You may have noticed the handsomely packaged white cans of Long Root Pale Ale and sleek planks of wild sockeye salmon in your local, upscale grocery or sporting goods store. That’s right—Patagonia, the outdoor company known for all things camping and hiking—has put a tent stake into the billion-dollar food and beverage sector. You can now find over 25 food items among the company’s down jackets and backpacks, including energy bars, organic dried bean soup and buffalo jerky.
“We saw an urgent need for positive change in the food industry,” said Birgit Cameron, managing director of Sausalito-based Patagonia Provisions. Along with Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia) and Rose Marcario, Cameron launched their first item in 2013—wild sockeye salmon that is sourced from a community-based fishery and caught in reef nets in the Situk River in Alaska.
“We are in the business of saving our planet,” Cameron explains. “Our idea is that with every product we make, we are solving a problem—not just creating a trend.”
Cameron, who lives in Mill Valley, brings a design background to her role and loans her creative talents to the packaging, look and feel of the product line. In addition, the growing team (they currently have 20 employees) are beginning to focus on partners closer to home including organic farmers, food banks and folks employing regenerative and biodynamic farming techniques.
They made their Long Root Ale with kernza, a perennial grain that originated from a forage grass grown using regenerative agriculture practices. Likewise, their buffalo jerky comes from the South Dakota–based Wild Idea Buffalo Co. that raises free-roaming, grass-fed buffalo that ultimately help the native grasses—and all the species that depend on them—to recover. A partnership with the Breadfruit Institute of Kauai that aims to tackle food security issues is even in the works.
Along with sourcing ethically and sustainably produced products, Patagonia Provisions has much bigger ambitions in mind. It’s no accident the venerable outdoor company chose to headquarter their food-focused venture in Marin, given the region’s longtime cutting-edge and forward-thinking agricultural practices. Patagonia Provisions aims to identify and partner with producers that utilize best practices and employ the same ethos and awareness of environmental issues that Patagonia has championed for almost 50 years.
It appears the well-established brand is making inroads into an industry that many would agree is in dire need of reform. I can’t think of a better company to do the job.
For more information, visit patagoniaprovisions.com.