Bloom Farms, one of California’s leading marijuana manufacturers and distributors, donated its one millionth meal to the state’s nonprofit food banks in January, 2018, CEO Michael Ray announced this week.
“From the start, we wanted to build a business that contributed to the communities we live and work in on many levels,” Ray said. “Donating our one-millionth meal shows that we’re succeeding for our customers, who have purchased one million of our products and appreciate that we are working toward the greater good, and for California’s most vulnerable families who have received the gift of nutritious food.”
“I’d like to thank our customers, our dispensary partners and our 70 employees across California for making this possible,” Ray continues. “We’ve seen the tremendous impact corporate responsibility initiatives in traditional industries have had and milestones like this go a long way to showing the impact cannabis companies can have and changing perceptions of the cannabis industry.”
For every Bloom Farms product sold the one-for-one cannabis business donates money to food banks across California to cover the cost of sourcing and distributing a healthy meal; one Bloom Farms item sold has equalled one healthy meal donated since the Bay Area company started its one-for-one program in December 2015.
Bloom Farms directed its remaining 2017 donations – as of mid-October – to the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa, supporting Californians in need and those affected by the wildfires, which Bloom Farms Founder & CEO Michael Ray and his family have also endured in the past.
“Having experienced the total loss of our family farm just two years ago in the Butte Fire, it broke my heart to see all of those affected in the Northern California fires,” said Ray. “We all need to take care of each other. We will continue our efforts to provide any relief that we can.”
More than 5.4 million Californians don’t know where their next meal is coming from – and that includes the 2.1 million children who may go to bed hungry each night, according to the California Association for Food Banks. The state’s food insecurity rate is nearly 14 percent, and a teenage Ray saw this first-hand while growing up in Calaveras County, CA, with childhood friends who oftentimes were drawn to his family’s house for home-cooked meals.
“Back then we were simply having my friends over for dinner, but I didn’t realize the severity of the situation until I got a little older,” said Ray, who founded Bloom Farms in mid-2014. “Today, one in seven Californians don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s a lot of people, and we need to be there for them.”
“Partnering with Bloom Farms has made all the difference for World Harvest LA and its clients,” said Glen Curado, CEO of World Harvest LA Food Bank. “They not only contribute financially, but their staff volunteers with us as often as they can. It’s an amazing company with extraordinary staff.”
Upon learning about Bloom Farms’ recent milestone, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services President and CEO Blake Young responded: “What an incredible accomplishment! 1 million meals is no small feat, and donations like these from Bloom Farms are so impactful in our community. Every single person can get involved in some way and help fight hunger. Congrats to Bloom Farms on reaching this impressive mark.”
In addition to its one-for-one program, Bloom Farms gives its employees four hours of paid volunteer time every month to dedicate as they see fit – and many of them choose to spend those hours working in one of the organization’s partner food banks.
“Our one-for-one program extends beyond the act of giving. It provides our employees with an actual sense of purpose,” said CEO Ray. “Good people can work anywhere, but being a Bloom Farms employee and participating in these volunteer days and knowing that every purchase gives back to our most vulnerable neighbors gives us all something beyond a paycheck.”
Bloom Farms also engages California communities outside of its one-for-one program. In the last 12 months the business has donated to the Calaveras County Butte Fire relief efforts, hosted Cannabis Career Fairs and Bloom Fit yoga classes in San Francisco and Los Angeles and sponsored renowned cultural events including the San Francisco International Film Festival, Wanderlust and the Mill Valley Film Festival.
“Bloom Farms is a different kind of cannabis company, and our customers know that when they choose our products,” said Keith J. Hart, Bloom Farms’ Social Good Manager. “Our company’s vision is to change the conversation around cannabis and one of our core values is to give something amazing back; our food bank partnership allows us to do both and we are excited to share this milestone with them.”
In July 2017, Bloom Farms was recognized as one of the Top 100 corporate philanthropists in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times – placing them alongside other companies including Google, eBay, Levi Strauss & Co., Twitter, Microsoft, Bayer, Adobe, The Gap, PayPal and Salesforce.