The notion of the small, crunchy business with a cool grassroots origin story, and a hippie, love-all ethic has been turned on its head in recent years. Did you know that Burt’s Bees is part of the Clorox Family, that Stoneyfield Organics was bought out by Danon, and that Dagoba chocolate belongs to Hershey Foods? While little niche businesses exist (and many have found a way to sell through farmer’s markets, Etsy, and other artisanal marketplaces), finding and buying from a company whose ideals you believe in is not as easy as one would think. And the issue is complicated: since Clorox and Burt’s Bees combined, Clorox has actually made major strides in improving sustainability and has reduced its landfill waste by significant amounts. Many of us assume that a brand’s organic cred equates to a healthy attitude toward the planet, its consumers, and its workers, but recently I had to look beyond the logo of green health food product line Eden Foods and decide whether the politics behind the brand are too controversial for me to continue purchasing them.

eden foods, ethical consumption, ethical buying, food
Image via Blue Nation Review

Eden Foods has been one of our go-to brands for years, primarily for their huge collection of products and their commitment to providing quality organic goods (including many hard-to-find macrobiotic goodies). I remember drinking their soy milk back in the early 90s when I became a vegetarian, and the brand touts itself as the “oldest natural and organic food company in North America.” So I was surprised to find that the company had been quietly suing the government so that it wouldn’t have to pay for oral contraceptives (or “lifestyle drugs” as the CEO has referred to them). It’s a controversial move to many who often associate the organic health food scene with a more liberal contingent. As a result of CEO Michael Potter’s comments and actions, numerous people have boycotted Eden Foods and have called for stores such as Whole Foods to boycott the brand as well. Will you be one of them? As a woman who recognizes the importance of birth control for a variety of purposes other than preventing pregnancy including heavy premenstrual and menstrual cramping and issues relating to endometriosis, I have a hard time supporting a company that is relying on the beliefs of one person in a position of power to decide the well-being of his entire employee workforce.

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