Food

Ep 11: Benjamin Weiner – CEO, Gold Mountain Coffee Growers

Host Kari Ginger learns more about the work that goes into producing quality coffee with Benjamin Weiner, founder of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers in Nicaragua. Benjamin discusses the daily life of coffee farmers, coffee processing, direct trade, sustainability, and the social and economic impact of coffee in Nicaragua. Benjamin Weiner is the founder of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers, a direct trade social enterprise that connects farmers of exquisite specialty coffees in Nicaragua with roasters throughout the world. Gold Mountain Coffee Growers has its own farm in Nicaragua called “Finca Idealista.” Ben is also a consultant on coffee harvesting and post-harvest processing and a licensed Q Grader. Ben created Gold Mountain Coffee Growers in 2007, when small local farmers asked him for help connecting with international markets. They were upset that the coffee economy did not allow them to support their families effectively. He bases the entire social enterprise on quality. Gold Mountain won the SCAE excellence award for sustainability in 2016 for what their specialty coffees achieve economically and environmentally for coffee communities. Ben is a lawyer by training who served as a foreign policy advisor in the United States Senate before jumping exclusively into coffee. In the U.S. Senate he drafted legislation for a Senator and worked to make U.S. agencies more efficient. He also worked on issues such as environmental cleanups in Vietnam, improving the plight of refugees and persecuted populations, and cutting down on duplicative U.S. military spending. Ben holds a degree in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and a law degree from Boston College Law School.
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Ep 10: Brian Gumm – Founder of Ross Street Roasting Co.

Host Kari Ginger learns about coffee roasting, the sourcing of coffee, and coffee quality from Brian Gumm, founder of Ross Street Roasting Company. Ross Street Roasting Co. was founded in 2015 by Brian Gumm and a silent partner/investor. Their first large volume purchase of un-roasted/green coffee was a Direct Trade deal with a producer in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and that relationship has deepened over the past 3 years along with other sourcing relationships including one more Direct Trade partner from Papua New Guinea. Ross Street Roasting Co.’s mission is to “Turn coffee drinkers into coffee lovers,” and part of that entails introducing customers to high levels of traceability for the excellent coffees that they love.
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Ep 8: Jarek Bakken and Dr. Alex Arguello, D.C. – Restoring Human

Jarek Bakken and Dr. Alex Arguello DC join Kari to discuss nutrition, fitness and their podcast Restoring Human.

The two hosts believe humans were designed to flourish and are helping people make intentional lifestyle decisions to return to an optimal state of health.

Jarek Bakken:
Jarek is a self experimenter when it comes to health. He was introduced to CrossFit and the Paleo diet in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. After losing 60 pounds he has found a passion for helping sick and hurting people realize that change can in the realm of health just like it did for him. He is now a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and host of the Restoring Human podcast with Dr. Alex Arguello DC. The two believe humans were designed to flourish and are helping people make intentional lifestyle decisions to return to an optimal state of health.

Dr. Alex Arguello:
Dr. Alex Arguello, D.C., has a passion for helping people like you to live a high quality of life and feel your best at all times. Being a family man himself, he’s greatest passion is to see entire families be healthy together. Since 2011, Dr. Alex Arguello has helped hundreds of patients and their families get well from a wide variety of health issues, ranging from allergies to ADHD to migraine headaches to low back disc problems.

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Food Transparency – Why settle for less?

Understanding where your food originates from may not be something that many think of but when you grow up on a farm, it is literally right in front of you. Whether it be from raising your own beef to knowing where each of the cucumbers which are being made into pickles originated, it is a clear and often short pathway.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture however, less than two percent of Americans now actually live on farms. This leaves 98% of our population consuming food without the knowledge of where their food originated, how it was processed and at times even when it was harvested. If this sounds like a concern to you, you are not wrong because it clearly is a problem.

 

For me, life has been different than those who live in cities. I grew up on a farm in French Lick, Indiana where we raised cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, corn, soybeans and wheat. My parents were both incredibly hard workers and my dad was a business entrepreneur. In addition to the farm, my parents owned a grocery store and a restaurant. Both businesses were heavily family operated and I can actually remember carrying out groceries at the age of five – probably even before that actually. My memories are that I was very helpful to my family. The truth, however, is not easily seen when you are that young.

My parents didn’t just have a garden, they had two of them and they were not your ‘normal’ sized gardens. Each garden was a few acres in size and they were worked daily. Mom was an incredible cook who fed five kids, four of them growing boys, without ever seemingly breaking a sweat. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all came mainly from the farm. Canning, freezing and butchering were all just part of life and in my thoughts anyway, normal. Although the meats stocked at Roach’s Market were purchased, they were from local butchers who harvested, processed and sold their meats fresh. Dad would purchase everything from fresh Italian sausage to ribeyes to turkeys from wholesalers within about an hour radius of their store. Oh, and all of the ground beef was processed right there in the store. That is the way it was, it seemed normal but actually wasn’t.

Knowing where our food has originated and the path it has taken to the tables of our families may seem like a formidable task and the truth is that it is not an easy treck to follow. The good news however is that it is possible and with that possibility is an opportunity for each individual and their families. We all want to provide the absolute best for our families and we may actually think this is being done but prepackaged meats in large box stores may not be of the quality that is expected. This is not a slam on large box stores, this is a look at the reality that may very well exist.

Is it possible to bring transparency back to the food families are consuming? The answer is yes which then raises another question… if transparency is possible then why would anyone settle for less? The answer is simple, we as consumers cannot settle for less. It is time that everyone expects and demands more. Why? For ourselves, for our families, for a healthier lifestyle.

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Ep 4: Cultivating Food Literacy in Children with Raintree School by Know Better Live Best

Kari sits down with chefs Katie Brown and Andrea Hediger at Raintree School.

Katie Brown was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She cooked in a variety of restaurants and food-focused non-profit organizations for 8 years and studied Nutrition and Dietetics at St. Louis University before becoming head chef at Raintree School. She has been at Raintree for five years. While feeding students scratchmade lunches, she hopes to also foster in them a passion for food, where it comes from, and ways to enjoy it. When not in the kitchen she loves yoga, painting, gardening, and traveling.

Andrea Hediger’s love for cooking orignated from spending time in her grandmother’s kitchen at a young age. It was there where she learned the basics of cooking. To further her knowledge, she moved from her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to Seattle, Washington and studied Nutrition and Culinary Arts at Bastyr University. While in the Pacific Northwest, she gained experiences in various kitchen settings and organic gardens. One year ago she became sous chef at Raintree where she gets to practice her passion by feeding young eaters. Her favorite thing about her job is witnessing the excitement that the children have about food.

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Ep 3: Chase’n the Dream at QCAA with Chase Hollmer

Kari sits down with Chase Hollmer from the Quad City Athlete Acadamy.

Chase is originally from Iowa where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Movement and Exercise Science from the University of Northern Iowa. He later moved to Tampa, Florida where he completed his Master’s Degree in Exercise and Nutritional Science from the University of Tampa. While pursuing his graduate degree , Chase also worked in UT’s Human Performance Lab, one of the top human performance labs in the country. Since his time in Tampa he has worked with multiple professional teams and athletes including those in the NHL, NFL, MLB, and UFC. Chase’s experience also extends working with numerous fitness professionals and bodybuilders on their individual training, nutrition, and supplementation needs.
Chase is currently the owner and head coach of the Quad City Athlete Academy. Athletes that have worked under Coach Hollmer have received Div. 1 scholarships to every Power 5 conference.

Certifications:
Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN)
Certified USA Weight Lifting Sports Performance Coach

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Food Transparency – A Call to Action and What It Means to You

The good news – Americans are becoming more interested and aware of the food we consume and why informed nutrition is important.

The bad news – The road to informed nutrition and food literacy is confusing and intricate. 
There is a lot of information on the type of foods we should eat, the quantities we should consume, the next big trending diet, eating to manage illnesses, and how to eat well to live a long and disease-free life. These topics are important, complex, and often heavily debated. However, this article isn’t about that.

Today, we are going to focus on the basics: food and where it comes from. At Know Better Live Best, we could spend hours talking about just this (and often do!) and we will dive deeper into some of these issues in the future. But for now, let’s keep it at the basics.

What is food transparency?

Access to knowledge about where food comes from – this includes origins of the seeds, the farm the food came from and its procedures,, environmental conditions, worker conditions, sustainability practices, packaging, production, and sale. Like every system, each step along the way is important and influences the next. Food often is not simply brought from the farm to the store where you purchase it. Our food system is incredibly intricate and complex, and much can get lost along the way – making true food transparency an extraordinarily difficult feat.

According to the 2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study, the majority of people want transparency in the food system. There is a growing demand to improve our system and better the health of our society. Of the 1,500 consumers surveyed in the study mentioned above, 94% of respondents reported it is important to them that the brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent about what is in their food and how it is made. The good news is, consumer demand for transparency is sparking a change in the food industry. And with new technology, a transparent food supply chain is within our reach.

Which brings us to our excitement about our partnership Bytable Foods.

Bytable Foods uses blockchain and IoT technologies to trace where food is coming from. They’re tracking how food was grown, processed, distributed, and how it ended up at your local store. And they’re making this information available to consumers like you – by scanning a QR code on the food package, you can see the entire journey of your food from the farm to your table, certification information, packaging dates, and the practices of the producer.

We believe that food transparency built on trustworthy information is the key to transforming our food system into one that works better for everyone in it. And we are so excited to see Bytable Foods making it happen.

Food transparency data can be used for many other things that benefit our society overall. By building traceability and transparency into our food system food outbreaks can be contained sooner,eating to prevent and manage illness can become easier, choosing what we use to fuel performance can improve,labels will be easier to read, and nutrition quality will be held to a higher standard.

Because when consumers are given the information and power to choose where their money goes, they can give back to their local communities, support companies that align with their values, and vote with their dollars and voices for a better and more sustainable food system.

“Food transparency,” is a buzzword these days – but we hope this article has helped you understand the hype. When our food system supports transparency, you can have a say in the food you consume and the companies you support. Bytable Foods and Know Better, Live Best are here to help you live your best life. We will continue to dive into the world of nutrition and food industry as we go, but we first wanted to introduce you to our passion.

What is your passion? How can living well help you achieve it? And how can we help?

1.https://www.labelinsight.com/hubfs/Label_Insight-Food-Revolution-Study.pdf?hsCtaTracking=fc71fa82-7e0b-4b05-b2b4-de1ade992d33%7C95a8befc-d0cc-4b8b-8102-529d937eb427

2. https://www.bytablefoods.com/

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Ep 2: The Mindset for Living Best with Alex Uding

Alex Uding, owner of Advancing Athletics, LLC talks health literacy and how mindset influences health, nutrition, and fitness. Listen in for tips on improving mindset, setting your mind and body up for success, and when to ask for help.

About Alex Uding:

Alex works with healthy and injured individuals alike, across the lifespan. She has special interest in orthopedic and sports rehab, women’s health, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and development of the female athlete. She is passionate about bridging the gap between rehabilitation and optimizing performance to promote a lifestyle of health and wellness through compassionate, person-centered care.

Alex loves to run, hike, and travel – visiting every national park is on the bucket list! She enjoys exploring new places, culture, food, music, and people. She is Chicago born and raised, but has lived all over the country. She loves hearing people’s story and what makes them tick.

Alex has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, is Precision Nutrition Certified, and is a Strength and Performance Coach. She works as a Physical Therapist and Performance Coach at Momentum Physical Therapy in Milford, MA.

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Ep 1: Transparency & the U.S. Food System with Bytable Foods

Kari sits down with Brett and Jacy, the cofounders of Bytable Foods, a food technology startup creating traceable and transparent food supply chains.

Tune in for shocking facts about the American food system, how blockchain and IoT can be used to create a better food system, and why the cofounders started their journey.

Jacy Rittmer, CEO and cofounder of Bytable Foods, grew up on a farm in rural Iowa, rarely ate food that wasn’t straight from their family garden or from neighboring farmers. A self-taught coder with a background in biology, design, and marketing, she can switch from talking tech to talking tomatoes at the drop of a hat. 

Brett Dugan, CTO and cofounder of Bytable Foods, is an engineer by trade and a foodie at heart. His journey in health and nutrition belongs in a thriller novel, and has led him to use his experience in blockchain and AgTech to create groundbreaking technologies for Bytable Foods.

Brett and Jacy are passionate about using technology to enable responsible and sustainable food producers to take a larger part in the food system. As advocates for complete transparency in food, they believe everyone should be given the opportunity to experience great food – without worrying about where it came from.

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