Oct 30, 2020
Organically Grown Co. financing ‘stakeholders;’ changing sourcing strategy, brand
Organically Grown Co. announced Oct. 26 the establishment of the OGC Mission Fund, a zero- to low-interest loan and grant program for stakeholder groups, “mission-aligned supply chain partners and underserved and/or marginalized communities that lack ready access to capital.”
The northwest-based wholesaler, distributor and grower marketer of organic produce on the same day also rolled out a rebranding effort and an update on its strategy.
The goal of the OGC Mission Fund is to further the company’s vision to contribute to equitable and sustainable agricultural systems for global health, according to a news release from the company. When OGC transitioned its ownership to the Sustainable Food and Agricultural Perpetual Purpose Trust in late 2018, its new bylaws prioritized investing in the company’s stakeholder groups, which include coworkers, growers, customers, community allies and mission-aligned organizations.
“The OGC Mission Fund deepens our ability to support and strengthen the ecosystem in which we operate and is in line with our purpose and the change we seek to support in our supply chain,” CEO Elizabeth Darrow Nardi said in the news release.
The OGC Mission Fund will support companies and organizations working on:
- Promotion of diversity and equity in the food system.
- Improvements in organic agriculture.
- Climate change mitigation.
- Fair labor practices and promotion of progressive food policy.
- Preservation of natural resources and biodiversity.
- Reduction of nonrenewable resources, toxics and synthetics and environmental degradation.
2020 investments to-date include $100,000 in emergency funding support with $50,000 earmarked for organizations providing relief to those impacted by recent wildfires in Oregon. These funds are being directed to vulnerable populations, like OGC-partner farmworkers and retail workers who have suffered due to wildfire evacuation and home loss. An additional $50,000 was invested in the California BIPOC Farmer and Land Steward Relief Fund. This fund provides short-term relief to farmers of color and indigenous land stewards who are leading on climate resilience and need immediate support due to COVID-19. Longer-term, the Relief Fund strengthens the POC-led ecosystem that can help build just and resilient regional food economies.
Rolling grants and loans will be made through the remainder of 2020 and into future years. Organizations interested in learning more about the OGC Mission Fund can complete an expression of interest form available on OGC’s website, www.organicgrown.com.
An advisory group made up of representatives of Kitchen Table Advisors, Washington Farmland Trust, Viva Farms, Oregon Tilth and others will provide OGC with advice on the fund design and implementation. About Organically Grown Company Organically Grown Company sources, aggregates and distributes fresh, organically grown produce to retailers and eaters across the Pacific Northwest. For more than 40 years, the company’s progressive and entrepreneurial spirit has fueled its mission and growth, meeting the demand for organics in the marketplace while supporting its community of farmers.
Company rebrand, and strategy update
Organically Grown Company (OGC), the Northwest-based organic produce wholesaler, distributor, and grower marketer, introduced a brand update today featuring a fresh take on its logo, truck-wraps, packaging, website and more.
OGC’s new look builds on and retains the essence of their legacy logo and company values. It visualizes the company’s connection to produce and farms with a graphic and earthy hand, according to a news release from the company. It reimagines the individual elements of the past logo in a new way − a bounty of produce is embraced by rays of sun and a hoe is symbolic of the hard-working spirit of the OGC supply chain. Embedded within the illustration is a ladybug, a valuable friend of the organic farmer and the namesake of OGC’s branded organic produce line.
As part of OGC’s brand refresh work, the company also updated the identity and brand strategy for its organic produce line, Ladybug Brand. Created more than a decade ago as a service for its Northwest grower partners, Ladybug Brand gave independent, certified organic farmers a way to market their produce under a common label through OGC’s network, predominately to wholesale buyers outside the Northwest region.
Now, to increase inclusivity and expand the program to more farmers, Ladybug Brand will represent premium organic fruits and vegetables grown in the Northwest and beyond. This strategic shift allows OGC to leverage its relationships with farmers outside the region who are interested in taking advantage of OGC’s expertise as a grower-marketer and logistics partner.
“Sourcing for Ladybug Brand will no longer be defined by geography, but rather by our values and mission which focus on sustaining organic agriculture and a fair and just supply chain,” said Mike Boyle, OGC’s VP of Sales and Sourcing. “As a company deeply rooted in the Northwest, we will always prioritize sourcing from local farmers during our peak growing season, and then expand beyond our backyard to meet the needs of our year-round wholesale customers.”
With this brand update, packaging featuring the new Ladybug icon debuted earlier this summer and fall with Northwest-grown organic blueberries, kiwi berries and cranberries.
The Ladybug Brand product line will expand over time to include a wide variety of certified organic commodity and specialty items grown by farms big and small.