BY :Toni OkamotoPUBLISHED : July 19th, 2018UPDATED: September 2nd, 2021
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I do most of my weekly shopping at Sprouts because of their unbeatable prices on produce! I’m regularly posting photos of 3 avocados for $1 or a pound of cherries for $2. I LOVE shopping at their store, so you can imagine how excited I was when they asked me to fly to Phoenix for their Plant-Based Getaway // Influencer’s Retreat. They sponsored a whole trip for 10 influencers to learn about the awesome ways they’re advancing their plant-based efforts, and showed us in general the ways that they are doing good in the world.
I don’t talk about it much, but I have a special place in my heart for business. Compassionate and mission-driven businesses, to be exact. I studied at University of San Francisco’s School of Management and fell in love with Jesuit leadership principles, living in service, conscious capitalism, and it was there that I decided it was my life’s calling to focus full-time on bringing accessible and affordable plant-based food to everyone. This Sprouts getaway combined all of those passions into one trip, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity. Here are my highlights and takeaways:
Good Food. Good People.
This ain’t no lie. Everyone I encountered was thoughtful and kind (Hi Diego and Erin!). They planned the most exciting weekend that was filled with learning about their business practices, tasting their vegan food, hearing about their sustainability initiatives, touring their stores, hearing from their buyers, learning how they source their foods. It was really, truly fascinating. As an ethical vegan and as someone who subscribes to a more utilitarian outlook, it makes me happy to know that by supporting Sprouts, I’m supporting the effort they put into creating a more compassionate business model.
Also, I have been referred to as the word “influencer” before, but it was only for the first time during this visit that I actually felt it. Sprouts openly listened to our stories and some staff were literally taking notes on what our audiences want. I shared the gratitude on behalf of my dear readers for double-ad Wednesdays, affordable bulk bin prices, digital coupons, super sale produce, and more. I also shared the fact that I strongly believe that this spike in popularity of plant-based eating is not a trend but instead a cultural shift.
I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to waste less. Waste less plastic, waste less food, waste less time. It made me happy to know that Sprouts is considerate of their waste, too. At the store that we visited, they showed us the food that is rescued. It’s perfectly edible food that is near sell-by date and is donated to local food banks. This particular location donates 20,000 pounds of food per month! That’s amazing.
Living in Service
We learned all about the Sprouts Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the brand. Their mission is the mission that drives me from my core. It’s to bring healthy food to people and communities that need it most. As part of our learning, we filled bags with healthy food options for children to take home from school. There are many kids who only eat substantial meals when they are fed breakfast and lunch during the school week, but thanks to Sprouts and the lovely people who filled the bags, on this day children and their families were able to have more to eat at home.
My experience on this retreat was one that I wont forget. If you have a Sprouts in your area, I recommend checking them out!
About Toni Okamoto
"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez