Moonshot Snacks Is Fighting Climate Change Through Better Farming Practices
"There's a huge opportunity for us to eat the change that we want to see."
“A couple of years ago, I learned that I was going to become a mom and I realized that there was an opportunity to update my relationship with food based on this idea that I was going to be responsible for raising another human.”
The birth of Julia Collins’s son inspired her to launch her climate-friendly cracker company Moonshot Snacks, which puts its environmental practices first without compromising on flavors. But don’t let the bite sized nature of these crackers fool you; the mission behind them is large. Along with creating snacks that actually taste delicious, Collins is also bridging the gap between ethical farming practices and sustainable eating while also making them accessible to marginalized communities.
Moonshot launched in December 2020 under Collins parent company Planet FWD. According to Collins, Planet FWD builds software that makes it easy for brands to “improve the sustainability of their products by connecting them to really high quality information so that they can make better sourcing decisions.”
While the issues within climate change are expansive, Moonshot focuses on the impact that food has on our environment by providing full transparency. The beginning of the cracker journey starts at Hedlin Farms, a third and fourth generation farm located right in the middle of Skagit Valley, Washington. Its vast size and diverse agriculture makes it a prime spot to use regenerative farming practices.
“Because of their practices, they're not only restoring natural carbon cycles, but they're also protecting shorebirds and improving biodiversity and creating better habitats for pollinators and reducing on-farm emissions. [Dave Hedlin and Serena Campbell] are such a great example of the power of farming to help build healthy communities and healthier soil.”
These regenerative farming practices are inherently Black and Indigenous techniques that involve a conservation and rehabilitation approach to farming that improves soil health that’s been degraded due to years of conventional agriculture while increasing biodiversity.
“The kind of farming that is prevalent in the United States is absolutely ravaging our environment. There's an overuse of nitrogen-based inputs like fertilizer, pesticides, fungicide, and herbicide. All of that net nitrogen is actually degrading the health of the soil and also causing too much nitrogen oxide to be released into the atmosphere,” Collins said.
With regenerative farming however, minimizing the amount of soil that’s being ripped up during the agricultural process and cover cropping are two practices that are commonly done to maintain a healthy carbon cycle and in the long run, produce snacks that are good for your body and the environment.
Moonshot’s crackers currently come in three flavors: sourdough sea salt, rosemary garlic, and tomato basil, which to my excitement was originally pizza-flavored. “When we saw that there was actually an opportunity to deliver that amazing pizza flavor in a plant-based format, we thought that it made a lot of sense to bring the products to market as tomato basil,” Collins said.
Though the flavor profiles are simple, Collins said including tastes that were familiar to people was intentional in making the brand accessible. “We thought that by starting with something as simple as a cracker in flavors that were familiar to people, we could really make it easy for folks to make a choice that was more climate friendly.”
And as a Black female founder and someone who cares so deeply about justice and equity, Collins is excited about the power that Moonshot has to make climate action and sustainability much more accessible for all consumers. “I really do believe that amplifying Black voices, voices of women, and voices of people of color is so important as we start to think about really making environmentalism and climate action more accessible to everyone across the world.”
People of color are negatively affected by climate change at disproportionate rates due to a variety of factors including socioeconomic disparities and proximity to industrial facilities, poor water sources, and lack of financial reinvestment after natural disasters. And if you look at the effects of environmental racism on the food system, foods grown using harmful chemicals and heavy processing are typically cheaper and more accessible in lower income communities, resulting in a higher possibility of developing health conditions.
“Twenty five to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from our food systems. There's a huge opportunity to reimagine our food system so that it ceases to become a contributor to climate change,” Collins said. “There's a huge opportunity for us to eat the change that we want to see. The collective power of eight to 10 billion people eating over the next few decades really is a big opportunity for us to tackle climate change and to really move the needle on other super important environmental issues that we see like equity in the food system, human welfare, and all of the other things that we're hoping to tackle with this regenerative approach to food.”