I’m Tim, the founder and CEO of The Philosopher’s Stoneground. We create stone ground nut butters that nourish people and planet.
When I was 25, I lived in a cooperative house in Davis, California. We were part of a beautiful neighborhood with community gardens, vineyards, and orchards.
I fed the chickens, made communal meals with my housemates, and worked a salaried job at an environmental non-profit. Life was relaxing, nourishing, and fulfilling!
And then one day, I was unexpectedly laid off. Gazing at the almond tree outside my bedroom window, I wondered how I would make money in a way that aligned with my values. I reflected on three of the main threads in my life: being an eater, thinker, and activist.
As an eater, I underwent a remarkable journey, from working at Arby’s in high school and loving my 5 for $5 roast beef sandwich deal with curly fries and milkshake, to becoming a raw vegan in college, existing on rainbow salads and nut butters.
As a thinker, I wrote my college thesis in environmental philosophy, asserting that humans could actually benefit the planet by modeling our food systems on ecosystems.
As an activist, I traveled the world for a year after college on a fellowship studying Permaculture. Permaculture is a design method that uses nature as a model for human systems. I was inspired by seeing food forests that abundantly fed people and animals with a diversity of crops all grown together, rather than in monocultures.
What would allow me to weave these threads of my life into an offering that would pay the bills?
While I sat with this question, I began studying to be a holistic health coach and re-learned the health benefits of sprouting. Sprouting makes food sweeter, more digestible, and more nutritious. This reminded me of my raw vegan days and inspired me to sprout and dehydrate some almonds.
When they were dry, I tasted their warm delicious crunchiness and thought: this would make an incredible sprouted almond butter! I ground the almonds up, and indeed it was the most delicious almond butter I had ever tasted.
I shared some with my housemates, who told me: “Dude. This is the best almond butter ever. You need to make this a business!” I thanked them for their enthusiasm, but reminded them I was deep in an existential search for my vocation.
I continued making the sprouted almond butter for myself and my housemates, refining and perfecting the recipe. Shortly thereafter, I learned about the passage of the California Homemade Food Act. I realized that this law would make it easy for me to start my own business in my home kitchen.
One day, my housemate Morgan asked me: “Would you rather see more clients, or sell more jars of almond butter?” As I contemplated his provocative question, he shoved a wad of cash in my hand and demanded, “Dude, I want to buy your almond butter!” This got my attention.
Then one night, after a year of inquiry, I received a vision that put my vocation quest to an end. The Philosopher’s Stoneground emerged as the perfect platform to weave the defining threads of my life into a viable business with world-changing potential.
My nut butter company would teach people about the importance of sprouted food. The company would buy ingredients from food forests, creating an economic engine for regenerative agriculture. Profits from the company would help establish more regenerative orchards and spread a new model of agriculture that would nourish all Life.
I saw how the flourishing of the microbes in the soil contributed to the flourishing of the plants, which contributed to the flourishing of the animals and humans that ate those plants, which resulted in a thriving community of organisms within a thriving ecosystem.
I experienced rolling chills throughout my body. It was a lucid and vivid Eureka moment that resonated with so much truth and power, I was called to change the course of my life to begin this endeavor.
I started manifesting this new expression of my life’s work the very next day. That was over five years ago, and I haven’t stopped since.
Our house became the first certified Cottage Food Operation in Yolo County. On Earth Day, I announced to local listservs that I was selling ecologically produced sprouted almond butter. I received $500 worth of orders, which never stopped rolling in. I started selling at local farmer’s markets, festivals, and grocery stores.
In less than two months, I had outgrown the home kitchen. Over the course of two years, I moved my operation from the back room of a local restaurant, to a tiny commercial kitchen in Berkeley, and finally into our own dedicated facility in Santa Cruz. We continue to operate there today as we accelerate to our next level.
Little did I know that the seeds of the almond tree outside my bedroom window would play a central role in me helping me prove my college thesis through my own ecological enterprise. Most importantly, our products demonstrate the incredibly delicious nature of regenerative agriculture, helping to tell this win-win-win story!
I hope that our products holistically nourish your mind, body, and spirit, and that our company story inspires you to manifest magic in your life and the world.