One exhibitor here at the show is sourcing mint leaves from a farm operated by refugees brought to the United States by the International Rescue Committee. Besides assisting in the legalities involved in relocation, the organization helps acclimate these desperate, capable people to their new lives stateside by placing them in one of 22 communities around the country where fellow countrymen have also settled.
A lot of these folks were farmers. In order to make the wrenching transition a bit softer, the IRC has established a number of farms that allow those fleeing from war in Iran or Somalia, among others, to do what they do best.
An IRC representative tells me that two retailers — one a Florida independent and the other a well-known national natural foods chain (one guess) — are in discussions with the group to enter into farming programs with some of those relocated refugees. The indie is thinking of putting a farm atop the roof of one of their stores, while the other is considering creating a farm on one store's property. The harvest would be shared with the farmers, and the extra bounty sold or used in the stores.
Talk about retailers doing good. It's not just local marketing, or community outreach. It's about bringing the world to your customers. Of these compassionate plans, we can only say Bravo. As the plans progress, we'll report on them in SN's regular blog, Refresh, and in the magazine's wellness quarterly, SN Whole Health.