Finless in the Wild: Work, Play, and Everything in Between

The Finless team has had a very busy summer and fall season this year. Ready to see what we’ve been up to?

California Coastal Cleanup Day on Sep 14th – In honor of California’s 38th annual Coastal Cleanup Day in September, we coordinated an event of over 30 Finless staff members at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park – a site and partnership that was recommended by Finless’ Impact Advisory Board member, Michael Sutton.  This park is located near the Finless Foods HQ and the port in San Leandro Bay, which serves as the entry point for our supply chain. 

Together, we removed trash and invasive plants from the coastline and went on a guided bird walk where we saw local great blue Herons. Finless made a donation of $5,000 to support the activities of the Golden Gate Audubon Society – as a thank you for their day-to-day hard work to preserve this beautiful oasis in our backyard. We look forward to continuing our support of coastal communities, access to the outdoors, and habitat protection projects.

Finless Team Building Day on Sep 15th – At Finless, we love finding creative ways to celebrate our staff. So, we headed out to beautiful Lake Chabot, where our team participated in many fun team-building exercises and enjoyed the great outdoors. It was an absolute joy and we are already looking forward to our next adventure together!

Marine Sanctuaries Event on Sep 18th – We partnered with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society for a celebratory event at the New York Aquarium. Finless was one of many leading conservation and ocean protection organizations in attendance to honor the designation of the Hudson Canyon as the newest National Marine Sanctuary. This was extra special to us, as the Hudson Canyon is an important ecosystem for the Atlantic bluefin tuna. Contributing to habitat protection for key species like the bluefin tuna is an important component of Finless’ mission to create a future where our ocean thrives. 

Climate Week Dinner on Sep 21st –  Over 100 climate activists, journalists, sustainability professionals, and community members gathered at The Gallery stage at NeueHouse in New York City to discuss sustainability and community resilience through the lenses of regenerative travel and reimagining a regenerative blue economy. 

According to panelist Shannon Cosentino-Roush, Chief Strategy Officer at Finless Foods, building coalitions and sharing best practices are crucial to creating the momentum necessary to scale innovation, shake up entire industries, and affect meaningful change for our ocean and planet. 

Plant Based World Expo on Sep 8th-9th – Our Policy and Impact Manager, Lauren Latchford, represented Finless Foods at our booth at the Plant Based World Expo in New York. Amongst the showcasing of our plant-based tuna by our sales team, an incredibly diverse array of plant-based products made an appearance, ranging from burgers and nuggets to protein powders and chocolate bars. This was a key event as chefs, restaurateurs, and government agencies from around the world were in attendance to learn how they can best serve their communities with sustainable and plant-based food solutions. We were honored to have attended as a nominee of the World Plant Based Awards for Best Plant-Based Seafood, and look forward to coming back next year with more to offer. 

We have many more exciting events planned and we can’t wait to share them with you. Be sure to follow us on social media @finlessfoods for updates! 

On Wetlands and Wildlife in the East Bay

Image description: a great blue heron standing amidst tall green vegetation on a wetland. 

On September 14th, our Finless Foods team participated in a volunteer event with the Golden Gate Audubon Society in honor of California’s 38th annual Coastal Cleanup Day. We made our way to Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park in Oakland, just eight miles south of our headquarters in Emeryville. We spent quality time outdoors beautifying our local coastline and it was the perfect way to spend the day.

Image description: four people scattered along a rocky coastline wearing gloves, holding bags and trash pickers, and removing trash. 

Together, we removed trash and invasive plants from the shore and took a guided bird walk, where we saw a variety of species including great blue herons. Volunteer Services Manager Janet Carpinelli and one of the society’s bird walk leaders, Maureen Lahiff, shared invaluable information about the local wetlands. 

Before we get into more details, let us share some fundamental information about wetlands.

What are Wetlands, and How Do They Affect the Environment?

Image description: Grassy and rocky coastline behind a bed of yellow grass in a wetland. Along the coastline, there are several people holding bags for removing trash. There are trees and vegetation in the background and a bridge in the upper left corner. 

A wetland is an area of land that is covered by water. Its attributes are so unique that it functions as a separate ecosystem. Wetlands act as a natural water filter by trapping pollutants in their soil, converting nitrogen into an absorbable form for plants, and breaking down bacteria. And according to NOAA, wetlands store three to five times more carbon than tropical forests! This is a big deal for combating climate change. In addition to these great long-term benefits, wetlands also protect against dangerous events like hurricanes and flooding. 

The EPA reports that in the 1600s, there were over 220 million acres of wetlands across the area now known as the lower 48 states. Since the arrival of European colonizers, over half of the wetlands have been drained and converted for other uses. Other major human causes of wetland degradation include introducing non-native species, mining, pollutants, and tilling for crop production.  

This is why it is now more important than ever to work together on restoring wetlands and contributing to a thriving ocean. Thanks to Howie Vogt, our Sustainability Lead, he knew just the right place to start: in our own backyard with the guidance of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.

The History of Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park and its Native Species 

Image description: Along the coastline of a wetland, six people wearing hats and gloves are crouched on the ground, removing plants. There is a large brown bag in the middle for collecting invasive plants. To the right of the volunteers is a paved road. 

The Golden Gate Audubon Society advocates for preserving and protecting the wetlands. Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park has been experiencing a significant decline in species due to a lack of native plants. What was previously 2000 acres of wetland, 750 acres remain. The Golden Gate Audubon Society, along with other local agencies and passionate individuals, have coordinated efforts such as coastal cleanups and growing native plants to restore the habitat for wildlife in this park. For example, the endangered California clapper rail was previously on the brink of extinction before these restoration efforts. 

Another reason the restoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park is so paramount is that it is one of the key resting points for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. This migratory path extends from British Columbia all the way to South America! Hundreds of thousands of fowl rely on this area to rest during their long journey.

The Power of Community 

Image description: two people holding binoculars and looking off into the distance. The wetland waters and a moderate amount of clouds are behind them. 

By the end of the morning, we had removed four 30-gallon bags of invasive plants from the coastline. This green waste will later get composted into fertilizer for the local gardens and parks. Additionally, the trash we picked up was separated into recycling and discarded as appropriate. Looking at the pile of bags gathered on the grass, Maureen commented on the relief she felt knowing that this was not going out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and we wholeheartedly agree.

Including our participation, with 60% of the cleanup sites reporting, the statewide count for California Coastal Cleanup Day stands at 27,185 volunteers. Those amazing volunteers picked up 220,861 pounds of trash and an additional 29,702 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 250,563 pounds. Way to make the environment smile, California!

At Finless, we live out our mission not just by creating sustainable and alternative seafood – but also by taking responsibility for our choices that affect the environment. Understanding our relationships with the ecosystems around us guides our strategy for creating a future where the ocean thrives. 

Be sure to follow us on social media to see future partnerships and conservation efforts.

Sustainability September at Finless Foods

On a mission to create a future for seafood where the ocean thrives, Finless Foods lives this out everyday by creating plant-based and cell-cultured seafood. Beyond the development of alternative seafood, we are embedding our ocean thriving values and sustainability practices into our daily operations. 

First, we are developing a Green Team, a group of staff within the company dedicated to bringing sustainable practices to our business. This will include maintaining a composting system, providing safe methods for electronic waste, and choosing environmentally friendly supplies for our office and company events. They will also provide training and educational resources to our staff for sorting items for landfill, recycling, and compost, and sustainability practices they can bring home to their communities. 

Second, we have created a new role and welcomed Howie Vogt as the Sustainability Lead. He is responsible for working with our science and operations teams to advance our impact initiatives and bring daily support to deepening our commitment to our mission. Howie utilizes his expertise to champion new operational strategies, establish new partnerships, and connect our staff with volunteer opportunities. Our most recent volunteer event is pictured below. 

Image description: about 30 people standing and smiling together on a dirt surface in front of a grassy wetland. It is a sunny day with blue skies and some white clouds in the background.
Image description: about 30 people standing and smiling together on a dirt surface in front of a grassy wetland. It is a sunny day with blue skies and some white clouds in the background. 

In the spirit of California’s Coastal Clean Up Day on September 17th, we coordinated an event of over 30 staff members trekking out to the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park. In partnership with the Golden Gate Audubon Society, we removed trash and invasive plants from the coastline. We selected this site because it is close to home and a popular place for locals to appreciate the beautiful bay. This wetland is home to a variety of native birds, and we had some avid birders on our team who were excited to witness them nest in their natural habitat. We look forward to continuing our support of coastal communities, access to the outdoors, and habitat protection projects.

Where can you find Finless next? 

We have just wrapped up a joyful event on Sunday, September 18th at the New York Aquarium celebrating the Hudson Canyon becoming a designated National Marine Sanctuary. We partnered with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society to commemorate the designation of Hudson Canyon, an extremely important marine landmark that lies in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The Hudson Canyon is the largest underwater canyon along the United States’ Atlantic coastline. It is home to a diverse array of marine life including whales, sharks, sea turtles, fish, and deep-sea corals, as well as robust fisheries and a rich maritime history. This designation will help to sustain many species, prevent habitat degradation of this thousand-year-old ecosystem, and provide research, recreation, and education opportunities for the more than 22 million people that live in diverse communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Finless helped to celebrate this event by creating and distributing ocean-themed coloring pages for children, and serving our plant-based tuna, in honor of the marine species that will now be protected by the sanctuary designation. 

Join us next as we head to New York to participate in Climate Week. The 14th year of this event operates in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly. Shannon Cosentino-Roush team is participating in the Climate Action Through Regeneration: Exploring Key Solutions For the Climate Crisis panel at NeueHouse to discuss opportunities for driving regenerative business models and Finless Foods will be hosting a booth at the Marketplace of the Future.

Can’t make it to New York’s Climate Week? Enjoy our plant-based tuna at Gracias Madre on the west coast in San Francisco, where this beloved restaurant will be serving our product later this month. 

We are excited to return to headquarters with more updates and insights on our travels soon.