Today on Business Rockstars, Ken Rutkowski talks with Arran Stephens, the Founder of Nature’s Path Organic Foods, a privately owned, family-run, and certified organic manufacturer of cereals, granolas, oatmeal, and snack bars. The recipient of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, he will share how he turned his small vegetarian restaurant into North America’s largest organic breakfast foods company.
Arran Stephens, President and Founder of Nature’s Path Organic Foods, was born and raised on his family’s farm on pristine Vancouver Island. Dad Rupert pioneered organic mulching methods in the 1950’s, guiding his son to: “Always leave the soil better than you found it,” — a guiding philosophy for life. At 23, Arran returned from 7 months in India with $7. On a hope and a prayer, he opened Canada’s first vegetarian restaurant. LifeStream®, Canada’s first natural food supermarket followed in 1971 and operated until being sold in 1981. Life-partner Ratana and Arran began Nature’s Path out of the back of their vegetarian restaurant in 1985, and in 1990, the company became one of the very first third-party certified organic processors in North America.
Nature’s Path Foods Inc. is today North America’s largest organic breakfast foods company, with certified state-of-the-art processing facilities in WA, WI and BC, employing hundreds of valued people. The company also owns 3,000 acres in Saskatchewan which are cooperatively farmed.
Arran has been a staunch opponent of GMO proliferation since 1990, served on the OTA board during the creation and launch of the USDA Organic Rule, and currently serves on the Rodale Inst Board, other non-profit boards and is a founding member of the Non-GMO Project.
Nature’s Path supports various non-profit and charitable organizations that protect endangered species, food banks, Gardens for Good, and has committed $600,000 to the California Ballot Initiative for Mandatory GMO Labeling. Nature’s Path remains proudly independent, family-owned and not for sale.
Author: Journey to the Luminous (Elton-Wolf, 1999), Moth & the Flame (www.mothandtheflame.com) and Co-author with Eliot Jay Rosen, The Compassionate Diet—How What You Eat Can Change Your Life and Save the Planet, (Rodale Books, 2011). He wrote The Compassionate Diet because he believes eating a plant-based diet can lead to a more humane, healthy and peaceful lifestyle for everyone.
He was also the recipient of E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year, Schumacher Sustainability and other awards. Voted Best 50 Companies to work for in Canada three years in a row, etc.
He and Ratana, wife and full partner of 43 years, have four children (two of whom are active leaders in the family enterprise), and four grandchildren. As entrepreneur, artist, writer, ecology advocate and seeker, Arran has an enduring commitment to family, community, sustainability and spirituality.