If you’re like most of us, you grew up on nachos, vending machine cinnamon rolls, and fast food chicken sandwiches. Our parents would give us a few dollars. We’d eat whatever tasted good. And more often than not, if it was cheap and tasty, it was also accelerating chronic disease and climate change. That’s how unjust our food system is.

We think there are a couple reasons for this. First, the tools of our food system are limited. We’re talking soy, corn, processed sugar, and animal protein. These are the core ingredients that the biggest food companies are using to make the food that is all around us. And it’s not that these big companies don’t care. In fact, they do care. It’s hard to do anything different.

And it’s not just a limitation of tools, it’s a mindset. The world does not believe it’s possible to have healthier, sustainable food that is also affordable and delicious. That keeps anyone from even trying.

We are trying to change that mindset. We started with this idea that we would build a food system that makes it really easy for people to eat well. How do you create a system like that? And could we get it done in our lifetime? How would that change things? And what would we need to do, day-to-day, as a company, to make that happen?

It starts with the tools.

There happen to be over 300,000 of them. 300,000+ species of plants all around the world that have never been explored for how they can make our cookies or pasta or ice cream or butter or scrambled eggs better.

So, we literally started to explore them by hand. The interest was finding plants that, because of their health, sustainability impact and potential to make delicious food, will help us achieve our mission. Then, because we want to do this in our lifetime, we built an automated discovery platform to explore them faster and look even closer. And we’ve been applying the best of them to make food for our friends in McDowell County, West Virginia, our neighbors in San Francisco, California, and Agnes, one of the most inspiring 12-year-olds we’ve ever met. She lives in Monrovia, Liberia. That is our mindset.

Today, our products can be found in the Boise, Idaho Co-op at 888 W Fort Street, and on the shelves of your Ralphs in West Hollywood. You can find us at Texas A&M football games and library cafes at Yale. Or in Mexico City grocery aisles, and coffee bars on the busiest street in Hong Kong. And increasingly, we’re open to the idea of enabling other companies to use our platform, too. We know we’re not going to solve this alone.

Our family here is full of computational biologists from Stanford, and food engineers from Kraft and Campbell’s, and chefs from Michelin-star restaurants. They’re from Apple and General Electric. They’ve come from some of the biggest and most innovative companies in the world to do everything they possibly can, every single day, to increase the probability that, before we die, a fair, honest, and just food system is the food system in every community. 

So, that’s our mission. It’s 5 years in the making, and we have a long way to go.