The True Price Of Carbon: Why Food Costs Are Increasing

Tuesday, 5 Nov 2013, 8:54:00 AM

Brenton Garen

Jackie Keller, a member of Al Gore’s Climate Leadership Corps, regularly speaks about climate change. She also has her own business of 26 years – NutriFit – that specializes in fresh, gourmet, customized, and delivered meal programs that are tailored to accommodate an individual’s health and lifestyle needs.
Courtesy Photo
Jackie Keller, a member of Al Gore’s Climate Leadership Corps, regularly speaks about climate change. She also has her own business of 26 years – NutriFit – that specializes in fresh, gourmet, customized, and delivered meal programs that are tailored to accommodate an individual’s health and lifestyle needs.

For NutriFit founding director Jackie Keller, climate change is a huge issue that she says is affecting the food supply and earth’s water system.

As a member of Al Gore’s Climate Leadership Corps, Keller recently spoke at the Green LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association) meeting in Santa Monica to talk about the true price of carbon and why food costs are increasing.

She spoke about how increased carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures can increase drought and reduce crop yields, how changes in the eco system create changes in the habitat of fish and shellfish, and how higher air temperatures increase the risk of salmonella, among other topics.

She said her talk was a condensed informal forum about the effects of climate change on health, food supplies, and water supply.

“Those are the three main areas where I feel my professional and personal interests are aligned with the whole climate reality effort,” Keller said. “Since my area is health, my particular interest is really understanding what are the implications for food supply, what does it mean for public health, and what are the implications for water and agriculture. My goal is to share information and maybe by sharing it, inspire people even if it’s just one or two people, to inspire them to be more proactive in terms of their approach to climate change.”

So what can be done on a day-to-day basis?

Keller said simple things like changing from regular light bulbs to LEDs or florescent bulbs and buying a reusable water bottle instead of buying one-use plastic bottles are good green choices.

“These are very simple things to do, but many people don’t do them,” she said.

She said changing watering habits can significantly help the environment.

“Even things as simple as being more mindful when you wash dishes, when you brush your teeth, when you do your household laundry chores, and wash your car,” she said. “It’s about being more mindful about what toll it takes to do that. How many gallons of water am I really using and wasting? Those are really simple things.”

Larger scale things include investing in drought resistant landscaping and switching to an electric vehicle.

About 26 years ago, Keller decided to evolve her group exercise classes into a business of nutrition education after a client asked her about help with cholesterol.

“I asked a close friend to be my silent partner as I didn’t want to be in business totally alone,” Keller said. “That man is now my husband and still my business partner. We started NutriFit to basically help people deal with incorporating exercise into their daily life and having the right kinds of food available to maximize their health. And that is basically, in a nutshell, what we do today.”

Formed in 1987 by Jackie and her partner/husband Phil Yaney, NutriFit specializes in fresh, gourmet, customized, and delivered meal programs that are tailored to accommodate an individual’s health and lifestyle needs. Their goal is to promote long-term health by providing full-service nutritional support, including gourmet meals, wellness coaching, health-related products, and other educational programs including keynote presentations.

For the first 10 years of the business, Keller said she hosted a lot of a nutrition lifestyle education programs.

“In the early 1990s, nobody understood the concept of individually tailored, highly customized personal meals delivered to their door,” she said. “It wasn’t in our lexicon. Luckily we were fortunate to be contracted by one of the major health carriers to provide employee health promotion programs. We did eight years of education for them while being a licensed caterer and providing meal support for small number of clients.”

By the late 1990s, Keller said several big players had emerged in the home food delivery market, which made the concept more of an accepted way to buy food.

She said she shifted the company’s energy to the personal catering as demand grew.

“We’ve done a number of things along the way that all tie back to nutritional health,” she said. “There’s the education side of our business and there’s the catering side of the business that’s all organic, healthy, controlled, and up-scale. Santa Monica Seafood has been a purveyor for 20 years. It’s a long time to buy from people. When they are concerned about the quality and the ingredients that you use in your food, you stick with purveyors that have the goods.”

NutriFit is headquartered at the corner of Barrington and Gateway in West Los Angeles, where there are 24 staff.

There is a kitchen facility that sends out 3000 meals/snacks/desserts and other items every day all across Southern California and recently across the United States as well.

“We are not huge and we are not a big company by any means,” she said. “We have three fleet vehicles that are super low emission vehicles. The rest of our deliveries are done with our drivers who have their own cars.”

Keller said clients do not need a minimum ordering schedule.

“We have some people who want two days a week of meals and they stretch it out for a week and mix and match their meals,” she said. “Then there are people who want all meals and all snacks catered from sundown every day. I think people’s general perception is if they can get 80 percent of their weekly meals covered, they can handle 20 percent and that’s fine with us. For us, it’s about empowering people.”

For more information about Jackie Keller or NutriFit, call 800.341.4190 or visit www.nutrifitonline.com.

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