Producer Spotlight: Snacktivist Foods

Snacktivist Foods, a women-led business, is working on a new narrative that encourages indulgence, nutrition, and environmental sustainability all at once.
by on Monday, November 9, 2020

It’s Time to Revamp Baking with Ancient Grains

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(Sn)Activist Baking

Snacktivist Foods is a company on a mission to give their customers permission to love grains again. Maybe some of us never stopped loving grains to begin with, but even the biggest carb lovers among us may have begun to question: Is this the best way to eat? 

There are a lot of mixed messages and trendy diets to wade through out there—low-carb, gluten-free, carb-cycling, carb-loading, sugar-free… It’s overwhelming! Snacktivist Foods is working on a new narrative, one that will revamp baking with healthy ancient grains. 

As it is for many conscious producers, the connection between body and planet is an obvious reality for this brand. Not only are Snacktivist Foods flour and product mixes better for the health of the consumer, their work is better for the environment and the gender landscape of the business world as well. This women-owned initiative is on a journey to change the food system through regenerative agriculture and the use of ancient grains. 

Seeing the word activist in the brand name, a customer would hope that they are supporting more than production for profit with their purchase. With Snacktivist Foods, they won’t be disappointed. The company is taking care of the activist part so consumers can rest easy while they bake with and snack on nutritious grainy goodness. 

The History of Snacktivist Foods

Snacktivist Foods is based in charming downtown Coeur d’Alene, in the northern part of Idaho, but the idea reaches 30 years into the past, when founder Joni Kindwall-Moore was traveling deep in the jungles of Peru. In the 1990s she was assisting researchers there who were seeking new pharmaceuticals and working with an Amazonian shaman. 

At one point during this process, the shaman asked, “Why is it that you scientists will spend so much time and money searching for cures to diseases that could be prevented if you just ate more in tune with the earth?” 

This question lingered in Joni’s mind for years—during her ICU nursing career, and as she began her family. 

Joni is an RN, an ethnobotanist, an amateur chef, and now a mother of three. As an RN, she has worked in the ER, cardiology, the ICU, and as a diabetes educator. After years of working in these positions, Joni realized how much our suffering as humans is directly related to the food we put into our bodies. As a mom, she desired healthy, delicious foods for her loved ones. And having grown up on a farm, and as an avid gardener, she knew that healthy soils and healthy farming are the basis for healthy food. 

Joni had been juggling long nursing shifts and busy days filled with family activities. She found that making large batches of gluten-free, vegan, dry mixes on the weekends made it easier to eat healthier all week. 

She started sharing her mixes with friends and coworkers, and a simple life hack, combined with knowledge and ambition, turned into a thriving business venture. 

Better for You, Better for the Planet

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Snacktivist Foods is using their production of healthier products to support healthier farming techniques by embracing regenerative agriculture. When developing her business model, Joni couldn’t look past the harm that has been done to the environment over the past 50 years. The shift from smaller, family farms to large, petrochemical-intensive, monocrop farms has created some disastrous side effects, such as reduction of healthy topsoil, increased chemical pollution from pesticide and herbicide run-off, and a dramatic loss in seed variety and genetic diversity. 

Modern, high-yield farming techniques also play a role in climate change, and so the development of regenerative agriculture-driven supply chains is a vital part of solving the problems of climate change. Snacktivist Foods provides a critical link in the value chain, using crops that are grown from ecologically sensitive farming systems to develop flavorful, healthy foods.

What Are Ancient Grains, Exactly?

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The shift in farming isn’t without its advantages, such as improvements in yield, reliable germination, and nutrition and disease resistance. These benefits have incentivized farmers to transition to higher-yield farms, purchasing seeds from large, multinational corporations like DuPont, Sygenta (ChemChina) and Monsanto (Bayer). In fact, most primary food staples in North America are now grown from proprietary seeds, many of which are genetically modified and owned by these corporations. They are expensive and must be repurchased every year. 

Joni isn’t having it. The products she creates are made with ancient grains grown from sovereign seeds. They are good for smaller farming businesses, better for the planet, and healthier for our individual bodies. 

Ancient grains and legumes have fed humans around the world for thousands of years, and in some places they still do. In other places, like North America, these foods have been forgotten… but they are now making a comeback. Compared to the modified, homogenized, high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of corn, wheat, and soy, these grains and legumes pack a much higher nutritional punch. Some examples of crops that fall into the ancient grains category are millet, teff, sorghum, amaranth, barley and bulgar. (They are also a lot more fun to say!)

Snacktivist Foods maintains the belief that agro-ecological methods of farming create biodiversity in our farmlands, and that regenerative agriculture can help restore the world’s soils.

Kid-tested & Women-led

Snacktivist Foods is Kid Tested
Our team member’s son, Wilder, tested Snacktivist Foods as well.

The heart of product development continues to reside in Joni’s family kitchen, where her children, spouse, and friends are the testing and tasting team. As with many women-owned and women-led businesses, the Snacktivist Foods model is inclusive and collaborative, rooted in community and connection. The idea partially grew from Joni’s experience as a busy mom, and other busy moms saw the value in it. 

All Snacktivist Foods products are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and multigrain. The idea is that it isn’t what is left out of the food, but all the ancient good stuff that is packed in. The goal is to be indulgent while still making ethical choices as a consumer. 

Feel ready to love grains again yet? The time is now!

As an entrepreneur, Joni also promotes other women-led business and community projects. She is currently running a funding campaign with IFundWomen, the go-to marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to fund them. This campaign shows that where women lead in business, networks flourish and communities thrive.

So if you’re looking for a tasty brownie, multi-grain pizza or waffle, and you want to support gender inclusivity, healthy farming practices, and give love to your own body, look to Snacktivist Foods. They want to help you be a changemaker, one waffle at a time.


Interested in their waffles and mixes?

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