Good Sam Foods wants to be a food company centered around regenerative agriculture. They grow more than coffee in Colombia, says Heather Terry, co-founder and CEO of the new food start up.
A veteran in the natural food industry who had spent a decade starting her own company, NibMor chocolates, driving sales for companies such as SW Basics, and working at Beyond Brands, Terry didn’t plan on starting another company.
But when she met Sam Stroot who was sourcing dried fruits from Colombia, she saw the potential to expand the offering and create a company that did more than just one product. Chocolate, her first love, and coffee became their debut products, which are available on Thrive Market, but Terry has plans to introduce many more verticals — macadamia nuts, avocado oil, and more, she says.
It’s all centered around one principle: diversified crops. This is not a new idea, she notes, and in fact, one she feels has been co-opted by Western brands unfairly: “Small holder farmers have been doing regenerative agriculture around the world. They may not call it that but the principles are there. It’s us here in the US that are so addicted to mono-cropping and where regenerative agriculture could be of help and a real change.”
One of the main principles is not relying heavily on one crop, or intercropping to ensure that they have different sources of income as the seasons progress. Plus, it’s better for the soil and the farming conditions, Terry explains. “We are actually buffering our business, and that for the farmers, by doing this.”
Although there are countless coffee and chocolate companies on the market already, Terry says, “There is enough space for everyone. If you keep bringing out great products, you will succeed.”
Their single origin coffee from Colombia, for example, is from a single farmer and stands out for its flavor profile: Orlando who also farms bananas, avocados and other fresh produce on his organic farm is behind the company’s debut product. His nephew works with him part-time while also studying in hopes of becoming an international coffee expert in the future.
By working directly with growers like this, Terry says they’re able to strip away the layers of middlemen that eat away at profits. And they’re interested in putting some of those extra proceeds back into local projects. “Unsexy projects, stuff like cadmium testing, or an irrigation project. We really wanted to decolonize that system, and ask, What do you need? And we’re going to listen to that and agree on where this money gets spent.”
But most of all, they want to help farms build out different income streams. So the avocados can be turned into oil, the bananas can be sold in the local market, and the macadamia nuts can be exported. All of this makes growing coffee more feasible as well, she explains, as farmers deal with climate change and coffee needs altitude and a temperate climate to succeed. So if one crop takes a hit, there’s another product line lined up.
This holistic approach will be at the crux of Good Sam, Terry says, and an understanding that Gen Z is demanding more from brands. “Companies are going to be asked to disclose more and more information. It’s just the way of the world. You cannot be private and hide the blemish. You have to explain to customers how you can do better.”
With their first impact report on the way later this year, Good Sam hopes to focus their brand around the farmers and the localized impact, given their tagline is “Planet, People, Prosperity, for all.”