10704 Oviatt Road
Honor, MI 49640

Gifts from the Good Earth

Food For Thought, Inc. is the nine-year-old business of Timothy and Kathy Young. Based in Honor, Michigan about 2 miles from the lakeshore, Tim and Kathy create their specialty organic foods and gifts.

Food for Thought was certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) eight years ago at the inception of the business and represents the Youngs’ commitment to foods and ideals that sustain both people and the environment. Food for Thought offers a variety of prepared foods that includes fruit butters and preserves, dried fruits, maple syrup, pickled wild leeks, honey, infused oils and coffee. They also make candles and handmade soaps. Some unique favorites are Organic Blueberry Lavender Preserves, Organic Strawberry Basil Preserves, and Wild Blackberry Shiraz Preserves. Eighty percent of Food for Thought’s fruit is purchased directly from local Michigan farmers, and a small proportion of the berries are harvested in the wild. The Youngs themselves raise rhubarb, basil, and, beginning in 2005, tomatoes.

Growing, purchasing and preparing local organic foods are part of a broader philosophy for the Youngs. They are committed to not only their own farm but to their community. They offer their staff paid volunteer days, allowing employees to donate time at non-profit organizations. All day-to-day tasks are carried out within the “reduce, reuse, recycle” framework; for example, all food waste is composted and returned to the farm’s soil, and all business stationary, catalogs and office paper are made using tree-free or 100 percent recycled paper. Every year Tim and Kathy donate a percentage of all gross sales to organizations that are working to improve our human and natural environment. In fact, they have never donated less than 100 percent of their profits to date!

Certainly these values are being instilled in 4-year-old Stella and 4-month-old Connor. For her part, Stella is the official taste tester and is in charge of all gift basket awards drawings, and Connor is still finding his niche.

Why have you chosen to produce organic?
It’s philosophical. We are devoted to setting an example of corporate responsibility that takes into consideration the impact of all our decisions on both the human and natural environment. If we cannot leave behind a world as good or better than the present, we do not want to be in business. However, we feel that there are sufficient conscientious customers out there to sustain us and many other companies similar to ours.

What’s your favorite part of being an organic farmer?
All of us derive personal satisfaction from walking softly on this planet.

What’s your least favorite part?
Having to deal with farmers and businesses who claim to be operating organically but are not certified.

Why should people buy organic products instead of other options?
Health, water quality, air quality, sustainability.

What makes your business or products special?
We’re a radically green company that makes high quality (low sugar) gourmet foods marketed as gifts. Many of our preserves are infused with wine and herbs and are very unique.

We are guided by a triple bottom line philosophy that looks beyond just profits. Our bottom line looks to social impact, environmental impact, and the financial impact of all our decisions. In our view a company is not profitable if it does not strive to treat people fairly, with dignity, and strive to be environmentally sustainable.

Where would you like to see your business next year? In 5 years? 10 years?
Moving closer to sustainable production and steady state at about three times our current sales.

Where can customers get your products?
Check out our website at www.giftsthatmatter.com. All our products are available there, plus you can find out if any our gifts are sold at stores near you.

For more information on Food for Thought, visit www.giftsthatmatter.com, email Tim at tim@wildjam.com, or call (888) 935-2748.