A term you may have heard recently in the food and beverage industry is “sustainable sourcing.” According to the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), stainable sourcing “ensures that, to the best of the food supply chain’s ability, products or goods purchased have no, or limited, negative impact on the communities and ecosystems they are sourced from.”

As awareness of, and interest in, this attribute of the foods we consume grows, we’re seeing an increase in everything from companies using their sustainably sourced materials as a selling point (and why shouldn’t they?) to new laws going into effect to monitor sourcing, such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act.

In fact, you can find something about sustainable sourcing on a plethora of food and restaurant websites today. Companies as wide-ranging as Chipotle (who doesn’t know they sustainably source their food?) to Subway (I didn’t know they sustainably source their food!) to Heinz (a company that’s been around since 1869) to Follow Your Heart (a company that had its humble beginnings in 1970).

However, there’s a lot more to sustainable sourcing than just organically growing your salad lettuce. Sustainable sourcing can include everything from purchasing crops from farmers who use responsible farming practices to buying meat from ranchers who treat their farm animals humanely to ensuring that all suppliers provide their workers with a fair wage and aren’t associated with human trafficking.

Sustainable sourcing can also consist of using sustainable building materials for the company’s properties and engaging sustainable ways of producing and using the energy required to make products and power the company’s businesses. One such company that has implemented sustainably sourcing energy is the aforementioned Canoga Park, CA-based company Follow Your Heart. Follow Your Heart is at the forefront of sustainable energy production when it comes to producing sustainable food products and in powering its store and café.

This producer of vegan-based foods produces all of its goods in its state-of-the-art, solar-powered manufacturing facility called Earth Island. To maximize conservation of the earth’s precious resources, Earth Island was designed with skylights, recycled carpeting, energy-efficient lighting systems and more. Its rooftop solar energy system has 756 solar panels, each of which can generate 150 watts – a total of 113 kW (kilowatts). In addition to often producing even more energy than it needs, Follow Your Heart is also replacing the use of power generated by the consumption of fossil fuel by using clean and renewable power.

Hopefully, this trend of sustainably sourcing products – from crops to livestock to power – will only continue to grow…and grow GMO-free and organic products, of course!

In the meantime, you can watch Chipotle and Hulu’s original comedy series, “Farmed & Dangerous,” which “explores the outrageously twisted and utterly unsustainable world of industrial agriculture.”

Who says sustainable sourcing can’t be fun(ny)?