Hidden in the woods outside of Honor, Michigan is a company doing good and making good. Food for Thought uses “local ingredients first” to produce high quality preserves, jams, sauces, dressings, and juices—among other things. Timothy Young (Founder, President, and Chef) started as an avid home canner and gardener, which evolved into this amazing opportunity as private label packer and the Food for Thought brand. In 1994, Young started an organic food catering business in his home and it is that kitchen that launched him into this business of working with more than fifty companies aiding in their commercial success.
Young created his home out of entirely recycled materials, which turned into all of the structures included in Food for Thought being “Green Buildings”. That means, Young used all native Michigan woods, no construction glues, all surfaces are unfinished so that the structure can “breath,” recycled content, and all structures are very conscious of energy recovery.
Not only is the production very conscious, but Young goes one step further with his Food for Thought branded products. All of his personal jams, preserves, sauces, etc. are certified organic, fair trade, and gluten-free. Young explains, “Of all regulatory regimes, organic is the most rigorous and I have a high level of confidence in those products.”
Since 2006, each summer in the meadows behind the production building, Food for Thought sponsors Green Cuisine. This is a space generated to promote real connections to the food and products consumed. There are twenty to thirty vendors with wines, beers, foods, and other local products open to public consumption. The event has been hugely successful, and vendors are on a waiting list to participate. It’s a local-centric event, with minimal promotion, and 750 to 1000 participants. In the “green” theme, they try to keep waste at a minimum. (Only six ounces with those nearly 1000 guests!)
It is a policy in all the products Food for Thought creates to buy locally first and preferably items from the wild; from there they try to buy regionally. Essentially, they are out to help the Mitten! As a last resort, they import items like raspberries and apricots that seem to be a hot commodity. The company is constantly donating product to help out local events and participating in uplifting the community. There is unlimited potential in the four seasons of Michigan, and Young says, “I think this is one of the best places in the world to live.”
Young has an educational background in political science and has concentrated greatly in human relief work. During his studies in Central America, he was confronted with a lot of disparity and hopes that his work exemplifies that. With this understanding, Young was focused on a company dedicated to having one of the first fair trade certified jams and promoting domestic fair trade. He and another local business owner began On the Ground that focuses on fair trade and developing farming communities.
Check out all of the truly awesome things Food for Thought is doing online and on Facebook! ~Joanna Dueweke, Regional Director