Artwork by Jon Adams for The Perennial Farming Initiative

Hi Starter fam,

I am back in Kauai and it sure feels good. I love this place. You might not think of it as a creative hub, but as an entrepreneur working to tap into my greatest creative potential, it’s amazing how important it is to find a place that’s quiet to cut out the noise and hear what you truly are here to give. Wherever you are, find that quiet space for yourself.

It also forces me to slow down. I am learning the gifts of slow quite literally as I wait for the soft-serve equipment (I am sharing with some other food makers) that is coming on the slooooooow boat! It’s just how things go here in Kauai. While I wait for the machine's arrival, it’s actually forced me to do these important preparatory steps for the business that I KNOW I need to be doing for the right foundation, yet still the thrill of creating and pushing ahead in making the product can cause me to skip right over.

This month I am making my values concrete and diving deeper in them. I am certainly a values-based entrepreneur and they have been swirling around in my head, but I have not written them down. I'm very passionate as a new mom about work and family integration. I shared some real real on the 'gram about my struggles figuring out the balance. You also hear me talk a lot about regenerative organic agriculture because I have learned enough to know that it is the future of our food and the healing of our planet, but I have not given myself the time to dig in deep. Changing that this month.  

My first introduction to regenerative organic agriculture was through Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint. They own a few very successful restaurants in San Francisco. I knew their restaurants like Commonwealth and Mission Chinese well, but they really came on my radar when they did a carbon footprint test on their own businesses and shared their learnings. It then led them to starting The Perennial, the most progressive and environmentally-friendly restaurant. They pushed all the boundaries and while they did that, they started a non-profit called The Perennial Farming Institute to help explore initiatives that could help mitigate climate change and respond to its impacts on the food system.

I have learned so much from them, and the artwork on this month’s cover is dedicated to how they have helped lead the way for the food community to understand what it means to be growing food in harmony with nature. They shared the tough news that they closed The Perennial just a few days ago and will be putting their full effort into The Perennial Farming Institute. It's certainly a loss for the community and a reminder that business is hard and not a given. BUT it's also proof that your values and mission will live on. The fear of failure can often keep you from starting at all, but if you start with a clear why and have your values concrete, you will see that the work you are meant to create might be through this idea, or it might be a stepping stone to the next project. The projects and businesses are more temporary, but the underlying reasons you do it are the ones that last.

So on that note, the month of February is all about values. In this issue I share the stories of food entrepreneurs who are doing remarkable work, while living their values. This month’s book club, I am going DEEP on regenerative organic agriculture, thanks to a recommendation from the folks at Patagonia Provisions. Outside of my reading I am going to be meeting with people on island who can teach me the regenerative ways specifically for the ecology of Kauai. You can follow along those adventures at @thestartermag.

I wish you all the best this month. 

In Good Food We Trust,
*one more thing* - I loved hearing from you all last month, thanks for your email notes and feedback! Please do hit reply and say hi if you are feeling it. :)

1. Beet Generation - Too Sexy Tomato Pasta
I believe more farms will succeed if they can create their own value-add products. Beet Generation is great example of doing it with 50% of the produce for the their pasta line sourced from their own farm. The tomatoey oomph adds an extra layer of flavor for whatever pasta dish you are dreaming up.
2. Hu - Cashew Butter + Vanilla Bean Dark Chocolate
All I can say is... my kinda candy bar. Dark chocolate filled with pockets of cashew butter. Vegan and Paleo if that's your thing.
3. Hitchhike Superfoods - Ancient Grain Superfood Bar
I love the idea of an energy bar on the go, I don’t like most of them though. Too sweet, too dry, fake “natural favors”…but this one is DELICIOUS. It’s the only product they make - inspired by the amaranth they discovered in Peru. Chewy, just a pinch sweet, really satisfying. 
4. Kauai Farmacy - Vitaliti Herbal Tea
A local farm here in Kauai that grows these remarkable herbal tea blends with regenerative practices. They go from seed to cup, which is a rarity in the tea world. Doug and Genna's farm is an oasis and each cup is as nutrient dense as it gets thanks to happy soil. AND the tea is the freshest it gets. When you purchase tea, it’s only weeks since the herbs have been harvested from the ground.
5. Mother - Sparkling Switchel
Made with a base of apple cider vinegar instead of tea found in kombucha. I’m a nursing mama, and my babe is super sensitive to even to the teeniest caffeine. A sparkling satisfying alternative to the 'booch.
6. Columbia County Bread - Kernza Sprouted Wheat Flour
The future of wheat right here for your baking pleasure. Scope the next section for a run down from The Perennial Food Institute on what makes this wheat so much better.
🌈 The More You Know 🌈
Artwork by Wendy MacNaughton
Kernza is a perennial alternative to traditional grains, developed by The Land Institute in Kansas. Annual monocultures, such as wheat and corn, contribute to climate change by eroding soil, releasing carbon dioxide, requiring fertilizer, and worsening droughts. Because they are tilled annually, they release the carbon that plants store in the soil.
In contrast, perennial plants like Kernza have deep roots that help restore the prairie ecosystem and promote healthy soil, mitigating drought conditions, reducing fertilizer runoff and related nitrous oxide emissions. The ecosystem persists from year to year.  Food production accounts for about 30% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, but progressive agriculture can actually reverse climate change by pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it in the soil.
- The Perennial Farming Institute
Read: I'm Not a Woo-Woo Wellness Ayurvedic Yoga Instructor Selling You Turmeric
- Bon Appetit'
“It was completely scrubbed out of Westerners’ consciousness that you should care about your spices and where they come from,” Javeri Kadri says. Read more.
STARTER SAYS: Sana Javeri Kadri is genius. Super high quality turmeric, stunning packaging, and most importantly she's rethinking the entire supply-chain for spices. By going direct, farmers get 6x the market price. Inspiring me as I take a similar approach with supply chain for my ice cream. - ELO
Read: Save the Tortilla
- Modern Farmer
“Paying a fair price directly to corn producers is a core principle of their project so that farmers don’t have to leave their communities to search for other work. They focus on sourcing quality heirloom corn from small-scale farms, making sure to only buy surplus production in order not to deprive farmers and their families of their ancient food rites." Read More.
STARTER SAYS: Subsidized cheap American corn is nearly killing an 8,000 year tradition of growing over 60 varieties of native corn in Mexico. Really digging this company Tamoa, who is creating a network for small farmers and paying farmers directly to save their heirloom corn. - ELO
Watch: The Biggest Little Farm, Trailer
- Apricot Lane Farms

"This all started with a promise, that we'd leave the big city and build a life in perfect harmony with nature. Like a traditional farm from the past. Our version of a farm would be different: plants, wildlife, livestock - all working together." Watch the Trailer.
STARTER SAYS: Just one of the many farms leading the way with biodynamic, regenerative systems. John and Molly just happen to also be filmmakers, documenting their process of converting the farm. Check the trailer and for a screening near you. I am trying to bring the film to Kauai. - ELO
Starter Book Club: February

The Soil will Save Us
By Kristin Ohlson

Kristin Ohlson believes that in order to fix the problems in the sky, we need to put our eyes and ears to the ground. This book takes us on her journey from Cleveland, Ohio to Perth, Australia—to learn about how people can revive soils damaged by decades of drought, erosion, and poor land management.
Get your copy and follow along at @thestartermag where I'll share my ah ha! moments and highlighted passages.
Me building an ice cream biz on Kauai. 🐢
Between the Issues on the 'gram
Last month I worked through my vision for the ice cream biz on the 'gram. If you missed it, you can still catch the four exercises I used at @thestartermag.
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