At Clif Bar & Company, our journey to use organic ingredients started more than 15 years ago. In 2002, Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, Clif Bar & Company co-owners and co-chief visionary officers, made the decision to take Clif Bar organic. They didn’t do it because they had a vision that future consumers would want organic food. They went organic because they believed deeply that organic food has a positive impact on people, the planet and farming communities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture had issued its first set of official organic program rules just one year earlier, but the lack of a blueprint didn’t deter Gary and Kit. They relished the chance to take a risk and embark on a new adventure.
The road hasn’t been without its bumps. Some organic ingredients have proven tougher to find—sometimes impossible due to increasing U.S. and worldwide demand. Organic ingredients were, and in some cases, remain more expensive. But the expense was worth it to Gary and Kit, because organic was the right thing to do.
Fifteen years later, 74 percent of all the ingredients we source come from organic farms—more than 750 million pounds of organic ingredients like oats, almonds and figs and blueberries since we began using them. By 2020, we aim to use 80 percent organic and certified sustainable ingredients, and will continue striving for more.
Clif Bar & Company has also become the largest private funder of organic research in the United States, with a $10 million commitment to fund five endowed professorships at our nation’s leading land grant universities. Our first endowment was in partnership with Organic Valley and the University of Wisconsin. We have also funded 17 graduate fellows who are studying organic farming, and have been working with state and federal officials and non-profits to increase funding for farmers transitioning from conventional to organic farming techniques. Our Clif Bar Family Foundation supports nonprofits nationwide that focus on organic and sustainable food and farming.
The people of Clif Bar share Gary and Kit’s passion for organic—from our in-house dietitians to our organic home gardeners. We believe organic is the gold standard in food, and its integrity must be protected. Organic food is critical to creating a healthier and more sustainable food system. Growing food organically avoids the use of toxic, persistent pesticides; puts fewer polluting chemicals into the environment and replenishes soil for use by future generations.
Organic isn’t just a buzzword at Clif Bar. It’s a commitment. One we take seriously. One we work at daily. We are unwavering in our belief that when we place organic at the center of the food choices we make each day, we can have a powerful, positive impact on people, the planet and farming communities.