When my wife and I moved back to the East Coast from California six years ago, I thought my career with food was coming to a close. I had just spent the past seven years managing the food and beverage operations for two ski resorts in Lake Tahoe and I was longing to use my talents toward something that I perceived to be of greater importance—a cause that truly had an impact on the world. Little did I know that that calling would eventually take me right back to the industry I was planning to abandon.
It was the summer of 2015. Grace Farms was scheduled to open the public in October and they were looking for volunteers to help ready their operations. I raised my hand and within days found myself sitting at a table with Neena Perez, the soon-to-be head chef of Grace Farms.
Neena and I connected immediately. We both understood the universal and unifying power of food. We knew that what we served at Grace Farms needed to embody the mission and values of the Foundation itself. We wanted it to be simple and delicious while encouraging conversation and contemplation. And together we created the iconic menu still served in the Grace Farms Commons today.
That unforgettable experience was my inspiration for joining Grace Farms, but what has kept me engaged with the Foundation since that day has been the team's tireless devotion to their core values.
Grace - We seek to understand and engage with one another with humility, forgiveness, and respect
Peace - We pursue a just, diverse society through our initiatives and place, starting with ourselves.
Excellence -Grounded in grace and peace, we continually aspire to elevate our collective work and place through an inner drive to go beyond what has been done before.
Openness -We communicate often and honestly, championing the resolution of issues promptly and directly.
Meaning - We cultivate meaningful community rooted in joy, integrity, and our common sense of purpose.
New Outcomes -We learn and collaborate broadly, generating new perspectives and outcomes to advance human flourishing.
While each of the values spoke to me, as an aspiring entrepreneur, I immediately grabbed onto New Outcomes. I had seen lives flourish first-hand thanks to the efforts of Grace Farms—and wanted to give more people the opportunity to share in something greater too.
Grace Farms Foods is that new outcome. Together with Grace Farms Founder and CEO, Sharon Prince, we created Grace Farms Foods to help extend the mission of Grace Farms through food, and it is with that goal we have begun sharing our cookies, coffee, and herbal tea. Not only have we created a social enterprise that demonstrates what we advocate for at Grace Farms, but we've also created a model for other not-for-profit organizations to follow. One of our long-term goals is to inspire other not-for-profit organizations to build businesses that give back their profits to supporting charitable purposes as well.
I hope you will partner with us in sharing peace and purpose with the world.