By Rebekah Kurisu
#7 Economic Production of Applegate Farms Chicken Nugget Naturals
Point Loma Nazarene University’s dining services have been improving, as Sodexo has been responding to student’s pleas for change. One big addition is the gluten-free section, which includes Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets. Applegate Farms is a company that is committed to “change the meat we eat” with a mission to raise healthier animals, include better ingredients for consumers, and have environmentally sustainable practices. In regards to fair trade, Applegate is working towards a goal to end the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and maintains an updated report on these goals on theirwebsite. According to Fair Trade USA standards, fair trade includes fair prices and credit, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, community development, and environmental sustainability. The production of Applegate Farms’ products attempt to fulfill environmental standards with the ambition of healthier animals for healthier customer consumption, but where does the farmer fit into this mission?
According to an article about Applegate’s CEO, Stephen McDonnell, Applegate raises their animals on over “300 family farms, from Uruguay to northern Quebec” (Fenn, 2005). Applegate’s website includes access to input a “barn code” located on the package of the product, allowing customers to see where their food has been produced. It provides a map and location point of the farm and stories shared by a few farmers. Applegate mentionsfarmers as part of their mission, by trying to “address the barriers new farmers face… access to land, credit, and farming knowledge.” The details about farmer’s lives are not quite as intensely expressed as theanimals on the farm, but a deeper look into Stephen McDonnell spreads light onto the possible economic impacts Applegate has had on these small farmers
Stephen McDonnell’s daughter went on a trip to Ecuador in 2005 and encountered a community of subsistence farmers struggling to sell cacao beans. Stephen and his wife, Jill were inspired to help these farmers, as explained in Meg Hirshberg’s article, “The Romance of Good Deeds:”
Most ofthe profits had gone to middlemen until an American researcher helped the farmers form a cooperative to buy the beans and fund the creation of a value-added product: chocolate bars. But the cooperative needed more markets. Jill’s interest was piqued, and she and Steve flew down to Ecuador to meet with the farmers… So he created a for-profit entity in the United States to sell the chocolate, under the brand name Kallari and loaned it money… The farmers now receive a much higher price for their beans, and the profits—when there are profits—will flow back to the cooperative to pay for health and education projects.
McDonnell’s assistance to these farmers cause assumption that he must have the same, or even more compassion and desire for financial success for his own Applegate farmers. In an interview, McDonnell says “companies have an obligation not just to make a profit, but to make an honest contribution to society… and lots of pennies from every purchase are going to support a family farm” (Connor, 2011). The production of Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets seems to exhibit environmental sustainability and fair prices and rights for farmers. Sodexo has chosen to use this socially responsible product and will hopefully continue to serve PLNU students more responsibly produced food.
Applegate. (2014). What is Applegate’s Position on GMOS. Retrieved from http://www.applegate.com
Connor L. L. (2011, February 1). Zen Management Makes Millions. NY Report. Retrieved from http://www.nyreport.com/cover_stories/articles/78760/zen_management_makes_millions
Fair Trade USA. (2010). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from http://fairtradeusa.org/what-if-fair-trade/faq
Fenn, D. (2005). The remote control CEO. Inc, 27(10), 96-146.
Hirshberg, M. (2010). The Romance of Good Deeds. Inc, 32(10), 47-48.
Sodexo. (n.d.) PLNU Dining. Retrieved from http://lomadining.com