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Welcome to Social Innovator of the Week, the weekly post that honours and highlights individuals with innovative business ideas and solutions that support a wider community of people both on and offline. If you know someone with a clever and original idea for a social business then I want to hear about them!

To give you an idea of the kind of people I usually featured in this series I recommend you check out Andre Campbell and Leila Kashanipour, just a couple of my favourite social innovators from the past.

For now though, it’s back to the present! Today I’m itching to tell you about the USA based Alok Appadurai. He is, wait for it – a social entrepreneur, writer, vegetarian, urban farmer and co-founder of ‘Fed By Threads’ – and you’re about to find out why his clothing business reflects his deep belief for social justice and human rights.

Nokia Conversations: Fed By Threads

Let’s look a little closer at Fed By Threads.

The idea 

To create inspiring shirt designs that feed people at the same time. For every shirt that Alok (and his partner in crime Jade Beall) sells they will provide 12 meals to food-insecure Americans. Some of their core beliefs summarise the company pretty well: ‘fashion that feeds’ and ‘fighting hunger in our own back yard’. 

Conventionally, charitable organisations like Fed By Threads usually support issues abroad in developing countries, but America has many if it’s own problems that need addressing. 

Who benefits from the shirt sales?

Here are some interesting social statistics that Alok uses to help illustrate his motivations for the business on the company homepage:

  • 16 million children in America live in poverty in households that lack food security. 

  • 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecurity in 2010. 

  • 3 million rural households across America lacked adequate food supplies.

  • 6.2 million suburban households similarly went without food security. 

Is there anyone else involved in the project?

Fed By Threads donates to Feeding America (the national hunger relief charity) and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (to aid local hunger relief). So Alok has ensured he is literally catering for people in his local community but also on a national scale, because Feeding America has 200+ food banks across America.

Recently Alok also teamed up Kristen Taylor from Bee Green Foods to release some bespoke Fed By Threads shirts for the organic produce organisation.   


Follow Alok on Twitter to find out more about his up and coming projects!

That’s it for this week, if you would like me to feature anyone in this post next week then please do leave me a comment with a link in the comments section below. If I don’t feature them next week then I will try my best to do so in the near future.

Alternatively drop me a tweet: @Nokia_Connects, let me know what you think about some of Alok’s work, are you inspired?

[Image credits: Fed By Threads, Quarterwaters]