Boulder is home to nationally established natural food companies, including Justin’s nut butter company, Celestial Seasonings and Boulder Brands, a public company that owns brands including Earth Balance, Smart Balance and Glutino.
All of these veterans “nourish the ecosystem with experienced workers,” says Kapsalis. The group features classes to teach more resourceful nutrition entrepreneurs topics including how to get certified both organic and gluten-free, as well as food safety and processing.
Kaspalis says there is a natural progression that most organic food producers in Boulder are making. Many, including Justin Gold of Justin, start at the Boulder County Farmers Market, where they test products and get instant feedback from customers. They will then travel to one of Boulder’s independent natural grocery stores and eventually Whole Foods and other national chains.
Cindy Jones, founder of Colorado Aromatics, began selling her leather products at farmers’ markets. “I think it’s a really good impact,” she says. Jones makes soaps, lotions, scrubs, balms and essential oils using the herbs she grows on her farm. In 2014, she opened a small store in Longmont, Colorado, a city located northeast of Boulder.
While Boulder is brimming with natural food brands, Capsalis says the community is collaborative rather than competitive because the companies share similar values.