285: Cyfrin Barefoot on Moving From Poverty to Paleo.
Overcoming poverty and creating a business focused on paleo food products.
Cyfrin’s childhood was rooted in deep poverty in the Detroit ghetto. As an adult, she raised six children and found an avocation of fighting for food justice. She made her living as an organic farmer for seven years, and later founded a non-profit that established and ran a 32-acre organic farm.
Spurred by memories of childhood hunger and informed by years of farming, Cyfrin’s creative instincts came together in the creation of the Free Farms project. She obtained a business degree and then created Savor Tooth Paleo, a gluten-free and paleo bakery. Company profits will be funneled into the acquisition and development of land in impoverished neighborhoods, as well as funding ongoing food production. The fresh organic food produced on these Free Farms will be available to area residents for free.
In This Podcast:
She had a feral childhood in the ghetto of Detroit and entered the foster care system at age 7. Later, as a young mother Cyfrin Barefoot wanted good food for her own children and became an organic farmer. Then, she fought for better food options for poor families and won. And, after a significant and heartbreaking business setback she rebounded to create a health-food business offering delicious foods that fit paleo diet preferences.
Listen in and learn about:
- Raised by a homeless mother in the ghetto of Detroit
- Needing to forage as a young ‘feral’ child
- Going into the system at age 7 and staying there until age 17
- Longing for connection and becoming a mother at 19
- Wanting to feed her daughter and having to figure out her own way
- Being driven enough to get a pre-med degree even though she had not completed high-school
- Changing directions to living off the land with her kids
- Living off grid and falling in love with food, agriculture, and becoming a Master Gardener
- Becoming an organic farmer and being active in local food markets
- Becoming an activist regarding environmental exposures to toxins
- PEACH – People for Environmental Actions for Community Health
- The non-profits that help feed people with less resources
- Starting a grocery store and being able to make a difference
- Being on WIC and trying to get healthier food options
- Dedicating 15 minutes a day to change the WIC program to allow for better foods for her children
- Getting a response from the Director of the State of Washington WIC program and (Another EPIC call out by GREG)
- Winning the right for WIC participants to get organic milk for the first time
- Changing the way she valued herself and telling herself that she mattered
- Finishing school and making a new life plan
- Starting a new business focused on healthy natural foods and a goal to fund a community farm project
- The amazing products with a pumpkin seed base
- Free Farms – a project that provides farms with free food for those who need it
As well as:
Her failure – Starting her grocery store Fresh Abundance without any business training or a good infrastructure
Her success – Learning that HER life mattered, and learning to take care of herself
Her drive – Her desire to do good, and to make other people’s lives better
Her advice – Try to remember to take a little bit of time to check in with yourself
How to reach Cyfrin:
Facebook: Savor Tooth Paleo