Eat, Drink And Be indie: Tasty Recipes, Inspiring Maker Stories & Exclusives Served Daily

Greyston Bakery

Greyston Bakery's mission is sweeter than any baked good, and puts a smile on our face before we even bite into one of their awesome products. They "bake brownies to hire people," not the other way around, creating jobs designed to foster community economic renewal and personality transformation through a system they call PathMaking.

The founder Roshi Bernie Glass is a Zen Master, and incorporates Buddhist philosophies and methods into the fabric of the company. The bakery, founded in 1982 and based in Yonkers, New York, has an open-door hiring policy. Glass saw that employment was the key to breaking free from poverty, and so founded a bakery that's open to hiring just about anyone – regardless of social barrier, education, work history or criminal records.

Jobs at Greyston are designed to teach techniques that lead to self-sufficiency and personal growth through introspection. Greyston employees rate the quality of each of the 5 aspects of their Mandala – mind, body, health, spirit and self – on a worksheet, and use it to gauge personal growth and life progress.

The Greyston "Lifeplan" helps employees integrate these skills into their everyday lives, solving areas of struggle or conflict before creating specific long- and short-term goals to work toward and monitoring progress. The goal is to provide a ripple effect of development throughout the entire community.   

Glass worked for years in Socially Engaged Buddhism, teaching Zen, founding the Zen Peacemakers and authoring a book. He also found time to earn a PhD in Applied Math, bringing a sharp analytical acumen to his current bakery endeavors that allows its continued success.

So far, the company's been very successful, both in social impact and as a profitable business. By churning out consistently delicious, high-quality treats – especially their brownies, which popular ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's has used in their products since the '80s – Greyston garners enough business to be profitable both financially and socially.

That's a company mission that's not hard to swallow.  

Maker website:

Article index

  • Nate Duval

    Nate Duval is an illustrator, printmaker and merch-maker based in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He studied advertising design at Syracuse University where...

    Read more
  • Undercover Chocolate Co.

    Diana Levy has been a serious chocoholic for as long as she or anyone can remember. From stashing boxes of...

    Read more
  • BloomThat

    BloomThat is on a mission to make sending a little something a big movement. Founded in 2013 by friends David...

    Read more
  • Mah-ze-dahr Bakery

    Umber Ahmad, founder and head chef of Mah-ze-dahr, grew up based in northern Michigan but also traveling the world. Her...

    Read more
  • Next