Welcome to the food world of the 21st century: you can order groceries online and have Siri find you the nearest Shake Shack. But are these options leading us to more sustainable food? 

It’s high time we redefine “sustainable” to include the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the food we eat. Why not support the sustainable food companies who are doing it right?

Hold on to your reusable grocery bags, kids–here are the top five game changers and tastemakers who are shaking up the food industry in all the right ways.

1. Greyston Bakery

Yonkers, NY 
Camryn Hellwarth

In case you need another reason to treat yourself to the gooey goodness of brownies, Greyston gives you three: sustainability, social justice, and sweet ingredients. With an open door policy that offers employment regardless of an individual’s history, Greyston Bakery is serving up second chances for members of the Yonkers community. 

And social justice isn’t the only ingredient in these brownies. Solar panels on the bakery harness energy from the sun to fuel production, and fair trade chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and cage free eggs are baked into every treat. Now that’s a food company you can feel good about.

Beyond the bakery, Greyston has implemented community gardens, an Early Learning Center, and a Workforce Development program in Yonkers. All of this just makes their brown sugar blondies and vegan fudge brownies that much sweeter.

What are you waiting for? Find Greyston brownies near you!

2. Salty Girl Seafood, Inc.

Santa Barbara, CA 

When it comes to seafood, things can get a little fishy. Lucky for us, the gals at Salty Girl are connecting shoppers in the grocery store to fishermen and blowing us out of the water with their seasoned, ready-to-cook, frozen fillets.

You’re in good hands with Salty Girl Seafood—the women behind the company have spent their faire share of time on the docks, and use their academic background in marine resource management to guide their business model.

By growing their relationships with fisheries to bring sustainable and traceable seafood to supermarket shelves, they’ve created a brand of fish with its own tracking code, which lets you know the story of the fishermen, where the fish was caught, and the sustainability of the fishing methods used.

Camryn Hellwarth

What’s not to love about making sources of food traceable and food producers accountable for their practices? Salty Girl Seafood is bringing a whole new meaning to sustainable food. 

Ready for dinner? With the help of Salty Girl Seafood, things are sure to go swimmingly.

3. Drive Change

New York, NY

The food truck trend is taking a social justice spin with the work of the folks at Drive Change. It’s here that ideas of sustainability expand beyond local ingredients and seasonal menus to include sustainable futures and strengthened communities.

With a one-year fellowship program for young adults who are transitioning from jail, Drive Change offers culinary training and employment opportunities on their Vendy Award-winning food truck, Snowday, where fellows put their cooking, hospitality, and management skills to practice. 

In response New York state’s criminal system that prosecutes individuals as adults starting at the age of sixteen, Drive Change has combined missions for social justice and sustainability to help these youth overcome challenges of attaining employment and education.

You can find these empowered young adults cooking up Maple Grilled Cheese sandwiches and broccoli rabe caesar salads throughout the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan as they fuel their future careers and support local food systems.

Check out the schedule for Snowday and get your next food truck fix!

4. Everytable

Los Angeles, CA

Camryn Hellwarth

If you want to eat a California cobb salad or Jamaican jerk chicken bowl that helps feed lower income communities, Everytable should be your go-to grab-n-go spot.

This chain of restaurants is popping up around the Los Angeles area to serve healthy, fresh, high-quality foods, while charging different prices at each location, based on the needs of the neighborhoods that surround each restaurant.

A photo posted by Everytable (@foreverytable) on

This business structure allows the same gourmet meals served in Downtown LA to be offered in South LA, but at a fraction of the price. Talk about food justice and accessibility! At Everytable, you can eat healthy, hearty meals crafted by renowned chefs no matter your economic background or geographic location. 

Want to eat at Everytable every day? Find store locations and menus here.

5. Hot Bread Kitchen

Harlem, NY

Food incubator meets bakery training center meets community food hub: Hot Bread Kitchen is bringing food justice and enterprise to Harlem. Bakers in Training is a program run by HBK which provides a paid job for immigrant women.

Here, they learn the craft of artisan bread making, bakery math, and science, which enables them to bake breads from around the world to be sold in the HBK East Harlem retail store, as well as at NYC Greenmarkets, local restaurants, and online. By the time these women leave HBK, they’re ready for employment in artisan bakeries around the city. 

Here, they learn the craft of artisan bread making, bakery math and science, which enables them to bake breads from around the world to be sold in the Hot Bread Kitchen store. By the time these women leave HBK, they’re ready for employment in artisan bakeries around the city.

Challah, tortillas, and naan–oh my! Even if baking isn’t your thing, Hot Bread Kitchen supports all types of food ventures: they host a communal kitchen space and business support program for food entrepreneurs who are working to get their ideas off the ground.

Whether you’re buying their bread or taking part in their programs, Hot Bread Kitchen immerses you in the community of Harlem and cultures from around the world.

With the help of Hot Bread Kitchen, breaking bread is easy. Check out their full menu and mission here.  

Don't let the rhetoric of the food world fool you; it takes more to make sustainable food than ingredients alone. Now that you've got the inside scoop on the food companies who are breaking the mold, you can roam grocery store aisles and scan restaurant menus with confidence.

Here's to a future of supporting sustainable food companies that are doing it right.