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Arran Stephens

Arran was born and raised on his family’s farm on Vancouver Island. Rupert and Gwen, his parents, pioneered organic farming methods in the 1950’s. Rupert advised his 12 year-old son, “Always leave the soil better than you found it.”  And that became his driving ethos. After pursuing art for eight years, Arran went to India to study meditation and spirituality with his revered teacher, Sant Kirpal Singh. Returning seven months later with only $7, a $1,500 loan, a hope and a prayer, he opened Canada’s first whole vegetarian restaurant. Lifestream, Canada’s first natural food supermarket followed in 1971 until it was sold in 1981). Life-partner Ratana and Arran began Nature’s Path Foods out of the back of their restaurant in 1985, which, after many struggles, became North America’s largest organic breakfast foods company, employing hundreds at state-of-the-art facilities in Washington and Wisconsin, plus their cooperative organic 3,000 acre farm in Canada. In an ironic twist, they bought back LifeStream from Kraft Foods in 1995. In an age of sell-outs, Nature’s Path remains fiercely independent. No part of the company is for sale. Their children and valued team members are carrying on the torch, with Arran and Ratana serving as mentors.

As part of its giving back, Nature’s Path donates more than 1% of total sales to food banks, community gardens and other not-for-profit causes. Awards are many, including Ernst & Young’s 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year (2002) and the Schumacher Sustainability Award. 

Author: Journey to the Luminous (Elton-Wolf, 1999), Moth & the Flame and The Compassionate Diet—How What You Eat Can Change Your Life and Save the Planet, (Rodale Books, 2011). He wrote The Compassionate Diet because he believes eating a plant-based diet can lead to a more humane, healthy and peaceful lifestyle for everyone.

Arran is a founding member of the Non-GMO Project, serves as a Board Member of the Rodale Institute, and is passionately involved with the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, Proposition 37, which residents will vote for or against on November 7, 2012.*

Entrepreneur, artist, writer, ecology advocate, farmer, volunteer and meditation practitioner; this fellow has stayed the course and passionately followed the beat of a distant drummer for nearly seven decades.

*(Note: Along with a large and growing coalition of citizens, not-for-profits and organic advocates, Arran believes that everyone deserves to know if their food has been genetically manipulated; currently in the USA and Canada, citizens do not have this basic right. The safety and efficacy of GMO foods have not been proven, and extensive studies have shown GMOs to be the greatest threat to global food security, health and the environment. Nature’s Path USA has given more than $600,000 to help support Prop 37. This is an epic and historic David vs Goliath battle; consumers and visionaries with limited resources up against colossal biotech, big Ag and junk food producers, including Monsanto, Dow, Kellogg, General Mills, Kraft, Pepsi, Dean, Smuckers and others who are putting more than $30,000,000 into a disinformation and fear campaign to defeat the initiative.)