Sara wanted to see improvements in the food industry, particularly because of the way food impacts the lives of people around the world. She began by working in government and policy on agricultural and international trade issues. Through this work, she realized that most of the world lives on one to two dollars a day, with their primary income being from agriculture. She could see that changes needed to be made, but she also recognized that they wouldn't all happen on the policy level. So, she attended business school, and learned about how change can happen through business.
She had always felt drawn towards Africa, and eventually she found TechnoServe, a nonprofit that promotes business solutions to poverty in the developing world. Working with small farmers in Zimbabwe, she learned about the risks that the farmers were taking to grow price-volatile commodity crops like wheat and corn.
"I understood agriculture from a big picture policy perspective, but to be in a less developed country where people are making only one or two dollars a day, it kind of brought everything together," she shared, "In the US there are safety nets in place with feed programs, banks, and credits- here, they didn't have that."
Then, Sara learned about potentially high value foods that were wild harvested, including the the Baobob tree. Little known outside of Africa, the fruit from these thousand year old trees simply falls to the ground. It is not only super sustainable with virtually non-existent investments costs for the harvesters, it is also an amazing source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. She decided to start Bumbleroot, in order to create a market for this hidden gem, and provide an additional source of income for agricultural producers in Zimbabwe. It started with an idea, and with the help of friends, and lots of brainstorming, Sara has been able to grow it into something amazing.
"We've grown by finding passionate people who are willing to give or contribute skills with the talents they're best at. We recognized the importance of following trends, having great designs and tells a story that matters. From how it is made without any artificial flavors to limiting packaging waste, we are trying to create the best company we can, that is sustainable across the board."
Bumbleroot's goal is to help our health, increase our energy, and change our quality of life. The next year has many exciting milestones to come. From bringing on full time employees, to the release of new items, Sara is hoping to create a full food brand with unique products and sustainable ingredients, delivered straight to your door. Soon, we can look forward to items such as new drink mix flavors, loose leaf teas, honey sticks, and snack bites. The goal with these products being to encourage people to eat healthy and sustainably, but also be able to incorporate these products into their everyday recipes. Through diversity, we can make our plates more interesting, and our planet healthier!
Social media plays a big role in the company's growth ability to spread their mission through people spreading the word how to use the products, sharing recipes, and engaging in a community. "I love the opportunity to engage, behind this company is a real person," Sara shared, "I used to cringe when we would get a negative comment on social media, but I've realized often that if it is a true concern and we are able to address it, they become a true customer... We will also be making videos in Africa soon, including a sort of pen pal program between harvesters and consumers. It is extremely important for us to connect people here, to the people that are actually doing the growing and harvesting. There is room to help each other out, as much buying local is good, but there are things that we can't get here in the United States. This is an opportunity to diversifying our diets, eat wild, live wild. There is a disconnection with how our food is grown.
"If you if you look at processed food, eighty percent of the calories come from wheat, soy, and corn- mono crops and big food. If we start by trying to learn about and incorporate new ingredients, there is more opportunity for farmers and harvesters to make money from these wild-growing crops."