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In honor of Mother’s Day, we spoke with Malaika (Owner/Operator: Roots to River Farm), Tina (Founder: Hungry Bird Eats), Kat (Farm Manager: Ironbound Farm), and Laura (Co-founder & COO: Jar Goods) about what it’s like to lead like a mom.
First things first – what’s your go-to snack? (For you, your kid, or both!)
Malaika: Anything I can snack on in the field. Peas, broccoli shoots, sweet peppers. Oradel will try any veggie (or weed) that I give her.
Tina: I love ‘smashed’ avocado spread on crackers (of course!) with some ‘everything-spice’ sprinkled on top.
Kat: Apples and peanut butter!
As a parent in your field of work, what kind of example do you want to set for your child(ren)?
Malaika: Being able to spend the day doing work you're passionate about is not something to take for granted, but something to be grateful for.
Tina: Kids always have hard questions to ask and, as a parent, I think it’s important to try and answer them as best you can, instead of dismissing the question. That’s how kids learn about the world; the positive reinforcement sets the stage for life-long curiosity. As an entrepreneur, it’s a similar process – you continuously question things, and figure it out by asking and giving your best.
Kat: Hard work, the joy of being dirty, patience (waiting for veggies can be hard), responsibility, curiosity, how to nurture…. The list is pretty endless.
Laura: Have a solid work ethic and know that you are offering the best product you can to your customers.
People enter the business world for many reasons – maybe it’s in the family, or they see a need for something they can bring to the table. How did you come to run your own business?
Malaika: I worked on many different farms before starting my own and I wanted to combine all the good things from all those different operations to create my own business. I don't think I succeed all the time but I'm constantly striving to create a healthy place for people to grow, not just crops.
Tina: I was searching for healthy foods that my son could eat and find enjoyable, despite his allergies to soy and nuts. Many available snack foods were heavily processed and contained soy. I saw this great opportunity to make an organic snack product myself, inspired by the natural rye crispbreads (“knekkebrød”) that are common in my home country of Denmark.
Laura: I was very disappointed in the tomato sauce offerings in my grocery store. I knew we had a great product and wanted others to know about it, too.
What about being a mom helps you when it comes to your work?
Malaika: Balance, organization, and empathy. Being a mom has helped me figure out how to prioritize, use my time efficiently, and delegate.
Kat: The mom superpower of being able to pay attention to 10 things at once.
Laura: The ability to multitask and know that you will always put forth the best product… because if it's not your child eating it, it’s someone else’s.