formation in 2015, Creation Biotech has also made great strides in community develoopment. In addition to agricultural projects, such as vermicompost pits, Creation Biotech has facilitated and funded medical camps, the construction of home toilets and the distribution of water coolers for drinking water. These projects were paid for by the fair trade premium received from Dr. Bronner’s, Creation Biotech’s primary buyer of organic mint oil. Another project targets development of skills and income opportunities for women. Many women in Bareilly and its surrounding communities make sarees for the domestic and international marketplace. Creation Biotech has been working with women artisans to improve their working conditions through better tools and lighting. This kind of skills development, along with an extensive capacity building program for farmers to teach regenerative skills, is a key element in the overall regenerative program funded by GIZ.

The post Indian Mint Farmers Advance Regenerative Organic Agriculture appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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This past November, my family and I had the pleasure of visiting The Gentle Barn during their annual Thanksgiving Day vegan dinner, along with hundreds of others who attended the event. The Gentle Barn is located on a beautiful six-acre property in Santa Clarita, California—with wide open pastures for horses and cows and storybook-styled red and white barnyards for their smaller animals such as pigs, chickens and turkeys. The sanctuary, with panoramic views of mountains, has every farm animal you can imagine. This peaceful setting is the perfect place for rescue animals to live out their purpose and for visitors to open their hearts to these animals, learn about their stories and reconnect with nature.

A place like The Gentle Barn goes beyond just letting visitors pet and feed the animals. Every animal has a story, and no visitor leaves without knowing their stories. By sharing their stories, The Gentle Barn makes visitors’ experiences more meaningful. When I heard Ellie Laks, the founder of The Gentle Barn, speak at the Thanksgiving event I immediately wanted to learn more about her and what inspired her to open The Gentle Barn. I recently sat down with Ellie to learn more about her and the organization she founded:

What is The Gentle Barn and how did it begin? 

I started rescuing animals when I was 7 years old. I grew up in the East Coast and always found myself helping animals. Whether it was a bird, squirrel, cat, dog, I would bring them home and when I went to school my parents would put them outside. I would get upset and would tell my parents that when I grow up, I will have a house full of animals.

About 18 years ago I was visiting a petting zoo in CA and witnessed the horrific condition the animals were in. Ponies were forced to give rides in extreme heat with no water, animals were forced to entertain and were not properly cared for. I wanted to run out of there and as I was exiting I saw a goat by the door who looked like he was begging for help.  I couldn’t leave him behind so I asked the owner if I can take him and the owner said no. So, I went home that night, felt defeated but decided I was not going to feel that way and went back. I kept going back for 12 days straight until the owners agreed to let me take the goat home. That is how my rescue for farm animals started.

Why do you do this work?  How do they stay inspired?

Animals always saved me and I found peace and solace with them. I always felt very passionate about animals. So much so that I was teased about it in school, which isolated me further and made my passion for animals grow stronger. The goal of Gentle Barn is for people to connect with animals and change the hearts and minds of those who spend time with the animals. The goal is not to rescue as many animals as possible but to instill empathy and compassion in the visitors so they carry that in them in their daily lives.

The animals are what keeps me inspired. I have the same passion today as when I was seven. The animals have gratitude, they are healers and we do our best to show this to the visitors that come through The Gentle Barn.

What kind of animals do you have at The Gentle Barn? What can we learn from them?

We have mostly farm animals—horses, cows, llamas, pigs, chickens, etc. We want visitors to know that animals are healers, they have compassion and love to give. They have various traits and ways to connect with us that we don’t see. We live in a concrete jungle driven by technology—we live without being connected to animals and nature. We’re eating, living and wearing violence. In order for this world to improve and for human survival, we need to reconnect back to nature and all its elements.

What sort of community outreach programs do you have?

The goal of The Gentle Barn is to get in front of as many people as possible so we run various programs. We work with schools within a 50-mile radius, so on weekday mornings we have visitors from school field trips. In the afternoon we host an At-Risk Youth program where many of the animals share similar pasts as the children. The children see first-hand how these animals have overcome their pasts and these animals end up serving as role models for these children.  While the children overcome their own past through this program, they also become more empathetic and compassionate towards animals.

Do you have an interesting story or a favorite story to share?

We rescued a cow named Karma from a backyard butcher who we were trying to shut down for some time. On her first day at The Gentle Barn, Karma kept crying all day long and all night and we couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t take her crying anymore so in the middle of the night I went down to the barn to see what was going on and that is when I saw that she was dripping milk, she was crying for baby. The next day we went back to the butcher to get the calf who was already sold and loaded onto a truck. The truck was not working so my husband, Jay, made a deal with the driver that he will fix their truck if they let him have the calf. They shook on it and he fixed the truck and was able to get the calf off the truck. Karma was reunited with her baby and we have never seen anything like this—her baby collapsed twice at the sight of her mother! Eventually she was able to nurse. This was one of the most memorable moments we had at The Gentle Barn.

During this time, Karma was also pregnant and gave birth shortly after to a new calf.  We had about 20 cows that we rescued when the new calf was born. While Karma was giving birth, the cows formed a perfect circle around her and when the calf was born, the cows formed a perfect line and one by one greeted the new calf. It was amazing to watch and we saw first-hand how family-oriented cows are—and they all took part in raising the little calf.

What do we want people to understand and take away from this project?

Come and fall in love with animals. Meet them, learn how to cuddle with a chicken, know what resilience, forgiveness, trust and love really means and really is.

Do you promote veganism/eating less meat?

We promote evolving into a plant-based diet. We gently introduce the idea by first telling a story of each animal in a matter-of-fact, neutral way which describes the conditions they went through and gives people an understanding of what that animal survived, in hopes that it will instill compassion and empathy. Every Sunday I give a presentation in our amphitheater about eating a plant-based diet and it ends with a vegan lunch. We take a gentle approach to introducing veganism without making someone feel uncomfortable.

Any way that people can learn more about your work and the organization?

I have a new book out called My Gentle Barn that is a memoir recounting my personal journey towards founding this organization. You can find it on our website here.

The post The Gentle Barn: Opening Hearts to Rescued Farm Animals appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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What’s Next for Sustainable Agriculture?

Beginning in 2003, Dr. Bronner’s committed to sourcing all major raw materials for its products from organic farms. It was apparent to the company’s leadership that industrial agriculture, with its unchecked use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, was doing great harm to our planet: from nitrogen and phosphorus-fueled dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico that are the result of fertilizer runoff, to colony collapse disorder in bees that is the result of the rampant use of neonicotinoid pesticides, industrial agriculture’s toll on ecosystems and wildlife is tragic in its scale and scope. Organic agriculture, which eschews use of chemicals, synthetic pesticides, GMOs and petroleum-based fertilizers, has provided a crucial alternative to the disaster of large-scale industrial agriculture.

Nearly 15 years later, the understanding of what constitutes good farming practices has come a long way. Farmers, scientists and activists are converging on the idea that organic agriculture must be not only sustainable but also regenerative: farmers must nurture the soil—the fundamental medium on which agriculture depends. The complex science of soil is advancing rapidly, and these new insights are revolutionizing our understanding of what sustainable and restorative agriculture should look like.

Healthy soils are host to an intricate web of life that includes plantroots, mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria, worms and insects. Soil is not merely dirt—an inert medium—but a dynamic living membrane. The life that thrives in the soil, once it decays, becomes soil organic matter, building up soil’s carbon content. This carbon-rich soil is able to retain more water and naturally nourish plants, helping the plants ward off pests and disease.

Regenerative organic agriculture is the idea that we must foster this rich soil ecosystem in every way possible. The methods for doing so are varied—they include minimal disturbance of the soil (conservation tillage), fertility-building cover crops, diverse crop rotations, compost and rotational grazing of farm animals. When used in combination, these methods have proven to be powerful tools not only for restoring soil fertility, but also for drawing down atmospheric carbon and sequestering it into the soil. While industrial agriculture as practiced today is one of the main drivers of greenhouse gasses and climate change, regenerative organic agriculture at global scale has the potential to sequester gigatons of carbon and mitigate climate change’s worst effects.

The Need for Regenerative Organic Standards

Regenerative organic agriculture is not exactly a new idea, although it has been greatly advanced and refined by modern research and the scientific verification of its methods. The roots of regenerative organic lie both in traditional agricultural methods around the world, as well as the original ideas of organic pioneers such as Sir Albert Howard, J.I. Rodale and Rudolf Steiner. Both traditional societies and these organic pioneers recognized that sustainable agricultural techniques depended on achieving a healthy balance between animals, plants and soil.

Seasonal agricultural field workers cut and package lettuce, directly in the fields of Salinas Valley in California.

As the organic agriculture movement gained traction in the 20th century, some of its proponents also saw the need to include worker and farmer rights as part of a holistic agricultural system. These pioneers saw that it would be fruitless to grow healthy food and maintain healthy ecosystems if the people working the soil and growing the food were not being treated justly in the process. Segments of the organic movement still hold that organic farming should be as much about protecting farmworker health and maintaining thriving rural communities as it is about growing healthy foods.

These organic pioneers, and the generation of farmers who now follow in their footsteps, set the bar for holistic regenerative organic agriculture.  But as the rules of organic farming became codified and as governments around the world began adopting standards by which farmers could certify their crops as organic, many of these original ideas fell by the wayside in order to implement a simpler, narrower standard. Buidling soil health, so integral to the original intent, is not practiced and enforced as it should on many farms. These farms often import fertility into farm soil from external factory farm manure, instead of building fertility holistically on the farm in a closed-loop cycle via regenerative methods.

Meaningful labor regulations were also left out: large agricultural corporations wanted to use the new organic certifications to their benefit but did not want to improve poverty wages nor unsafe conditions in the migrant agricultural labor system. While fair trade standards rose up to try to fill the labor justice gap that was left by the organic certifications, it meant that these two facets of what makes a healthy farming community were now fragmented.

The lives of farm animals were improved by organic standards, but not nearly enough. Organic meat and dairy has come to mean mostly that the farm animals are consuming organic feed—not that animals were raised on pasture. Overall, animals raised on organic farms fare much better than those raised on conventional farms, though the conditions in which they are raised and slaughtered are still not necessarily humane, and organic standards require only a minimum of space and outdoor time for these animals.

High-bar Regenerative Organic Certified standards that include soil health, farmworker justice and animal welfare, will not only fill in the gaps left behind by organic certification, but will also help codify practices within the regenerative organic movement itself. It is our belief that regenerative agriculture should absolutely include and build on organic agriculture as a baseline. We are joined in this position by our allies in crafting Regenerative Organic Certified standards, including Rodale Institute, Fair World Project, Compassion in World Farming and Patagonia. Regenerative organic agriculture is a chance to reclaim the original intent and foundation of organic agriculture, and is not merely meant to replace it. Organic certifications, with their focus on minimizing synthetic inputs are still crucially important: we do not need to be spraying these poisons into our air or polluting our waterways with them.

The Three Pillars of the Regenerative Organic Standard

Working together with Rodale Institute, Patagonia, and several other non-profits, businesses and activists, we have developed a standard for Regenerative Organic Certification that farmers and producers will be able to use to certify their products as regenerative organic. These standards are slated to be administered by NSF International and will initially begin with a pilot phase in 2018. The Regenerative Organic Certification standards as developed include these three pillars: Soil Health and Land Management, Animal Welfare, and Farmer and Worker Fairness.

Regenerative Organic Certification will leverage and build upon existing certifications, such as USDA Organic certification and Demeter Biodynamic certification for soil health and land management; Global Animal Partnership (GAP) and Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) for animal welfare, and Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Fair for Life (FFL) for farmer and worker fairness.

Here are the practices outlined in each of the three pillars of the standards:

Soil Health and Land Management

Practices that certifying farmers will use to preserve soil health, soil fertility and biodiversity include:

  • Use of cover crops and diverse crop rotations (in particular, nitrogen-fixing legumes) to prevent soil erosion as well as help control weeds and pests.
  • Conservation tillage—minimally disturbing soil to maintain soil microbial communities and structure, while preventing carbon loss into the atmosphere.
  • Rotational grazing—rotating grass-fed and finished cattle through pasture in paddocks so that pasture is allowed plenty of rest between grazing and ruminants can fertilize fields with their manure.
  • Self-sufficiency in achieving soil fertility through use of compost, manure, mulch and organic waste, leaving out any synthetic fertilizers.
  • No use of chemical pesticides and no deforestation.

Animal Welfare

Practices that certifying farmers will have to comply with to ensure that animal welfare standards are met include:

  • No Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), defined by the USDA as “a farm in which animals are raised in confinement that has over 1,000 animal units confined for over 45 days a year.”
  • Animals are free from hunger and thirst, given ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains their health and vigor.
  • Animals are free from discomfort, meaning that they are provided and appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  • Animals are free from pain, injury or disease—meaning adequate disease prevention measures are implemented and proper diagnosis and treatment is provided.
  • Animals are free to express normal behaviors by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Animals are free from fear and distress by ensuring that conditions, treatment and slaughtering systems avoid mental suffering, and transport distances to slaughter facilities are minimized.

Farmer and Worker Fairness

In order to be certified as regenerative organic farms will have to comply with the following labor standards:

  • No child labor
  • No forced labor
  • No abuse or sexual harassment
  • No discrimination
  • Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
  • Living wages
  • Fair pricing for goods
  • Safe working conditions
  • Long-term commitments from buyers
  • Staff training and capacity building

How to Support Regenerative Organic Agriculture

The growth in organic food and products has experienced exponential growth in the last couple of decades, a trend that has been largely consumer-driven. Because consumers have been demanding healthier food, grown with respect for the environment, companies have stepped in to provide customers with products they can trust. In much the same way, consumers can demand that brands, farmers and producers take the next big step and make their products not only organic, but regenerative organic. Consumers have the power to ensure that our planet’s future contains healthy soils and healthy communities, as well as mitigate the worst effects of runaway climate change. In the same way, consumers must choose to eat less meat, and when eating meat, to choose only pastured and humanely-raised meat, dairy and eggs from high-bar certified sources like Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and Regenerative Organic Certified (when it becomes available). It is ultimately the only choice for any ethical and ecologically-minded consumer.

The post Moving Towards Regenerative Organic Certification appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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These macaroons are easy to make and can be made weeks ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. The cacao nibs give them depth that balances nicely with the richness of the coconut oil. A great dessert for guests who are dairy-free or gluten-free!

Here are step by step instructions:

Coconut-Cacao Nib Macaroons

Makes 1½ dozen macaroons / 9 servings

½ cup raw almonds
8 large Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup dried shredded coconut (unsweetened), divided
2 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons cacao nibs

Combine the almonds and the dates in a food processor.

Process until a chunky “dough” forms.

Add ¾ cup of the shredded coconut, as well as the Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil, coconut sugar, salt, and cacao nibs, and process until well combined.

Stop the machine and check the consistency – dough should stick together easily when pinched. Depending on the moisture level of the dates, you may need to add a bit of water (a teaspoon at a time), and process again until the crumbs stick together very easily.

Place the remaining ¼ cup of shredded coconut in a shallow bowl. A tablespoon at a time, form the dough into compact balls, and roll each ball into the loose coconut shreds until completely covered.

Refrigerate the macaroons for 30 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

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There’s no denying the delicious allure of stuffing! What’s more, some smart substitutions and tasty superfoods can transform this holiday staple dish into a truly nutritious affair.  Using sprouted grain bread offers peak mineral and fiber content; nutty hemp seeds enrich with their high protein; sweet goji berries add antioxidants; and buttery coconut oil provides healthy fats while keeping this recipe fully plant-based.

If you’re wanting to make everything ahead of time, simply prepare the dish up to the point where it goes in the oven. Then, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to two days—you can bake it just before you’re ready to serve and enjoy.

Superfood Stuffing

Serves 8

1 loaf (1 pound) sprouted bread*
6 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil
2 large sweet yellow onions, minced
4 celery stalks, minced
2 tablespoons (packed) minced fresh thyme
2 1/3 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup dried goji berries
2/3 cup hemp seeds
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Here are step by step instructions:

Preheat the oven to 300° F. Tear the bread into approximately 1/2-inch up to 1-inch pieces, and spread the pieces onto a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, tossing once or twice midway through cooking, until bread is golden brown and toasted.

Remove the bread from the oven to cool, and turn up the heat to 425° F.

Warm the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the thyme and cook 1 minute longer.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the vegetable broth, and add ½ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, mixing to combine.

Add the toasted bread, goji berries, and hemp seeds, and toss very well. Transfer the mixture to a 12” x 9” baking dish. Press the stuffing down lightly to create an even layer.  If there are any goji berries exposed on top, press them down to submerge into the stuffing to avoid burning.

Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil, and bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes longer, or until the top of the stuffing has started to brown. Serve warm.

*Gluten-free bread may be substituted if desired.

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Today, November 1, is World Vegan Day. The event was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then Chair of The Vegan Society in the United Kingdom, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the organization and the coining of the terms “vegan” and “veganism”. This year, we are proud to celebrate World Vegan Day by marking the fourth year of our committed giving program to support animal advocacy and farmed animal protection efforts as a core focus of the company’s activism.

Since 2013, Dr. Bronner’s has run a dedicated philanthropy program to support organizations and efforts that are working to expose and reduce the suffering of animals while advocating for healthier and more sustainable food systems. This commitment is made alongside institutional support of causes such as fair trade, regenerative organic agriculture, drug policy reform, and wage equality. By the end of 2017, Dr. Bronner’s will have donated more than $600,000, totaling over 1.4 million in the last 4 years given to animal advocacy causes.

Our CEO David Bronner explains his motivations for engaging the company in this important work this way:

“When I chose to adopt a vegan diet over 20 years ago, I concluded that though I have the capacity to forget, shut down, and not care about my consumption choices, I want to live in compassionate alignment with the vision that what we choose to eat matters. Now, many years later, I’m proud that my family is committing resources over the long-term to take on the terrible plight of factory farmed animals and to promote more compassionate and sustainable dietary choices.”

Our Process

Our goal is to support organizations and efforts that are smart, strategic and passionate — and ideally ones that are filling a void by taking an approach or tackling a specific angle that other, often better funded, groups aren’t. We choose to work with those who fight to achieve real change and who ultimately, do. Our partners win: from transforming eating habits to exposing abuses on factory farms to changing corporate policy and enacting legislation to rescuing animals and saving lives. It is important for us to support a broad and diverse range of organizations, from the seemingly radical and grassroots to the more conventional and mainstream. Our approach is based on building relationships with key leaders, organizers and advocates within those organizations, making sure we engage as partners in the work and not only write checks.

Because we are concerned with advancing broad progressive change for social justice and environmental sustainability we strive to work with groups who hold intersectional perspectives and approaches. We give priority to groups who are mindful of other issues we work on, such as climate change, regenerative organic agriculture, fair trade, and wage equality. We choose to spread resources to groups working on differing scales and who are serving diverse communities.

Overall, our animal advocacy donations are made with the following goals in mind:

1. Demonstrate Dr. Bronner’s commitment to supporting the animal rights movement, in particular: farm animal protection efforts, meat reduction, and vegetarian / vegan advocacy.
2. Support innovative and high impact work to improve animal welfare policy and practices; advance protection efforts for farmed animals; expand the market for plant based alternatives to meat and dairy, and promote vegetarian and vegan diets.
3. Cultivate relationships across the spectrum of the animal rights and animal protection movement – especially among the most effective and strategic organizations and activists.
4. Increase the resources available to animal advocates, especially under-funded organizations and efforts, and nurture the growth of the movement.
5. Model an example of a successful business that uses its resources and influence to change consumption habits and thereby make a positive impact on human health, the environment, and the well being of animals.

Support Across the Movement

In 2017, Dr. Bronner’s made donations to a variety of highly effective organizations and initiatives across five designated giving categories determined by donation levels and operational focus. These areas of focus range from our core objective to fuel and sustain large national and international organizations, to providing fire power to mid-size organizations and seeding small start-ups, volunteer-led efforts, and other emerging initiatives that otherwise have limited or no access to funding. This model enables us to take a holistic approach to our animal advocacy support while also modeling an effective, digestible, and concrete strategy for supporting the movement in a profound way.

Categories include:

Core Partners ($25,000-$100,000): Compassion Over Killing, Good Food Institute, Humane Society of the United States, and Plant Based Foods Association.

International Allies ($50,000-$100,000): Compassion in World Farming USA & Global, Sea Shepherd USA & Global.

Grassroots ($10,000): Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, The Humane League, Mercy for Animals, and Vegan Outreach.

Movement Builders ($5,000-$10,000): Black Vegans Rock, Gentle Barn, Our Hen House, PETA, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, Sistah Vegan Project, and VINE Sanctuary.

Films and Education: At the Fork, Eating Animals via support for Farm Forward, Running for Good and Vegan Advocacy Initiative.

In addition to financial donations, the company has donated its soaps and other products to support vegetarian and vegan festivals, educational events, fundraisers, animal sanctuaries, and direct action campaigns across the country and around the globe throughout the year.

Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States had this to say about our work:

“Dr. Bronner’s has a holistic approach when it comes to addressing the horrors of factory farming, which is a major reason why its philanthropy is so unique. Whether it’s plant-based food advocacy, legislative wins to ban the worst practices, or working with major corporations on policies to eliminate factory farm products, all are necessary to create the type of world where society views farm animals with mercy and respect, rather than inanimate objects to be used as we wish, Dr. Bronner’s backs all these effective approaches to ensure numerous paths to a humane society are pursued, including efforts that have tremendous opposition from multi-billion dollar agribusiness interests. The animal movement knows Dr. Bronner’s has its back and more importantly, the animals have a powerful partner on their side.”

Support of Farm Forward and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals

This year we are especially proud to note our continued support of Farm Forward. The organization supports advocacy around the New York Times best-selling book Eating Animals, which has been adapted into a documentary produced by Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman and directed by Christopher Quinn, the award-winning director of God Grew Tired of Us. The film premiered at the Telluride film festival this past September. Farm Forward collaborated extensively with board member and author, Jonathan Safran Foer, for three years while he wrote Eating Animals and is planning to organize advocacy around the film. Just like Foer’s book, the documentary uses a combination of humor, adventure, muckraking, and memoir to explore the realities of contemporary animal agriculture alongside the complexities of food ethics.

Aaron Gross, Founder and CEO of Farm Forward recently shared a reflection on our partnership.

“We’re incredibly grateful for Dr. Bronner’s generosity and commitment to an ethical, just, and sustainable food system. Eating Animals has galvanized resistance to factory farming like no other work. With the support of Dr. Bronner’s, Farm Forward and other animal advocates are able to leverage the book and ultimately the film in tremendous ways.”

Launch of Sea Shepherd Germany’s First Ship

This year Dr. Bronner’s expanded its support of Sea Shepherd to purchase Sea Shepherd Germany’s first vessel, the MV Emanuel Bronner. Dr. Bronner’s donated the ship to support the organization’s efforts to defend wildlife in the Baltic Sea. Earlier this year, Dr. Bronner’s published a blog post and a video entitled Protect Our Oceans, detailing the partnership.

In the blog post, Michael Bronner, David’s brother, and Dr. Bronner’s President, explained the unique partnership:

“On June 1, I brought my family to Bremen, Germany, where Sea Shepherd Germany’s first ship, the MV Emanuel Bronner, was unveiled. The more I’ve gotten to know the amazing individuals involved in this organization, the more I’ve come to believe the soul and mission of Dr. Bronner’s and Sea Shepherd is “All-One”! Motivated by a mutual concern and compassion for the environment and wildlife, both organizations hold a deep belief in the power and responsibility of individuals to take direct action to right the wrongs of the world.”

Read the blog and watch the video here.

Bridging Animal Protection and Regenerative Organic Agriculture to Fight Climate Change

This year, our company also supported a variety of organizations and efforts working to promote regenerative organic agriculture to increase soil health and mitigate climate change. In particular, Dr. Bronner’s believes in promoting the farming and ranching of only grass-fed and pasture-raised animals as an alternative to horrific factory farming practices.

To this end, the company supports advocacy promoting the consumption of much less and much more humanely sourced meat, raised to high-bar pasture-raised animal welfare standards.

In our press release this week David Bronner explained our holistic stance:

“Dr. Bronner’s is particularly keen to help power and coordinate the animal protection and regenerative organic movements, in their mutual aim to end the horribly cruel and unsustainable factory farming of animals, fed by monoculture deserts of carbon and water-intensive grain. One-third of the Earth’s land surface is covered in arable farm and range land. Regenerative practices can restore soil health and organic matter relatively quickly, and coupled with a global commitment to eating much less but much more humane, sustainable, and pasture-raised animal products, can also significantly mitigate climate change.”

As part of the company’s efforts to support advocacy of regenerative organic agriculture, Dr. Bronner’s helped develop the first comprehensive Regenerative Organic Certified standard based on three pillars: soil health, social fairness, and pasture-based animal welfare. To complement the promotion of the book and film, Eating Animals, the company is also promoting Kiss the Ground, a new book and film from Josh Tickell, on the benefits of regenerative agriculture. David Bronner’s manifesto on the growing regenerative organic agriculture movement, “Regenetarians Unite!

I feel honored to work for a company whose motto of “All-One” is backed up by a coherent strategy and plan of action to, as outlined in Dr. Bronner’s Cosmic Principles, “Be an engine for positive change—share profits, share talent, share muscle, share voice—give & give, fund & fight!”

Further, it’s Dr. Bronner’s customers around the world who make these donations possible by purchasing our products, without whom there would be no profits to share with these worthwhile and righteous causes. Thanks for helping Dr. Bronner’s stand up for animals and for supporting the fight against factory farming!

All-One!

The post Dr. Bronner’s Celebrates World Vegan Day—Over $600,000 Donated to Animal Advocacy in 2017 appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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Imagine: Your favorite bread, toasted to golden perfection, lightly fragrant and still warm as it lands on your plate with a light tap. With one swipe from the jar, your go-to condiment curls up creamily as it gathers on your knife. As you glide this white, velvety spread onto the bread in a generous coat, it begins to coyly melt down into the heated pores on the toast’s surface, beckoning you for a bite.

Yes, I love toast. Everyone loves toast. But there’s only one thing that’s better than toast: Toast with coconut oil.

There’s a couple reasons coconut oil is such an ideal companion for toast. First, its rich and creamy notes are the perfect match for toast’s dry and crunchy texture. And second, although coconut oil is delicately buttery, its flavor never overwhelms, making it exceptionally versatile for either sweet or savory styles of toast. It’s my go-to first layer anytime I hear the pop of the toaster, because it makes every other accoutrement sing! Read on for some of the many rewarding combinations to try on your next toast-with-coconut-oil base.

Salted Toast

The amazing thing about coconut oil on toast is that, technically speaking, you don’t really need to do much at all to create a snack that’s utterly crave-worthy. Just add a pinch of sea salt over the top, and enjoy the sheer magic of simplicity. (Bonus points if you use flaked salt, which will melt in your mouth with each chew.)

Jammy Toast

An excellent example of coconut oil’s ability to take on sweet flavors is combining it with jam. In fact, you’ll likely find coconut oil offers a nice buttery balance to sweet fruity jams and jellies of pretty much all varieties! If you’re avoiding sugar, you can even just top your coconut oil toast with sliced seasonal fruit like strawberries or apples, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra flavor if you’d like.

Avocado Toast

Hashtag avocado toast. Hashtag avocado love. Hashtag you enjoyed avocado on your toast long before it ever became a hashtag (hashtag thank you very much). Though it may be hard to imagine that uber-popular avocado toast could be improved upon, I’ll let you in on a secret: a bit of coconut oil turns this delicious snack into something that’s truly other-worldly. It’s as if the two healthy fats join forces to create a super-toast! Any and all optional avocado toast additions are welcome here, from chili flakes to pumpkin seeds to pickled vegetables.

Honey Toast

For a simple treat, lightly drizzle a warm piece of coconut oiled toast with honey, yacon syrup, or your favorite liquid sweetener. Bite, chew, bliss out, repeat.

Spiced Toast

Proof yet again of coconut oiled toast’s ability to venture outside of the sweet realm, sprinkling your favorite savory spice mix on top is a great way to create unexpected flavors. Mixes like za’atar, spicy chili blends, and even seaweed-based sprinkles are just a few of the exciting directions you can go.

Cinnamon Sugar Toast

Great for kids (and welcomed by most adults), mix a little cinnamon and a pinch of salt in with a spoonful of low-gylcemic coconut sugar. Dust on top of the melted coconut oil and enjoy this healthier version of a classic breakfast toast.

Garlic Toast

If you spread coconut oil on toast and top it with garlic salt, you’ve got a kind of instant, truly outstanding garlic bread. Enough said.

Veggie Toast

Toast that’s been buttered up with coconut oil can become as creative as your imagination takes you, and becomes the perfect landscape for a tapas-style topping. For an amazing appetizer, garnish your toast with seared mushrooms and walnuts; line with tomato slices and chives; or pile with cooked greens sauteed in garlic. The opportunities are endless!

The post The Simple Secret To Making “The Toast With The Most” appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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Baby bums & unruly eyebrows rejoice—our Baby Unscented Organic Magic Balm is a truly magical multi-use product that both wee ones and grown ups can enjoy.

If you know anything about our products, you know that each comes with an extensive & diverse list of uses (you can wash your dogs and your teeth with our liquid castile soap for crying out loud).

Our Baby Unscented Organic Magic Balm is no different—and, just like our Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm, it’s made with the finest non-toxic, certified organic ingredients. Specifically: organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, organic avocado oil, organic jojoba oil, organic olive oil, and organic hemp oil.

So how exactly can you use this stuff? We crafted a handy list:

For Baby

  • Help prevent diaper rash
  • Help soothe irritated red crease lines under arms and behind knees

For Everyone

  • Moisturize dry or chafed skin, cuticles, chapped lips, heels, elbows
  • Heal recent tattoos and brighten up old ones: wash your tattoo with our Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, pat the area dry, then apply a thin layer of Baby Unscented Organic Magic Balm over the tattoo
  • Define or taper unruly eyebrows
  • Style beard or mustache
  • Use as a daily or nightly eye cream
  • Apply a tiny amount to hair to help tame flyaways—a little goes a long way!

I’m sure you’re all going to think of a dozen more creative ways to use this balm. So when you do, let us know, and we’ll add them to this list.

The post 8 Ways to Use Baby Unscented Organic Magic Balm appeared first on Dr. Bronner's.

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