The Greg Steltenpohl Pragmatic Visionary Award announced the inaugural recipients of its $100,000 annual grant are Sarela Herrada and Matt Cohen, co-founders of SIMPLi, which sources Regenerative Organic Certified® (ROC) pantry items from around the world. The Award, honoring Califia Farms and Odwalla founder Greg Steltenpohl, seeks to encourage and support innovators, entrepreneurs, and change makers building a more positive, plant-centric food system.
"The breadth of Sarela and Matt's aspiration to offer a full pantry of regenerative organic foods, enthusiasm for human engagement at farm-level, and grit to grow SIMPLi as a profitable and sustainable endeavor is truly admirable," said Eli Steltenpohl, board of directors at the Steltenpohl Family Foundation and Califia Farms. "Their efforts embody the aspirational values our award seeks to encourage and we believe their success will inspire others to join in building a healthier and more just food system."
Founded in 2020 by wife and husband duo Sarela Herrada and Matt Cohen, SIMPLi is an ethically-sourced ingredients company with a larger mission of tackling a fraudulent international supply chain. SIMPLi works directly with the growing communities in Peru, Greece and other countries to bypass all the middle parties and bring single origin, nutrient-dense ingredients straight to US consumers. The company has the ambitious vision of building a full pantry of single origin, Regenerative Organic Certified® retail and foodservice packaged food, including grains, beans, legumes, oils, spices and superfoods. At the forefront of formalizing the regenerative movement, Sarela was appointed to the board of the Regenerative Organic Alliance last year.
The winners were announced by Eli Steltenpohl and Gary Hirshberg at the Community Purpose and Impact Awards presented by New Hope Media at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, Calif., on March 9.
The Award is given in honor of Greg Steltenpohl, who died in March 2021 and dedicated his life to changing the food system through business. It celebrates vision in action and values manifested through businesses that generate personal, community, and planetary health. It is hosted in collaboration with The Plant Futures Initiative, a non-profit social venture that connects college and graduate students with experiential learning opportunities with a network of innovative food and agricultural enterprises. Funding has come from Califia Farms, The Steltenpohl Family Foundation, and leaders in the Natural Foods industry.
Each year, The Award will present a $100,000 grant to an early-stage venture to enable or expand the accomplishments, reach and impact of the recipient's work. For information on the award and how to apply, visit PragmaticVisionaryAward.org.