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2020 caused many of us to question whether we were doing all we could to create a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive world. It prompted us to question the norms in the baby food and feeding sector. What could we do to impact systemic discrimination in our industry? How have we been unknowingly complicit in systemic discrimination? And how do we deepen our analysis while making substantial and concrete changes?

To explore these issues and more fully understand how we, together, could make a meaningful impact, we put our competitive interests aside to form the Conscious Nourishment Working Group with other leaders in the baby food and feeding space, and harness our collective power for change.

Our goal is to harness our combined social and economic power to create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive baby food and feeding sector. Directly and indirectly, we contribute to the nutrition information ecosystem and impact that economy. We’re health practitioners and educators, authors and creators. We make baby food and feeding products. Collectively, we reach more than 30 million subscribers and clients, providing us the opportunity to tangibly shift ways our industry prioritizes equitable workforce pipelines.

This working group, with the skilled guidance of Nikki Silvestri, identified four initiatives to economically impact systemic discrimination in baby food and child nutrition. While we are still learning—and our work ongoing—our commitments to this work include:

  • Paid Positions for BIPOC Nutrition Professionals. There are numerous reasons why it’s more difficult for BIPOC dietitians and nutritionists of color to advance in their careers. As such, we are committed to recruiting BIPOC dietitians and nutritionists and creating paid intern and fellowship programs that prioritize students of color who plan to enter the field of nutrition.
  • Complimentary Access to Feeding & Nutrition Guides for Low-Income Families. Infant feeding and nutrition information often comes at a price. Participating organizations will create low-barrier economic need programs providing applicants with free access to guides and online courses on baby feeding and nutrition.
  • Advocate for Representation. There are many representation gaps in our industry’s imagery and communications. We will lobby stock image companies to grow the number of assets featuring BIPOC families in baby food, feeding, and child nutrition imagery and videos.
  • Anti-Racism Campaign on Raising Anti-Racist Children. Studies show that by age 2, toddlers can internalize racial bias. We will partner with anti-racism educators to share our platforms and disseminate educational content to more than 30 million followers and subscribers to support parents and caregivers in raising anti-racist children.

Our learning has just begun. The established working group will continue to collaborate on external commitments and create a learning environment to deepen our authentic, complex dialogue on these topics.

We understand that creating a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive baby food and feeding sector is a tall order. We’re hoping to demonstrate that a systemic and strategic approach—grounded in care and a shame-free environment—is not only possible but the baseline of what’s necessary to make real change. We hope that our commitments inspire you to do your part as we continue to do ours.

Members of the Conscious Nourishment Working Group include:

Jenny Best                              Solid Starts, chair

Jennifer Anderson                  Kids Eat in Color

Kacie Barnes                           Mama Knows Nutrition

Hannah Bernath                     Simka Rose

Adam Bonnier                        Miniware USA

Alexandra Caspero               Plant-Based Juniors

Renae D’Andrea                    New Ways Nutrition

Nekole Eaton                         Kids OT Help / Nekole Amber

Whitney English                     Plant-Based Juniors

Melissa Guerriero                  Pump Momma Pump

Venus Kalami                        Pediatric Dietitian

Barbara Lamperti                  BuonaPappa

Sofia Laurel                           Tiny Organics

Malina Malkani                       Healthy Mom, Healthy Kids

Dr. Rachel Ruiz                      Pediatrician & Gastroenterologist

Leslie Schilling                       Born to Eat

Jennie Shen                            Serenity Kids

Christine Topalian Agha        FoodieKid

Paul Wang                             Olababy