The concept is to develop a non-profit company that will provide employment for adults with and without special needs and/or physical disabilities.  The company will grow, harvest, package and distribute herb-related products using an integrated workforce. To produce herbs for distribution, the process is a fairly manual and routine process that works well for a workforce with varying abilities.  

Why herbs?

Initially, the crops will consist of herbs for two reasons:  1) herbs are fairly easy to grow and 2) herbs have a good profit margin.  In grocery stores, small packages of herbs that contain product for only one or two meals are priced between $1.99 and $3.99.  The concept was developed from personal experience with growing an herb garden that produced bushels of herbs that were given away to neighbors each year.  Just from the very small garden plot (2’ x 8’), the crops would have yielded hundreds if not thousands of dollars based on grocery store pricing.  The product could easily be competitively priced – in fact possibly priced lower than the competition – and still have a substantial profit margin.   

Why people with different abilities?

Currently, there are limited employment opportunities both domestically and abroad for adults with special needs or physical disabilities. Without employment opportunities, adults with different abilities utilize more state and government funded services.  People with different abilities are very capable of employment if given a chance. 

Why include university and high school students?  

An arrangement that includes university and high school students can provide unlimited opportunities for research, observation, work-study, assistantship positions, and most of all, exposure to the value of people who are differently-abled. This interaction will hopefully change perceptions as the students move forward in life and have their own children.  Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Stillwater High School eventually can “mentor” other communities throughout the state or nation, which would create even more employment opportunities for workers with varying abilities as well as increase exposure to the value of an integrated workforce and how various disciplines can contribute to the process.  

Product Description

The company name and packaging reflects the special effort that goes into the process – Flavor for herbs, Abilities for the "everyone can if given a chance" approach. The product will be herbs that are packaged and/or labeled in a way that differentiate it from other similar products in the marketplace. The label will inspire customers to purchase the product not only for a fresh, locally grown product for themselves, but also to know that they are simultaneously helping others.  

Target Market

The product will be sold primarily in boutique grocery stores, at farmer's markets, and to Made In Oklahoma products that use herbs in their product development. Additional sales opportunities exist in the restaurant and food services market.  The charitable "non-profit" component should make it easy to sell in the region especially since most herbs currently come from "for-profit" companies in other areas like California or Central America. This concept fits well with the state’s initiatives relative to Oklahoma economy – both in developing a new business and in providing an viable option to reduce state-funded resources for adult services. 

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