Our Roots

In 1974, we envisioned a food system that values the true costs associated with growing and moving food from farm to table. In the early days of the People’s Food System, the unifying principle was “Food for People, Not for Profit.” These words still resonate for our business today. 

2020

Mary Jane Evans nominated Women in Trucking’s Top Women to Watch in Transportation.

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Mar   2020

mary jane on forklift

Veritable Vegetable CEO Mary Jane Evans was selected as one of Women in Trucking’s Top Women to Watch in Transportation. The individuals of this distinction were selected for their significant career accomplishments, as well as their efforts to promote gender diversity.

Aside from her commitment to running a women-led and values driven company, Mary Jane has transformed Veritable Vegetable’s delivery trucks into a sustainable, state-of-art, near-zero emission, award-winning green fleet. With her direction, we moved to fueling with renewable diesel, experimenting with solar panels for battery power, and exploring the use of fully electrical trucks.

When asked for her motivation behind her vision for a sustainable fleet, Mary Jane expressed, “As a leader in the organic produce distribution trade, we must demonstrate our commitment to the environment. Making a difference by constantly improving our business and incorporating the cleanest technologies and equipment on the market is imperative.”

VV explores fully electric trucks. Fleet grows to 35 power units.

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Jan   2020

VV Truck Fleet

In partnership with the City of San Francisco and other California agencies, VV begins exploring trialing fully electric delivery trucks and tractors around San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.

Our Fleet at a Glance:

31 Total Power Units

  • 4 – Sprinter Vans              
  • 3 – Straight Trucks         
  • 25 – Tractors                       

23  Total Trailers Units

  • 2 – 32′ trailers  
  •  8 – 40′ trailers
  •  14 – 48′ Trailers

2010s

VV selected as Top Green Fleet 2019 recipient from Heavy Duty Trucking.

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Nov   2019

Green Fleet

Each year, Heavy Duty Trucking magazine names its Top Green Fleets, an effort to recognize trucking companies that take sustainability to the next level through fuel economy, freight efficiency, alternative fuels, and/or energy savings.

The award goes to organizations that demonstrate a long-term commitment to sustainability, test new technologies, pay special attention to new initiatives, and prove their leadership in their industry.

VV joins CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen program.

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Sept   2019

Cesar Chavez warehouse

We are proud to be part of CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen service, which means our energy comes from 100 percent renewable energy.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) operates CleanPowerSF, which offers two choices for cleaner energy. The Green service program is 48 percent renewable, and the SuperGreen service is 100 percent renewable. As a SuperGreen customer, Veritable Vegetable will source 100 percent renewable electricity—currently generated primarily from a California-based wind project—for our 44,000 square-foot warehouse and office.

As a values-driven company, we are committed to environmental sustainability in every aspect of our business. From our near-zero emission truck fleet to the solar panels on our roof—we are always striving to consider our impact and reduce our energy consumption.

VV trials solar panels on truck cabs to fuel battery pack.

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Aug   2019

Solar panel battery

We began working with Merlin Solar to test flexible solar panels for the roof of our sleepers. The panels are connected to batteries that power the sleepers electric climate control system. The solar panels supply 400 watts of power to the batteries and reduces the truck engine load for charging batteries thus increasing the life of trucks’ electrical components and reduces fuel consumption. The solar panels also allows the sleeper climate control system to operate for a longer period which improves driver comfort and reduces fuel consumption for idling, if needed.

VV receives Top Green Provider award from Food Logistics magazine.

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Jul   2019

The annual Top Green Providers list showcases companies that have found new ways to promote sustainability throughout their operations and to their customers.

Women-led, and the nation’s oldest organic produce distributor, our environmental efforts are far-reaching and include diverting 99% of waste from landfill, offsetting energy use through a 560-panel solar array, utilizing sustainable materials and non-toxic cleaning supplies and paints throughout our facilities, and running a near-zero emission fleet of trucks, fueled by renewable diesel.

Read the full article to learn more about our sustainability efforts.

View the full list of 2019 Green Provider winners.

VV becomes a San Francisco Legacy Business.

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May   2019

In May, 2019, we received San Francisco Legacy Business status.

The Legacy Business Registry recognizes longstanding, community-serving businesses as valuable cultural assets to the city. To be eligible, a Legacy Business must be operating in San Francisco for 30 or more years, contribute to the neighborhood’s history and/or the identity of a particular neighborhood or community, and commit to maintaining the physical features or traditions that define the business. There are currently 190 businesses on the Legacy Business Registry.

Nominated by Mayor London N. Breed, Veritable Vegetable was recognized for our lasting efforts to bring nutritious produce to our community since 1974. What started as one of the first wholesale buyers to form direct relationships with local growers grew to become a renowned force that helped build the city’s famed organic food system.

VV celebrates 45th anniversary.

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  2019

For our 45th birthday, we put together a surprise tribute video from staff, VV alumni, grower partners, customers and trade partners highlighting VV’s rich contribution to our community and the organic trade over four decades. The video was revealed to VV owners and staff during our bi-annual All Staff Meeting.

 

VV is awarded the Sustainability Award at the 2018 Excellence in Business Awards ("Ebbies") in recognition of our environmental sustainability efforts throughout our warehouses, operations and green fleet.

Nov   2018

VV receives Outstanding Company award from the Climate Collaborative & National Co+op Grocers and Sustainability Award from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Ebbie Awards.

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Mar   2018

In March 2018, Veritable Vegetable won the Outstanding Company award by the National Co-op Grocers and the Climate Collaborative at Natural Expo West’s Climate Day. The award recognizes Veritable Vegetable’s commitment and rapid progress on climate action through our greenhouse gases and emissions reductions.

The Climate Collaborative is a community of businesses in the natural food industry coming together to reverse climate change by individually taking action on nine focus areas: agriculture, energy efficiency, food waste, forests, packaging, policy, renewable energy, short lived climate pollutants, and transportation. Learn more about the Climate Collaborative and join us in making a climate commitment today.

VV receives Golden Semi award from the Ecological Farming Association for our long-time service in providing food logistics for the annual EcoFarm conference over the years.

Jan   2018

VV begins fueling trucks with renewable diesel.

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Jul   2017

Our trucks travel over a million miles a year throughout California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. In an effort to further green our fleet and reduce our carbon footprint, our entire fleet of vehicles is fueled with renewable diesel when on-site. This accounts for nearly 40% of our fuel consumption annually. After we began fueling with renewable diesel, we reduced our greenhouse (GHG) emissions by 10%.

What is renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is fuel that is chemically similar to petroleum diesel, but is 100% renewable and sustainable. It reduces  emissions and is made of renewable sources.

VV is featured in Mark Kichell's movie: Evolution of Organic, a documentary about the history of organic agriculture.

Apr   2017

VV receives Acterra Business Environmental Award in the Spare the Air Leadership category.

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Mar   2017

We received an Acterra Business Environmental Award in the Spare the Air Leadership category for our Green Fleet. The Acterra Business Environmental Awards is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s oldest and most prestigious environmental recognition programs. Initiated in 1990, it is considered a heavyweight among award programs due to its rigorous application and judging process.

Learn more about our green fleet.

For information about Acterra, visit acterra.org.

VV featured in Facebook Supplier Diversity #SheMeansBusiness campaign on International Women's Day.

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Mar   2017

Bu Nygrens and Karen Salinger sit down for a live chat about careers, building VV and the inspiration for their work.

View the live interview.

VV becomes a certified California Green Business.

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Nov   2016

The California Green Business Program encourages businesses to operate in an environmentally responsible manner and recognizes them for their efforts.  In order to be recognized as a California Green Business, a business must meet environmental standards in four areas: waste reduction, water conservation, pollution prevention, and energy conservation. They must also be in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations.

Being a certified California Green Business is another way we demonstrate our unwavering commitment to conserving resources, building community, and to maintaining the health and safety of our staff.  This certification ensures our environmental practices align with our culture of sustainability.

The certification process took an in-depth look at the practices and methods we employ to conserve energy, water and natural resources, reduce waste, and use low-toxic products in our workplace. Joining the California Green Business Program further connects us with the community of businesses that share our values

VV featured in Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff’s book "Other Avenues are Possible", a history book about Bay Area food co-ops and food-buying clubs in the 1970s.

Nov   2016

VV receives Certification of Appreciation from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in recognition of 25 years of participation as a sampling site for the Pesticide Data Program from 1991-2016.

Nov   2016

Awarded Most Sustainable at Amy's Kitchen Supplier Summit in recognition of our commitment to sustainable agriculture.

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Oct   2016

Lease additional 30,000 square feet of warehouse space and remodel. New warehouse is up and running.

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Aug   2016

Marin warehouse

 

With operations expanding, we were quickly outgrowing our current warehouse.  VV leased an additional 30,000 square feet of warehouse space at 1370 Marin St. and remodeled to fit our needs. The new warehouse has temperature controlled coolers, high speed roll-up doors, tiered rack space, and a 100% closed dock to maintain our cold chain.

VV receives Ebbies Award for Small Business Woman of the Year from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. This new category was awarded to a female owner, co-owner, or leader of a small business in San Francisco who demonstrates excellent standards of business, who is committed to improving the community in and around her business, and who functions as a trailblazer and role model for future women-owned businesses, both within and beyond the San Francisco Bay Area.

Nov   2015

VV becomes a certified B Corporation.

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Jul   2014

VV receives our first ever B Corp certification and joins the B Corp community. This certification formally recognizes our ongoing commitment to operate based on our values, rather than the bottom line, and provides a formal assessment tool for monitoring  progress moving forward.

VV featured in Grist online article as part of a series about how to make regional food systems more sustainable.

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Feb   2014

VV celebrates 40th anniversary.

  2014

Former Mayor Ed Lee holds press conference at our warehouse in collaboration with VV to address a tax measure that reduce taxes for small businesses.

Jul   2012

VV featured in US Business Executive magazine for our leadership in setting standards for sustainable food and business practices.

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Apr   2012

Receive Green Fleet of the Year award from FleetOwner Magazine. Fleet increases to 30 power units.

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Apr   2012

In April 2012, we were nominated Green Fleet of the Year by FleetOwner magazine. The publication recognized our efforts to build an environmentally sustainable fleet using green technologies to reduce energy consumption, waste and emissions.

Read the full article here.

New company logo is introduced. Lease additional 6,000 sq. feet on Minnesota St. VV moves to entirely company-owned trucks.

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  2011

 

Lease new hybrid trucks and trailers with hybrid reefer units. Marketing Communications department established. Hire our first Chief Administrative Officer.

  2010

Organic Produce Wholesaler Coalition forms. VV joins as founding member.

  2010

May 18, 2010 becomes the official Veritable Vegetable Day as appointed by the city and county of San Francisco.

May   2010

2000s

Mary Jane Evans featured in John Curl's non-fiction book "For All the People" which traces the hidden history of cooperatives, cooperation and communalism in US history

Sept   2009

First Organicology conference held in Portland Oregon.

Feb   2009

Fleet grows to 25 trucks. First new generation engines with extremely low emissions arrive. Inventory Control department is rolled out.

  2009

Solar field installed on roof of 1100 Chavez St. warehouse.

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  2008

Cesar Chavez warehouse

 560 solar panels were installed on the roof our Cesar Chavez St. warehouse, offsetting approximately a quarter of our energy usage.

Slow Food Nation event organized by Slow Food USA is held in San Francisco. The event attracted more than 50,000 people and was a citywide celebration of slow food and sustainable agriculture.

Aug   2008

Lease 10,000 additional sq. ft. in warehouse directly across the street. VV establishes a ‘green team’, reduces waste stream by 95%.

  2007

VV celebrates 30th anniversary with "The Opera in Operations" themed party.

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Feb   2005

On a festive evening, VV brought together staff and their families to celebrate 30 years in operation. The theme of the shindig was “The Opera in Operations.” Our Chavez Street warehouse was transformed into an opera house complete with performers and musical artists. It was an epic tragi-comedy that had critics raving!

Formalized training program put in place. Received Small Business Award “Unsung Hero” from Bay Guardian.

  2005

Received city of San Francisco Environmental Achievement Award.

  2003

Mary Jane Evans receives Organic Leadership award from the Organic Trade Association (OTA.)

  2001

1990s

VV celebrates 25th Anniversary with gala event.

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Mar   1999

VV celebrates 25 years of being business with an elegant gala held at the Grand Ballroom (our 1100 Cesar Chavez St. warehouse.)

Fleet grows to 20 trucks. Begin deliveries to the Southwest and backhaul from Nogales, enabling greater control of incoming product.

  1996

VV sends out first printed party invitation "Welcome to our New Home."

  1996

Continuing to grow and thrive, VV moves to 1100 Cesar Chavez St to operate in 25,000 sq. feet. Fleet grows to 15 trucks. Karen Salinger joins the ownership team.

  1995

VV celebrates 20th anniversary with "Circus" themed party

Mar   1994

VV starts Socially Responsible 401K plan for staff.

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  1994

Shira Tannor

In September 2019, VV is featured in a New York Times article for being an early adopter of socially responsible (ESG) funds. Read the full article here.

VV participates in San Francisco's Gay Pride Parade.

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June   1992

In support of the group Dykes on Bikes, we provided our truck as a place to safely store parade participants’ bike helmets during the event.

VV hosts a western themed party at our 1600 Tennessee warehouse.

Feb   1992

VV receives Sustie Award: Stewards for Sustainable Agriculture from the Ecological Farming Association (EFA.)

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Jan   1992

It is the first time a company, rather than an individual received this award. Each Sustie trophy is an intricately hand-carved gourd, inscribed with the name of the recipient, crafted by Gretchen Ceteras of Blue Heron Farm in Rumsey, CA.

Record breaking freeze hits California devastating farms for many years.

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  1990

In support of Heath Ranch during the citrus freeze,  VV staff volunteer to harvest and pack citrus at the farm.

California passed the California Organic Foods Act (COFA). The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) was completed as part of the U.S. Farm Bill and called for the establishment of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), finally backing the “certified organic” claim with federal legislation.

  1990

CCOF founded the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) to fund the educational objectives of CCOF and on-farm research of organic growing practices.

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  1990

VV was a founding contributor to OFRF in which Mary Jane Evans served on the board as Treasurer for 10 years.

Today, OFRF is widely recognized as a leader in the worldwide organic community.

Learn about OFRF’s efforts to support organic information needs.

1980s

VV starts working with Joshua Boneh and computerizes system.

  1989

The “Alar scare” pushes organics even more rapidly as a published report causes people to question the use of dangerous chemicals in agriculture.

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  1989

CBS 60 Minutes aired a story based on a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council titled “Intolerable Risk: Pesticides in our Children’s Food.” People wanted to know where they could get safe, organically grown food. More and more farms became certified organic.

Outside consultant hired to assess organizational structure of the collective. Restructured with Bu Nygrens and Mary Jane Evans as owners.

  1988

Growers petition VV for an expansion of the market. To accommodate, VV moves to a 7,000 sq. feet warehouse on 1600 Tennessee Street.

Dec   1984

VV starts truck run to the Northwest: Oregon and Washington.

  1984

The first Tasting of Summer Produce event is held.

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Jun   1983

Bu Nygrens (far left) and Paul Muller (right) of Full Belly Farm attend the first Tasting of Summer Produce.

 

VV offers samples of organic food at San Francisco's Earth Day, held at Chrissy Field.

  1983

VV hosts it's first party with Mary Jane Evans as the DJ.

  1983

VV starts composting program and sends compost to farms.

  1983

VV hires our first female driver, Lori Dovi.

  1982

The first Ecological Farming Conference (EcoFarm) was held at the Firehouse in Winters, California.

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Feb   1981

45 people attended the first EcoFarm conference. Above is a copy of the first conference poster.

VV starts long-haul truck service to Southern California

  1981

1970s

Bu Nygrens joins the collective.

Oct   1978

Karen Salinger joins the collective.

  1978

VV adds on a trucking division to enable direct pick-up at farms throughout California with our own leased tractor-trailer trucks.

  1978

VV moves to new 5,000 sq. ft warehouse space at 233 Industrial St. We design and build the coolers ourselves with People’s Refrigeration managing the installation.

Jan   1978

VV establishes more and more direct connections with farmers throughout California with an emerging emphasis on organic growing methods. Mary Jane Evans joins the collective.

Sept   1976

Market-maker, mentor and muckraker, Stuart Fishman is one of the founders of VV. He challenged our emerging community to clearly define & verify organic systems. Leading by example after joining Rainbow Grocery in 1977, he demanded transparency and accountability from all participants in the trade.

  1974

VV forms to become a produce supplier for the People’s Food System, a collective that sought to bring low-cost, nutritious food to neighborhood co-ops and community storefronts. The People’s Food System operates in the Mission at 3030 Alabama St. with fellow supply collectives using about 3,000 sq. feet of warehouse space.

Dec   1974

CCOF was founded with 54 grower members for the purpose of defining organic standards and certifying organic growers.

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  1973

Early CCOF logo

All CCOF operations were run out of founder Barney Bricmont’s Santa Cruz, California, home; his dining room was the office, with the dining table acting as a desk.