Congratulations to Our 2016 Participants!

Introducing the 10 Nature Based Businesses in our Spring 2016 Program


Baqua Brands is a Kentucky family business that has developed a line of delicious ancient grain beverages.  Our inspiration came from research on the original strength drink–barley water–which was consumed by the Ancient Greeks.  All of Baqua’s flavors contain more body replenishing electrolyes than leading sports drinks.  The time is right for a nutritious drink that will delight your taste buds and restore your strength.

Blue Ridge Hemp Company is a cosmeceutical/neutraceutical company out of Asheville, NC concentrated on producing and distributing Hemp derived CBD (Cannabidiol) based natural care products. Our mission is to aid in filling the gap in treatment of chronic pain affecting over 100 million Americans. Inspired by Nature. Guided by Science.

Cache Foods raises awareness of food streams disposing of nutrients that can be consumed, and is launching with avocado seed nutrition bites that are healthy, delicious, and convenient; showing the sustainability potential of food by-products.  Much of the food in the United States is being thrown away, with trends of food waste being transformed into animal feeds, fertilizers, or other food products.  Cache Foods furthers this trend and utilizes products that are considered unwanted or inedible (to humans) and removes this misnomer.

  Common Grounds is locally owned by the McCreary family. It started in 1992 as just a local coffee shop and has grown into the largest locally owned coffee business in Lexington. Besides the 3 stores, Common Ground’s has a warehouse facility where coffee is roasted fresh every week and  the warehouse is where the majority of the food products are made in the company’s commercial kitchen. The warehouse is also where other local Kentucky coffee shop owners come to purchase coffee shop products like DaVinci syrups, Gheradelli chocolate and of course freshly roasted coffee.

The Farm Cart is a local food distribution company that started in the Upstate of South Carolina. Started by Chad Manaton, a farmer who saw a need for distribution and marketing for local farmers and producers.  Later, Lee Sherman joined Chad to focus on the marketing and distribution of the products.
Their goal is to bring healthy locally grown produce, humanely procured meats, and fresh dairy products to the Upstate’s restaurants and homes.

Founded in 2012, Heartland Chia is a farmer owned company that provides the opportunity for farmers in in many states to grow chia.
Our goal is to provide farmers a better opportunity growing chia and provide a safe, reliable supply of U.S. grown chia in both non-gmo and organic. We encourage our growers to use sustainable and environmentally sound agricultural practices. Heartland is currently selling food-grade U.S. grown chia and is working to quickly scale up production in multiple locations.

Established in 2010, and located in Lexington, KY, Nourish Body + Botanicals offers individual mind-body health consultations and skillfully blended herbal medicines and aroma-therapeutic botanical perfumes. Products are made with organic and ethically wildcrafted plant materials and formulated by professional aromatherapist and clinical herbalist Nishaan Sandhu.

River Hill Ranch supports living simply, with quality over quantity, conscious of how our decisions affect the world. We support this purpose with our herd of 80 Suri alpacas which provide sustainable clothing, red meat, and other by-products. We open our ranch for public tours to introduce our curious creatures and educate others about growing sustainable clothes.

Sweetgrass Granola is an all natural, hand crafted granola lightly sweetened with Kentucky grown Sorghum Cane Syrup & Wildflower Honey. We use local, organic, and non-gmo ingredients. We avoid the use of preservatives, wheat, and refined sugars.

Village Trough is a worker-owned cooperative farm to table mobile food business home based in Berea, Kentucky. A location has been secured and plans are underway to renovate and open a brick and mortar restaurant & live music venue in the Old Town Artisan Village shopping and cultural district.
Village Trough’s mission is to strengthen the economic, environmental and social well being of our community by reconnecting people with local food sources, hosting and encouraging community events and utilizing a democratic business structure.