Trending Towards Healthy – The Year in Food

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in families, fast food, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, school food, sustainability | 0 comments

Looking back at the year in food, we feel more strongly than ever that we are part of a larger movement towards healthier eating. As this article from NPR points out, evidence of these trends can be seen in the biggest producers. Reacting to consumer demands, even McDonald’s has taken steps to use healthier, more sustainably produced ingredients. This shows that clearly we are part of a larger movement changing how everyone eats, not just those already shopping at Whole Foods.

We at Butter Beans are often told that we are just providing good food to a small niche. This article proves that change we are part of is now reaching all parts of the food system and our “niche” is only growing. Sales of foods marketed towards health and sustainability conscious consumers surged in 2015, indicating that a much larger trend is only beginning. As the health benefits of nutritious eating become more and more apparent (especially for young kids in schools), all kinds of consumers are acting to create a change.

If you believe in critical tipping points that propel major changes, this past year hinted that one such shift may lie near on the horizon. Often the best way to measure the success of a movement is to follow the actions of the largest and most influential actors in the industry. The fact that big, highly profit-driven companies such as Kraft are seeking to include more natural ingredients in their products makes us hopeful for the future. Healthy foods are no longer just for yoga-moms and crunchy-foodies; now all kinds of Americans are showing concern for the kinds of foods carried by even large chain supermarkets and fast-food joints. This is how a paradigm shift occurs. At Butter Beans, we see everyday how we can shape the next generation of healthy, food-educated consumers to demand that America becomes a nation that embraces nutritious food.

Read More

Employee Spotlight – Tania Lopez

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, giving, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, wellness | 0 comments


This week we highlight the incredible work of Tania Lopez, our school lunch supervisor at Nord Anglia International School. Outside of her work at Butter Beans, Tania founded an organization called Coqui the Chef which works to promote healthy eating in her home community of the South Bronx.

Check out this video, “Kids Cooking for a Brighter Future,” to catch a glimpse of Tania’s interactive and educational classes and hear her talk about why she finds this work so important in food deserts like the South Bronx.

In her series of fun, interactive, and informative cooking videos for children, Tania hopes to directly combat the current trends of childhood obesity. For Tania, this national epidemic can be felt strongest closest to home where a walk around any block will reveal a plethora of fast food joints, but very little in the way of fresh produce. Tania believes that this makes nutritional education all the more essential in these communities. Tania is using powerful community-based and culturally relevant education to build a healthier South Bronx from within, resisting the profit making forces of corporate fast food and the industrial global food system.

Tania says that working at Butter Beans has given her valuable perspective on how kids eat. While engaging at lunchtime with kids of different communities and backgrounds from her own, Tania has been able learn a lot learn how to best educate all kinds of children about healthy eating. For Tania, there is little more inspiring than seeing all sorts of communities come together over good food.

We’re so proud of Tania for taking the passion we all have for healthy eating education back to her own community. She is currently working hard to secure funding and hopes to expand her web episodes to a full television series. In this format, Tania hopes to reach a wider audience and connect communities across the city that also exist in food deserts.

Watch a trailer and full episode of her show below!

Read More

What Being on the Inc 5000 List Means to Butter Beans

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in cooking with kids, families, featured articles, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, raising children, school food, wellness | 0 comments

By Belinda DiGiambattista, Butter Beans co-founder and CEO

I’m often asked to describe my profession when meeting someone new. When I explain that I founded a company whose mission is to connect children and adults to the food they eat through providing healthy lunch programs and food education, the person to whom I am talking connects immediately with this and declares, “I wish you were in my child’s school and my office! All the parents where I live would love this.”

I feel honored every day to provide jobs in my community that aim to serve school children, teachers, and adults healthy meals. Everyone on our team takes their responsibility seriously knowing we provide fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and grains that nourish the bodies and minds we feed.

This year, I am proud to share that Butter Beans has found a place on the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in America, which is based on the past three years of company growth. This achievement comes to us a result of the collective efforts of our committed and passionate team members, as well as the schools and organizations that entrust our company with the care of their meal programs.

There are many reasInc5000galapicwitheditorons to celebrate this occasion, but perhaps the most important reason has to do with what the success of a wellness company like Butter Beans means for our society. Parents, students and workers are voting with their forks every day when they choose to eat a hot, wholesome meal made from scratch and comprised of mostly vegetables, healthy grains, and ABF, hormone-free proteins. They accompany this hot meal with salad, eggs, raw veggies, fruit, homemade granola, yogurt (with no sugar added), and bean spreads like hummus.

Felicia Desrosiers and I started Butter Beans in 2008, in large part to reverse the statistic reported by the Center for Disease Control that “The generation of Americans born in the year 2000 is the first in history to have a shorter life expectancy than its parents.” Improving our children’s eating habits over time by providing a healthy school lunch and experiential food education, moves our country one child closer to reversing this statistic every day.

Being an entrepreneur brings new challenges to bear every day. But with those challenges, come an equal number of reasons to take pride in this work. Seeing the number of jobs these 5,000 companies have created in the past three years acknowledges the payoff for all of the work we do day in and day out to keep our companies alive and thriving. The Inc 5000 companies created a combined one million+ jobs for the US economy over the past three years.

This blog post is dedicated to our employees for making Butter Beans possible and to our customers who trust us to serve their precious jewels every day or who visit our cafeteria at their place of work. Butter Beans will continue to strive for excellent service in all of our schools, while providing our employees with opportunities for growth in this important field of food and wellness. Here’s to the next three years!

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Food Waste: From “Farm to Fork to Landfill”

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in agriculture, families, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, news and happenings | 1 comment

2878997800_c13c7ac94dHave you ever thought twice about throwing out last week’s leftovers? Turns out, you’re not alone! According to the fifth annual Eco Pulse survey, 39% of Americans feel the most “green guilt” for wasting food.

A recent issue paper from the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,” established a framework about U.S. food waste, summarizing the opportunities available to reduce wasted food. Here are some of the paper’s major findings:

  • Americans trash 40% of our food supply every year (that’s around $165 billion)
  • The average American family of four ends up throwing away the equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food
  • Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills
  • Just a 15% reduction in losses in the U.S. food supply would save enough food to feed 25 million Americans annually

Dana Gunders, a NRDC project scientist and the issue paper’s author states, “With the price of food continuing to grow, and drought jeopardizing farmers nationwide, now is the time to embrace all the tremendous untapped opportunities to get more out of our food system.”

Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half its Food (And What We Can do About It),” attributes the main reasons as to why Americans waste so much food to abundance, beauty, and cost. He says,“In terms of beauty, we have reached the point where appearance trumps taste with our food. Anything that doesn’t meet those requirements — whether in the store or in the home — often ends up being thrown out.”

Yet, according to the USDA 1 in 6 Americans don’t have enough to eat.

In order to increase the efficiency of the American food system, the NRDC believes that we must collectively work together by involving decision-makers at every level of the supply chain. Dana Gunders and project scientists hold true that this type of multi-pronged response is needed to prevent this alarming issue from getting worse. They believe that the key decision-makers are the federal government, state and local governments, businesses both large and small, and of course, the individual American citizen.

Here are some tips to reduce your family’s food waste footprint today:

  • Grocery shop more frequently, to minimize the potential for wasting perishable produce.
  • At the grocery store or farmers market, bring reusable bags with you to save on throw away plastic.
  • Create a detailed shopping list to help curb costly and unnecessary add-ons.
  • Freeze any leftovers that you know will not be eaten within a few days, and reuse those leftovers from dinner to pack for lunch the next day.
  • Organize your fridge, and keep tabs on what it holds. Knowing your inventory helps reduce food waste. Keep half used items in plain sight so you feel inspired to use them up first.
  • Make an everything dish that uses up ingredients that need to be cooked, like a frittata, vegetable soup, quick breads or casseroles.
  • Compost: if you don’t have space for a compost bin, you can keep a sturdy freezer bag of your food scraps and store in your freezer. Freezing your compost will help cut out any smells. Many farmers markets take household compost, like GrowNYC. Just bring it on over, and your food scraps will be turned into fertile soil for use in urban farming and gardening projects.

Becoming informed of the waste that we contribute to is just the first step. Check out how some people have started to tackle the waste, and try finding a better home for your food than the landfill. For inspiring examples of food waste solutions, take a look at what City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City are up to. Let us know what steps you are taking to help curb your food waste at home.

Photo courtesy of Loopzilla

Read More

Food Waste: From “Farm to Fork to Landfill”

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in agriculture, families, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, news and happenings | 1 comment

2878997800_c13c7ac94dHave you ever thought twice about throwing out last week’s leftovers? Turns out, you’re not alone! According to the fifth annual Eco Pulse survey, 39% of Americans feel the most “green guilt” for wasting food.

A recent issue paper from the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,” established a framework about U.S. food waste, summarizing the opportunities available to reduce wasted food. Here are some of the paper’s major findings:

  • Americans trash 40% of our food supply every year (that’s around $165 billion)
  • The average American family of four ends up throwing away the equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food
  • Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills
  • Just a 15% reduction in losses in the U.S. food supply would save enough food to feed 25 million Americans annually

Dana Gunders, a NRDC project scientist and the issue paper’s author states, “With the price of food continuing to grow, and drought jeopardizing farmers nationwide, now is the time to embrace all the tremendous untapped opportunities to get more out of our food system.”

Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half its Food (And What We Can do About It),” attributes the main reasons as to why Americans waste so much food to abundance, beauty, and cost. He says,“In terms of beauty, we have reached the point where appearance trumps taste with our food. Anything that doesn’t meet those requirements — whether in the store or in the home — often ends up being thrown out.”

Yet, according to the USDA 1 in 6 Americans don’t have enough to eat.

In order to increase the efficiency of the American food system, the NRDC believes that we must collectively work together by involving decision-makers at every level of the supply chain. Dana Gunders and project scientists hold true that this type of multi-pronged response is needed to prevent this alarming issue from getting worse. They believe that the key decision-makers are the federal government, state and local governments, businesses both large and small, and of course, the individual American citizen.

Here are some tips to reduce your family’s food waste footprint today:

  • Grocery shop more frequently, to minimize the potential for wasting perishable produce.
  • At the grocery store or farmers market, bring reusable bags with you to save on throw away plastic.
  • Create a detailed shopping list to help curb costly and unnecessary add-ons.
  • Freeze any leftovers that you know will not be eaten within a few days, and reuse those leftovers from dinner to pack for lunch the next day.
  • Organize your fridge, and keep tabs on what it holds. Knowing your inventory helps reduce food waste. Keep half used items in plain sight so you feel inspired to use them up first.
  • Make an everything dish that uses up ingredients that need to be cooked, like a frittata, vegetable soup, quick breads or casseroles.
  • Compost: if you don’t have space for a compost bin, you can keep a sturdy freezer bag of your food scraps and store in your freezer. Freezing your compost will help cut out any smells. Many farmers markets take household compost, like GrowNYC. Just bring it on over, and your food scraps will be turned into fertile soil for use in urban farming and gardening projects.

Becoming informed of the waste that we contribute to is just the first step. Check out how some people have started to tackle the waste, and try finding a better home for your food than the landfill. For inspiring examples of food waste solutions, take a look at what City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City are up to. Let us know what steps you are taking to help curb your food waste at home.

Photo courtesy of Loopzilla

Read More

Vote For Butter Beans!

Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 in after school, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, featured articles, Food & Farm program, Food for thought, gardens, healthy food, home remedies, local food, lunch time, news and happenings, raising children, Recipes, school food, seasonal, seasonal food of the month, summer camp | 2 comments

For all of you wonderful blog followers out there, we have a short and sweet favor to ask of you.

We have entered a contest to obtain a $250,000 grant to help grow our company, and would love your support! In order for us to be considered for this grant, we will need 250 votes by Saturday, June 30th.

As of this morning we have a grand total of 162 votes, so our goal is indeed reachable. Feel free to spread the word to your respective blog communities, friends, family and colleagues. Thank you for your support in our vision of improving children’s lives through healthy eating and nutrition education.

To vote, visit http://bit.ly/votebutterbeans, and click on the bottom right “Log In & Support” to log in through your facebook account. Search for “Butter Beans” and click on us.

Your vote will help support Butter Beans by increasing the number of children that participate and have access to our nutritious school lunches and snacks, along with growing our nutrition & wellness programs in schools, providing scholarships for our food & garden summer camp, and so much more!

Read More