In this September 27, 2009 free audio weekend update, Ben has a special guest on the show to discuss how to grow a healthy baby. Here is the letter that accompanies this episode, written by Jessa Greenfield from Bud Organics:
"For the past six months, Marta Greenfield and I have been developing a fresh, new and exciting idea. We have been working very hard on a business plan, marketing strategy, community surveys, focus groups and many hours of due diligence – and we now feel that we are ready to unveil this business and our product to you.
The organic industry has grown by over 20% in the last three years, while the commercial food industry has suffered as consumers become more aware of where and how their food is grown. Along with this growing trend, many parents are becoming aware that commercial baby food is not the best way to feed their babies. Every parent wants the best for their baby, and it is becoming more apparent that what is on the shelf right now is not the best, and could actually be harming a baby’s fragile body.
I experienced the same feeling as I searched for the right baby food to grow healthy bodies for River and Terran. I learned that the common method of preserving baby food is canning. The problem with this is that the food is heated to a very high temperature to kill the bacteria that cause botulism. This heating method kills much of the nutrition in the food.
An inspection of the ingredients in all the commercial baby foods revealed the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), which are crops generally made up of corn, soy, cotton and sugar beets. These have been linked to allergies, asthma, digestive ulcers, learning disabilities, cancer, low birth weight, infertility and antibiotic resistance! I didn’t want these for River and Terran, especially since most of the world has banned GMO’s based on multiple research studies.
The baby food found on the shelves of most grocery stores is comprised of fruits and vegetables that were picked several months before ripeness, rendering the food tasteless and deprived of nutrients. Furthermore, harsh chemical preservatives are necessary to keep the food for many months as it is shipped around the country (typically grown hundreds or thousands of miles from the economy where it is finally purchased), and nutrient-stripped “fillers” such as corn, soy and wheat are added to thicken the product.
Many of the pesticides found in non-organic commercial baby foods contain probable human carcinogens, neurotoxins and pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system, and some of the pesticides are considered “Category One”, which is the highest designation of oral toxicitiy. A 2003 Washington University study found that babies who were fed organically had six times fewer pesticides in their urine than those that were not fed organically!
I learned that A) much of an infant’s digestive and neurological development happens in the first 2 years of life; B) an infant’s body is less efficient in eliminating toxins; and C) an infant’s digestive tract absorbs much more than an adult’s. This was the final straw. Our goal for River and Terran was to raise them in as healthy a manner as possible, and commercial baby food was obviously not the solution, for their well-being, for our local farmers, or for any of the other mothers in Spokane, Coeur D’ Alene and across the United States.
So after countless hours spent in the kitchen, on farms, in the library, in grocery stores and with mothers from across the region Marta and I have established a solution: Bud Organics. In sum, Bud Organics will be a producer of frozen organic baby food. But what is most important to Marta and I is to provide an affordable, quality alternative to commercial baby food to as many babies as possible. We want to give these vulnerable young bodies the best possible start they can get. That means that their food should be incredibly fresh and 100% free of pesticides and GMO’s, with zero “nutrient-void” fillers, preservatives, and chemicals.
How are we going to ensure this?
We have established a relationship with farmers within a 200 mile radius of the Spokane and Coeur D’ Alene area. A majority of our produce will be bought locally from these farmers. The reason for this is two-fold; 1) it helps with our local economy and our money stays in the area, supporting a sustainable region; 2) our food will not be picked months before ripeness, and shipped across the world, which would leave it tasteless and nutrient deplete.
To ensure freshness, our food will be picked at the peak of ripeness and processed immediately in our certified organic kitchen in Spokane. All the produce used will be “certified organic”, which ensures that there are no pesticide or herbicides sprayed on the produce that goes into our product. Not only will none of the common “filler” ingredients like flour, soy and corn appear in our food, but because our produce is organic, there will be no GMO's.
We have also established a relationship with several local grocery stores (both commercial and organic), farmer’s markets, mother’s groups and baby stores who are anxiously waiting for the first line of Bud Organics to hit the market.
And the unique method of preservation? We can ensure our product is more nutritious to our counterpart because we freeze our product. Freezing still gives a six month shelf life, but doesn't kill any of the food components, and instead locks in the valuable nutrients until the product is naturally thawed and ready for the baby to eat!
The combination of frozen, fresh and organic baby food is a unique concept with a massive market, as the numbers in our business plan and market analysis have proven to us. We want to ensure that we fund farms that are growing and helping the local environment that we are leaving to our children. Organically grown produce is a sustainable method of farming. Rather than stripping the land of nutrients, organic farming grows soil by composting and applying natural matters (not chemical), planting poly-culture crops and letting their land “rest”.
“But,” you may say, “My mom fed me non-organic food when I was raised and look at me!” That is very true, but today many weeds and pests have built up a resistance to the growing use of herbicides and pesticides, so more sprays have to be applied than what was needed 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Also the FDA has said that the levels of pesticides and herbicides on commercially grown produce is OK for the adult consumer, but they have not taken in to account young children and infants. Ultimately, there is a growing need for an alternative to commercial baby foods, and Bud Organics can be that alternative that parents are desperately searching for, exactly as I did.
Despite knowing the danger that their baby faces, not every parent will be able experience what I experienced: spending hours at local farmer’s markets and then in their own kitchen, preparing, mixing and freezing their own organic, frozen baby food. And Bud Organics is the solution.
Marta and I hope that you all find this as important as we do. We have discovered that we find no better calling in life than to help our future generations grow up healthy and in a better, cleaner environment and economy.
That is why we are asking for your help. Currently, this idea only exists “on paper”, and to the small batches that we have provided to local mothers, who are calling us for more! To make Bud Organics a physical, tangible, vibrant living business, we will need funding.
We would rather go to our friends and family first, because you are the people that we know and who have shaped us into what we are now. This letter is our plea for a little assistance to begin helping America grow healthy babies. In launching Bud Organics, the cost of commercial kitchen, produce contracts, marketing materials, certifications and licensing, production and delivery methods can add up quickly, and this is our primary hurdle to turning this viable idea into a growing enterprise.
Rather than overwhelming you with our 27 page business plan, we would simply like to know if you are interested in helping, and we can provide you with any of the business, marketing and revenue details at that point.
Thanks for all your love, your support and your hope that we can make a lasting positive impact in this world." Bud Organics is currently raising capital to launch the first line of organic frozen baby food! Just call Jessa Greenfield at 208-301-4732 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in investing in America's future.