FEBRUARY 18 QUESTIONS WITH SARA SPERRY
- What is your name?
- What is your occupation?
Founder of FARM to KIDS
- Do you have a “green” memory growing up?
Many. For the first 5 years of my life we did not have electricity, when I was younger I use to be embarrassed by this, now I think it is pretty cool and unique. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small, safe mountain town where my sisters and I were outside exploring all day. Connecting with the environment from a young age gave me a great appreciation and respect and a desire to protecting it. I was very close to my grandfather who had an incredible green thumb and he helped start a great love affair for plants in me. I remember thinking his salads (which all ingredients were grown in his backyard) tasted so much better than what came from the store. And now to be married to a farmer… well it is rather fitting J
- What’s your favorite meal?
I love food so this is a very difficult question. I love Thai food and haven’t met a plant-based dish I didn’t like. Oh, and chocolate…. Dark chocolate.
- Where on the “green scale” do you fall?
As green as I can be for where I am at in life. A couple ways we try and be “green” are: We recycle and reuse as many products as we can. We try and support companies who are environmentally conscious. We eat organic (and local) when ever possible. We use natural cleaning products and essential oils in our home. At dinner time we use cloth napkins (a tradition adopted from my grandparents) I am pleased California banned plastic bags in grocery stores and recently was excited to find kitchen waste bags made from potatoes. This fall we organized a river clean up, was a success and pulled several trash cans full of garbage out of the river. It was wonderful to include children in this clean up, not once did any of them say, “why are we doing this? We didn’t make this mess.” We seek out and try to make efforts to be greener everyday.
- What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is donation day. Having the opportunity to get our healthy family grown almonds into the hands of children is what it is all about. I love connecting with the children how this food item is grown, how it helps them to grow, and most importantly letting them know that they are important. The most challenging part is knowing that for many of these children our almonds may be the healthiest thing they will eat all day.
- Where do you turn for your news?
I read my news online from as many diverse sources as I can.
- What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next year?
Zero take out containers, will bring our glass containers when dining out.
- What’s your favorite book?
Too many to list! My most recent favorite reads are: “The Responsible Company” + “Let My People Go Surfing” by Yvone Chouinard. “Cooked” by Michael Pollan. “Originals” by Adam Grant. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
- What inspired you to continue your family’s almond farming legacy?
My husband is a fifth generation farmer, he enjoys many aspects of farming and the incredible responsibility of growing healthy food for the world. He is always looking for ways to improve in the way it is done. We wanted to give back to the next generation in hopes of “sharing the health” and connecting the consumer (children) to the farmer. When we understand how something works, the efforts it took in making it happen our respect deepens. We need food everyday… throughout the day to fuel our incredible bodies. Food is either the best medicine or a slow poison, we make the choice at every meal. Healthy foods are imperative to health and wellness we are proud to be a part of this particular industry.
- Do you lead a vegan lifestyle?
Mostly, we enjoy plant-based meals most days of the week.
- Can you tell us more about the charitable component of Farm to Kids?
Over the past year we have operated a one-for-one business model. For every pound of Almonds we sell through FARM to KIDS we will donate a pound of Almonds to children in need. We have donated almost 1,000 pounds so far. We recently were granted the 501c3 nonprofit status, so things will change and we will be in a position to donate even more in 2017.
- For readers who are looking to transition to a more healthy diet, why do you recommend almonds?
Almonds are incredibly healthy and versatile. They can easily be substituted for less-healthier options. Almonds are a great source of protein, fiber, Vitamin E, calcium, and various minerals. Almonds are an easy snack to keep on your desk, in your car, and munch on the go. They help maintain a healthy cholesterol level, strengthen your immune system, improve your skin health and complexion, amongst many other health benefits. You can sneak almonds into every meal increasing your nutritional intake. Plus, almonds taste amazing!
- We love learning about healthy and simple recipes, can you share any we can do with almonds?
Due to their versatility you can add them to pretty much anything you consume. A few of my favorites are:
- Sprouting your almonds is easy and increases their nutritional value and more digestible. Soak ½ c. almonds in filtered water overnight or while you’re at work. Strain & enjoy. This is the way they taste right off the tree during harvest.
- Want to take it a step further and make almond milk?
Soak 1 c. almonds overnight. Strain and rinse. Pour almonds into high powered blender with 3 c. filtered water. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Strain liquid through either cheese cloth or a “nut bag” into a large bowl, make sure to squeeze all liquid from remaining meal. Pour milk into a 32 oz. Mason jar and store in refrigerator. I have added a couple drops (go easy) of vanilla extract and even a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- What to do with the remaining meal? I make Almond Cheese… you can find recipes on our website or elsewhere online. I promise it is easy and delicious!! One cup of almonds can give you three cups of milk and enough cheese to entertain and impress your friends. I also love adding almonds to all my smoothies, smoothie bowls, baking, salads, etc.
- We love your packaging – can you tell us why mason jars?
Reusability. I love the history of Mason Jars and their use over the years preserving healthy foods. I love the transparency of the glass jars and what it represents.
- What’s next for Farm to Kids?
With receiving our nonprofit status, we will move away from selling almonds and focus more on donations and education. We hope to donate a 25 pound box per week to a child-based organization. While also providing a 30-45 min. learning activity on the lifecycle of almonds, the importance of eating healthy, the joys of getting outdoors and using your body.
- If there were one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?
- What do you want Farm to Kids and your personal legacy to be?
For the FARM to KIDS legacy we hope that children will remember that the people who grow their food care about them. We value them, their health and their wellbeing and that they are important. We hope to inspire others to think about what they put into not only their bodies but what they feed their children. I hope to inspire people to be conscious with their purchasing. I hope to inspire people to get back outside and get back into the kitchen. We can live our lives for ourselves and our immediate circle… or we can live with a “it takes a village” mentality.