We are celebrating Women’s History Month, and this year‘s theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.“ From the unsung heroines who work behind the scenes to global leaders in a multitude of fields, there is always a story.
We celebrate Women’s History Month in March, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” There are so many stories to tell! From the unsung heroines who work behind the scenes to global leaders in a multitude of fields, there is always a story.
Women helped shape the cooperative movement from the very beginning.
Because we are all about food, we thought you might enjoy these stories of 9 Amazing Women in Food.
Closer to home, we’ve been researching how many woman-owned and women-led businesses are represented at our co-op. Here are some inspirational tidbits with links to learn the stories of the women making some of your favorite products.
While there are over 50 women-owned businesses on our list below, we don’t claim this is an exhaustive list. Let us know if you think of something we haven’t included.
It’s the goal of Andalou to give everyone control over their skin, hair, and body care regime while striving to make a real difference for women and girls worldwide. They’re harnessing the power of empowerment, education, and equality to drive positive change by partnering with nonprofit organizations like Vital Voices and SHE-CAN.
In 1995, Bill and Katie started hand-filling the original Badger Balm tins in their kitchen. Twenty-five years later, Badger makes over 100 products, has over 90 workers, and is sold in 20 countries. Family owned and operated, the company is now led by second-generation family owners and Collaborate Executive Officers Emily and Rebecca.
While seeking ways to eliminate plastics from her kitchen, Bee’s Wrap founder Sarah Kaeck created this washable, reusable, and compostable alternative for food storage.
Claire Georges, the owner of Butterfly Bakery of Vermont (BBVT), is committed to slow, sustainable growth using local ingredients. While their hot sauces are sold worldwide, BBVT continues to source their maple syrup and chili peppers within 200 miles of their cannery in Barre, Vermont. She also recently acquired the family-owned Fat Toad Farm.
Founder Gail Becker started Caulipower because she was frustrated by the grocery store’s lack of delicious and healthy gluten-free options. These pies quickly cook crispy, crusted deliciousness, so you can enjoy gluten-free, vegetable-based pizza bliss in minutes!
Steve and Melissa are real people whose signatures you see on the labels. Their products and their company are extensions of who they are. They take everything to heart and sincerely appreciate being allowed into your home with their products. They hope they make cleaning a little more pleasant, naturally.
When Natasha Case and Freya Estreller founded the company, they sought to create vibrantly packaged, high-quality frozen desserts. And that they did. In addition to whipping up ice cream, they seek to represent positive change through strategic partnerships, fundraisers, and speaking engagements that promote women’s leadership and community building.
One of Corina’s best attributes is her enthusiasm for an idea. She’s innately curious and dogged in pursuit of new concepts and innovations. Corina has always believed in the importance of playing with one’s food. That belief led to her experimenting in her kitchen with a recipe that eventually became Corina’s Switchy.
Curly Girl Pops, LLC is a Latina-owned, small-batch plant-based popsicle business in Vermont’s Capitol City. Their mission is simple, healthy, and made from the heart.
Dr. Dionne Laslo-Baker is a Ph.D. medical researcher in maternal-fetal toxicology. Her doctorate focused on the effects of exposure to chemicals during pregnancy on fetal development. This led her on a life-long quest to provide her own family with healthy food they loved. She then realized that food companies and their choices could be a force for good in the world. Dionne founded DeeBee’s Organics with a mission to feed our families, do business differently, and create a legacy that will impact future generations.
These frozen ready-to-eat meals from Delna’s Kitchen are made in Vermont. Delna gives her personal twist to traditional Parsi (Iranian) and Indian recipes, substituting seasonal and local ingredients whenever possible.
Francine has spent her whole life searching for a better, more comfortable, and environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and pads; she found it in the modern menstrual cup and knew she was on to a winner. Carinne saw this opportunity and immediately launched herself into creating the DivaCup with her mother. Dedicating their lives to improving the menstrual care game, they made a user-friendly, environmentally responsible, and reusable period product that could be easily accessible worldwide.
Trish Thomas and Nichole Wilson started Every Body Eat after they each had to figure out how to navigate food sensitivities within their families. Nichole met Trish at a book fair at their kid’s school, and the partnership grew quickly. Their shared experiences, off-the-charts energy, and unstoppable attitudes make them imagine all that can be possible together.
A healthy lifestyle of staying active and consuming delicious, nutritious food has always been a passion for Susan. As she started my own family, it became even more important. She came across the concept of rehydrating dried fruit while traveling abroad. This simple and innovative process was exactly what she was looking for in a clean, simple, and sustaining snack.
Our story begins with the founder, CEO, and Mom, Valerie. Her love of food and health started at a young age. As a teenager, Valerie became a vegetarian and never looked back. She has since been dedicated to a raw, vegan, and vegetarian lifestyle. After owning a vegan restaurant and spending numerous years in the food industry, Valerie’s passion for food has only grown. This passion was passed along to her five kids, and one fateful day, she and her three oldest sons decided to build a business based on their shared love of food.
Glee Gum is made by Verve, Inc., a woman-owned Rhode Island business dedicated to creating environmentally and socially responsible products.
GoMacro was founded in 2004 by mother-daughter duo Amelia and Jola after Amelia was diagnosed with breast cancer and committed to a plant-based macrobiotic diet. The GoMacro brand emerged from their kitchen within a year, and eventually, they were able to share their 100% organic, nutrient-dense, plant-based snacks with the rest of us.
Heather started Green Seed Herbals 27 years ago after graduating from the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in Colorado. Raised in Idaho, she developed a deep appreciation and respect for the mountains, the high desert landscape, and the wild plants that grew there. School, work, and travel brought her to many parts of the Pacific North West, the Desert South West, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, New Zealand, India, and now New England. Every geographical location, unique climate, and flora have inspired her curiosity and admiration for native plants and their traditional uses.
It all began in 1968 when a young Jennifer Bice moved with her family from LA to Sebastopol, California. The oldest of ten siblings, she found a new passion when she joined the local 4H program: A love for goats. Over the next half-century, Jennifer Bice built on her affection for these endearing animals with her pioneering farm—which became the first Certified Humane® goat dairy in the United States.
In 2010, Redwood Hill Farm set out on a mission: to create a dairy that everyone could eat. Over the years, they received requests to create delicious dairy products that those with lactose sensitivities could eat too. After 40 years of perfecting goat dairy, the perfect cow dairy was a natural (and delicious) evolution. The Green Valley Creamery brand was born.
Iris Gage is a clinical herbalist, aromatherapist, and wilderness first responder who professionally practices in Central Vermont. Iris is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild and a graduate of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, a three-year clinical herbalism training program, where she works as a clinic supervisor. Iris owns Grian Herbs Apothecary, a retail herb shop in Montpelier, where she serves her community full-time as an herbal educator, practitioner, consultant, and manufacturer of herbal products.
It all began on the island of Maui, where Susan O’Brien was introduced to a local raw foods chef. She was blown away by how this innovative approach to food preparation using only plant-based ingredients could greatly benefit the body. Once back home, Susan started experimenting with this new-found obsession, crafting insanely decadent treats for friends and family.
After perfecting her favorite recipes, she took an enormous leap of faith. In 2008 she launched a brand of raw, plant-based snacks from her home in Dallas, Texas. She named it Hail Merry to inspire and reflect on the need for more female empowerment within our culture.
Vanessa and Casey are the two sisters behind Jaju pierogi. Inspired by their grandfather and using the family recipes, they started selling pierogi at farmers’ markets in 2016. They’ve been growing steadily since then. One of their favorite parts about our business is carrying on their Jaju’s (grandfather’s) legacy and sharing that same enthusiasm for business and personal connection.
It started as just a hike, no different than countless others Lara had taken into the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Little did she know she was about to come up with a mountain of an idea: combine simple ingredients such as fruits and nuts to create a food product that’s tasty, wholesome, and convenient. She tinkered with recipes with friends and family serving as focus groups until a consensus on yummy-ness was reached. The next step was to launch a company to market LÄRABAR.
It all started around a kitchen table in 2008 for the founder, Kirsten Quigley. While raising her young family, she noticed how much waste was generated daily from packing 20+ lunches a week and countless snacks on the go for classes, teams, and camps. The Lunchskins brand was born out of her need for a planet-friendly and stylish alternative to disposable plastic bags.
Ayesha Abuelhiga started Mason Dixie in 2014 to improve comfort food. “Homestyle” cooking shouldn’t mean settling for cheap, processed ingredients and scary chemicals. As a first-generation American, she proudly watched her immigrant parents serve quality comfort food at their small carry-out restaurant and convenience store.
Craving the same food she grew up on, she started making REAL biscuits and gave up her big corporate job to open a small restaurant. People loved it, and her customers inspired her to make her biscuits available at home. Years later, she’s still finding ways to get more great comfort food on your table.
Maya, Founder, Chief Culinary & Creative Officer, personally oversees the creation and curation of her entire collection. Maya’s passion for food and cooking blossomed at a young age. From watching Julia Child’s, The French Chef, with her mother, Lorraine, to tasting her father Chandran’s vibrant South Indian dishes—coconut milk-laced fish curries and tamarind-tangy lentil stews—Maya’s interest in food peaked. Her curiosity in spice, taste, and cooking developed during trips to her father’s home in Kerala as Maya learned to cook with her Aunty Kamala.
When she was just four, Mikaila got stung by a bee twice in one week. Naturally, she didn’t enjoy the bee stings and became scared of bees. But she did some research about them and became fascinated. She learned all about what they do for her and the ecosystem. Around that same time, her family encouraged her to make a product for a couple of children’s business competitions – the Acton Children’s Business Fair and Austin Lemonade Day. So, she put on her thinking cap. While she was thinking, her Great Granny Helen, who lived in Cameron, South Carolina, sent her family a 1940s cookbook, which included her special recipe for flaxseed lemonade.
She thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s lemonade recipe for the competitions? She decided to give her beloved lemonade a new twist by adding honey from bees instead of only sugar. That’s how Be Sweet Lemonade was born! She is now celebrating more than ten years in “buzzness!”
From their humble beginnings with four employees in Miyoko’s home kitchen to a 30,000 sq ft. state-of-the-art facility in Sonoma, they’re leading the way in transforming the future of the creamery. In just a few short years, their products have made it into thousands of stores across the country, and their ‘cheese’ wheels are on the road to global distribution in the near future. They’re changing perceptions of vegan food to inspire people from all walks of life to enjoy a phenomenally vegan lifestyle.
Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer, an Iowa homemaker, and mother of nine, inspired Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day household products. How’d it all get started? One of her daughters was walking down a cleaning aisle, eyeing all the products, and couldn’t help but notice the abundance of conventional ingredients and sterile smells. She had a brilliant idea right then and there: “Let’s make cleaners that smell nice, like a garden, but still work like the dickens on a daily dirt and grime.” Unsurprisingly, she named the product line after her very practical mom and rooted it in the common sense values she passed along to her kids.
Ashley co-founded MUSH in 2015 with the conviction that easy, delicious, and nutritious food can elevate the world in powerful ways. Early in life, Ashley’s sister was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The experience left an indelible mark on her, and she cultivated a strong belief that better outcomes begin with better food. She began her career as a trading analyst and like many others in finance, started each day with a run. Ashley soon realized that even on Wall Street, it was hard to access nutritious food and would bring her own ‘Mush’ to work, inspired by her favorite “hack” as a kid: cereal and oatmeal soaked in milk. She had discovered a white space that was equal parts healthy, delicious, and convenient. She quit her job and got to work.
The company has grown rapidly from its early days when Ashley would sell small handmade batches at local farmers’ markets in San Diego. Today, MUSH is the leading brand in its category, powered by a small but mighty team of passionate individuals who love to help others feel, think, and do better.
Marygrace Sexton started Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company on Thanksgiving of ’89. At the time, Natalie’s only squeezed orange & grapefruit juices in a facility that measured 1,000 sq. ft. The first order, to the Carnival Fruit Company in Miami, was squeezed fresh, bottled, & shipped on a truck borrowed from a local meat company.
After 30 years, the legacy set forth by Marygrace continues to flourish as the company has grown from a local operation to a global one. The untold story of our founder was featured in Forbes Magazine, “Fresh Fanatic: Private Equity Spoiled Natalie’s Juice Company. Then The Founder Rebottled It Into A $140M Success.” Natalie’s welcomed the next generation of juice, featuring a new line of holistic, cold-pressed juices mindfully crafted with functional botanicals, adaptogens, spices & superfood ingredients to promote health, wellness & nutrition. With the launch of the new juice line, Natalie’s continued to execute on mindfully improving its packaging with new BPA-free, 100% recyclable PET bottles.
Growing up on the counter of her mother’s natural food store in the 1970s and the factory floor of her father’s company Cape Cod Potato Chips, Nicole Bernard Dawes knew that becoming a natural products entrepreneur was her destiny. In 2003, she founded Late July Snacks – one of the first brands to carry the USDA Organic seal. She’s dedicated her life to transforming the food industry by creating delicious, organic options. Now, she is proud to bring you Nixie, sparkling water made without synthetic solvents, carriers, or artificial preservatives.
Australia native Koel Thomae brought her favorite yogurt recipe to the US in 2007, teamed up with fourth-generation dairy farmer Rob Graves, and created Noosa.
Margaret Coons started Nuts For Cheese in 2015 with a simple goal: use the highest quality ingredients to create the world’s best-tasting, gourmet vegan cheese. Their certified organic, 100% dairy-free vegan cheeses and butters are made with the finest, whole-food ingredients with no starches, gums, or fillers.
Francie created Olivia’s Croutons in April of 1991. She started in her own kitchen with the butter & garlic flavor, sold in brown bags, hand stamped with rubber stamps. So much has changed. They’ve grown from a 2,000-square-foot facility in Hinesburg, Vermont, to a 5,000-square-foot space on their farm, to a new 36,000-square-foot facility in Brandon, Vermont — positioning themselves to make lots and lots of croutons, with a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, a high-volume bread line, and new product development options.
Sadie, John, and little Otto founded Otto’s Naturals on the love of trying new foods, exploring unique ingredients, and the need for delicious alternatives to traditional foods while maintaining a gluten and grain-free lifestyle. Through this exploration, they found traditionally milled cassava flour, which, while promising, had significant negatives in taste, texture, and process. So, they set out on a mission for cassava flour that baked like all-purpose flour and tasted like it. They accomplished their goal with a group in Brazil, mastering the art of premium cassava flour — no fermented, musty taste or smell. This is truly the highest quality cassava flour on the market, where taste and performance are pure differentiators.
Pipcorn was born in 2012 when Jeff Martin was helping his sister, Jen, move apartments. With everything packed up except a bag of tiny heirloom popcorn kernels that Jen found in the Chicago health food store where she worked, they popped batch after batch of the most delicious popcorn they’d ever had! They liked it so much that they tracked down the Indiana farmer who grew it from his family’s heirloom seed stock. Together with Jeff’s wife, Teresa, they created a new company, Pipsnacks. They are proud to be a women-owned, minority-owned family business.
Katie McCarron founded Portland Pet Food Company out of the need to care for her pets the same way we care for ourselves. After spending over 20 years as a health communications consultant, she turned her nutritional eye to Rosie, her aging, standard poodle’s diet. Unsure of what to feed finicky Rosie, who no longer enjoyed canned food and had begun to lose weight, the number of unnatural supplements in basic dog food shocked Katie. She began cooking Rosie’s home meals, always focusing on locally sourced, natural ingredients. Rosie regained the lost weight, and with her family by her side, Katie expanded on her meals and dog biscuits.
Elizabeth Stein started selling muffin and pancake mixes at a triathlon in Westchester in 2009. Fifteen years later, she is still creating nutritious food with innovative ingredients.
Sara Stender Delaney, a lifelong entrepreneur, and global activist, created Sarilla. Operating between Vermont, Western North Carolina, and Rwanda, she has been alcohol-free since she was 28. Sara felt there were very few better-for-you alcohol-free beverages that taste great, are free from artificial ingredients and sugar, and feel just as celebratory as alcohol. She made it her mission to solve this problem so everyone could feel special and included, all while working directly with farmers so they could also benefit from our success as we grow.
Siete Family Foods was born when Veronica Garza’s family helped her overcome a series of major health challenges. As a teenager, she was diagnosed with multiple debilitating autoimmune conditions that almost wrecked her life. Veronica began learning about the ways that food can heal us. At her brother’s urging, she adopted a low-inflammation, elimination diet, and the whole family chose to join her on the journey.
As a Mexican-American family from South Texas, the tacos and fajitas that they used to enjoy on tortillas just didn’t taste the same on a lettuce leaf. So she began making almond flour tortillas for her family, and they loved them. She knew she had something special when her Grandma Campos told her that her tortillas tasted better than the homemade ones she’d made for decades.
Siete Family Foods is a mission-based company. They’re passionate about making and sharing real food, gathering together in an authentic community, and advocating for healthier lifestyles among Latino families.
Katlin Smith was in her 20s when she started experimenting with grain-free, paleo-friendly muffin recipes in her Atlanta kitchen. She was inspired to get more people to eat clean, so she launched Simple Mills. She quickly upgraded her baking mix product line to include better-for-you cookies, crackers, and snack bars. In 2021, Simple Mills expanded its mission to include planetary health by committing to advancing regenerative agriculture through its product innovation. From a 12-bag order delivered to a local Whole Foods in 2012, Simple Mills is now on the shelves of 28,000+ stores ten years later.
Skoy Enterprises LLC is a woman-owned business located in Encinitas, California, founded by Michelle Lundqvist and Karen Petersen. They found their niche by introducing products that are tried and tested that replace outdated solutions in the kitchen. Skoy’s products are packaged in the USA using The Arc of San Diego – an organization that employs people with disabilities. Our co-op currently carries the Skoy Cloth, Skoy Scrub, Skoy Towel, and Skoy Holder.
Tara Bosch has always had a love affair with candy. She started SmartSweets after wanting to change her relationship with candy after experiencing excess sugar’s negative effects on her health. Tara tried to eat less sugar, but that only made her crave candy even more, sparking her quest to kick sugar and keep the candy! After spending months recipe testing in her kitchen with a gummy bear mold, she innovated the first delicious candy – without all the sugar. Smart Sweets has gender equality on its board, and 80% of employees are female.
Founder Carmel reigned victorious at a Pillsbury bakeoff in 1995. Did she win for talent or for decorating the cake with their company logo? It’s a mystery. But we know that Supernatural is all about those freewheeling, creative vibes. Sometimes we make blue ribbon treats. Sometimes we forget to add baking soda. But the times we love it are all the time. That’s why we’re here.
It all started when Kathleen King, founder of Tate’s Bake Shop, began baking when she was eleven, selling small batches of her crisp, buttery chocolate chip cookies off of a fold-out card table on North Sea Farm, her parents’ Long Island farmstead.
In 1980, when she was only 21, Kathleen rented a space her mother spotted and opened her first bake shop. She developed a full line of traditional American baked goods, perfecting every recipe herself and baking each dessert from scratch. Named after her father, Tate’s Bake Shop is the result of Kathleen’s love of baking and a keen eye for quality.
Jenny Eu started tinkering with nut milks in her kitchen in 2012 and selling them at local farmers’ and pop-up markets in 2013. One day she dropped some bottles off at Rainbow Co-op and Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco without an appointment with the buyers. Jenny was in five stores for a year, then in about thirty the following. She’s now proud to have retail partners across the entire country.
Ursa Major founders Emily Doyle and Oliver Sweatman started their “supernatural” skincare brand after leaving New York City for the pastoral hills of Waterbury, Vermont. The move, and their eventual brand ethos, came out of a desire to live a more healthy, active, and balanced life, one with ready access to the outdoors. In searching for new, natural alternatives to their go-to face, hair, and body care products, the duo found the results disappointing—so they decided to make something much better.
Emily von Trapp is the third generation to cultivate the land where she sustainably grows over a hundred thousand specialty tulips, and many varieties of annual and perennial cut flowers in Waitsfield, Vermont. The daughter of a horticulturalist and self-taught master gardener, she grew up around flowers. She’s now been selling sustainably grown seasonal flowers to markets in Central Vermont for over 20 years.
Ten years ago, she realized that she needed to find a way to extend the season to provide her markets with year-round blooms. She turned to one of her favorite flowers- tulips! That first season she started with only 3,000 tulip bulbs. Now she is up to over 200,000 specialty tulip bulbs. Tulips are available in markets beginning in January. What a local treasure!
Watcharee Limanon, the creative force behind Watcharee’s brand, is passionate about sharing Thailand’s culinary traditions. As a young girl in Thailand, she spent many happy hours with her mother learning to make traditional Thai food from family recipes. When it came time to choose a career, though, she followed in the footsteps of her father, a Thai Supreme Court justice, and became a lawyer. While traveling in Asia to advise governments on environmental law, she rediscovered her passion for cooking and was inspired to become a chef. Changing careers, she deepened her knowledge and skills in Thailand’s culinary traditions at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School in Bangkok.
Lin Jiang grew up in China, where her days were filled with delicious, surprisingly-nutritious food her mom would create. One meal in particular, so simple yet so comforting, was a favorite: her mother’s black sesame porridge. Food was an act of care made with ingredients lovingly chosen to provide energy and wellness. After Lin moved to the US, she began to crave the nutty, semi-sweet, toasty flavor of the porridge and the feeling it gave her. But not only were the hot cereal options in the United States supermarkets filled with sugar and lacking functional benefits. So, she decided to create Yishi in honor of her mother‘s thoughtful food approach and share her heritage and the unique flavors of Asia.
The name Yishi is based on the Chinese word for ritual. Nourishing your body with whole, functional foods is more than just a routine occurrence – it‘s a small daily moment of celebration.
Yishi oatmeal incorporates superfoods, protein, and fiber in every bowl, promoting balanced energy and offering a moment of self-care at the start of (or any time during) the day. Whether you want to glow, focus, energize, strengthen, or relax, we have a flavor with ingredients specifically tailored for each purpose. Food is medicine – it’s time to give your body the respect it deserves!