As business-school students at Berkeley, Kirsten Tobey and Kristin Richmond cooked up an unlikely idea. They wanted to tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity by starting a company that would deliver healthy, tasty and affordable lunches to school children: Instead of chicken nuggets and tater tots, they’d serve fresh vegetables and fruit, for well under $3 a plate.
They started Revolution Foods on the day they graduated in 2006 — it was a busy day, because Kristin went into labor that same day — and they’ve never looked back.
“We’ve been on a crazy ride every since,” Kirsten told me, when we met the other day at Revolution’s headquarters in Oakland, CA.
I reached out to Kirsten because I’ve been hearing great things about Revolution–and because it seems like such an audacious idea. Haven’t we been told that eating well costs more than eating badly? If that’s so, what hope is there for attacking the obesity crisis, especially among the poor? And, yes, it’s a crisis: Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years and more than one third of children were obese or overweight in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How sad, and how unnecessary. [click to continue…]