For a long time, I’ve been interested in how our food systems and production influence the ways we eat and think about food. When I was laid off my from job as a nuclear medicine technologist, I became more involved with the Dearborn Sustainability Coalition, a local organization focused on promoting sustainable practices in all aspects of our community to protect our health and our environment. I began making my vegan, organic mac ‘n’ cheeze, Veggie Mac, for our bimonthly potluck meetings and it was a big hit!
Not only did folks like the taste, they felt good eating a dish that was sustainable. Veggie Mac is vegetable based, which means it uses less land and water than a traditional animal based macaroni and cheese dish. As I learned more about our local food systems, Day to Day Fresh Frozen Foods was born. I wanted to share my Veggie Mac with the masses and I wanted to become a social entrepreneur with a Triple Bottom Line business (people, planet, THEN profit). I’ve seen the local food movement in and around Detroit growing, and I wanted to be a part of it with Day to Day Fresh Frozen Foods and Veggie Mac.
Day to Day Fresh Frozen Foods was born after the popularity of Veggie Mac at Dearborn Sustainability Coalition meetings and various social gatherings. Veggie Mac is an organic, non-dairy version of mac ‘n’ cheese made with Michigan-sourced spelt wheat noodles and a vegan “cheeze” sauce. The “cheeze” sauce is dairy free, made from a mix of vegetables and cashews.
Day to Day Fresh Frozen Foods, LLC is a food production business with a triple-bottom line model for which Veggie Mac will be the flagship product. The triple-bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit is a holistic approach to business development that prioritizes community health and environmental sustainability alongside financial health. In general, organic produce is more nutrient dense than pesticide grown food and a plant-based diet requires fewer resources to produce. To that end, Day to Day Fresh Frozen Foods, LLC is intended to promote healthier people and communities and a healthier environment. I would like my products to be the vegan organic option on the menu in Southeastern Michigan by targeting small local markets, lunch counter restaurants, bars, as well as mail order options like Door to Door Organics.
Being part of the local food community is important to me. In 2014, I graduated from FoodLab Detroit’s BASE program, which was 12 weeks of good food business development. In 2015, I completed the Build Basics Business Plan Class. Out of that learning, I have gained the tools and understanding to be proactive toward making my food a commercial product, developing my packaging and nutritional labeling, and navigating the process for obtaining my food license. I am proud to be building a triple-bottom line business that focuses on people’s health and environmental sustainability as part of remaining financially viable.
After researching and testing my product, I’m ready to take Veggie Mac to the market and I am working on getting my packaging, labelling, and licensing in place.
To move conversations to action with potential distributors (including Fresh Corner Cafe), the $5,000 loan will cover 1) consultation with Food Scientist to test for food safety, 2) all associated costs with receiving my wholesale food processor license and rental costs of commercial production space. Once licensing is secured, the remainder of the loan will help me purchase necessary packaging and labels, as well as accounting software.