Practicing sustainable organic food production
Note: Alex Cunningham was a Keller Pathway Fellow in 2019/20. This interview was conducted in winter 2020.
Alex Cunningham earned his a B.S. in business managerial economics at UC Davis.
In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.
An organic fast restaurant chain called Fresh Bowls. We serve bowls, wraps and salads that contain organic and minimally processed ingredients that are warm and invigorating.
What’s important about your research or project—and where do you hope to take it?
Supporting sustainable food production practices such as organic, bio-dynamic and regenerative farming not only massively improves the nutritional profile our food but supports the health of the planet.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
Supporting farming practices that are maximally healthy and sustainable.
What was the most important thing you learned at the Entrepreneurship Academy?
I learned about the power of talking through my entrepreneurial ideas with peers and mentors to challenge my assumptions and to create a plan to take steps forward.
What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?
A mentor told me that the project I was working on had huge potential but because it was capital-intensive, they said I needed to focus on rigorous product testing and a clear plan of how I would scale the business.
Briefly describe your Big Bang! project/venture. How is participation in the Big Bang! workshops and competition helping you an aspiring entrepreneur?
A CBD relaxation shot called Powerful Yin. It’s an organic blend of turmeric, ginger, reishi, black pepper and hemp-derived CBD. It has the potential to supplementally support relaxation, body aches and sleep of millions of people as a safe, powerful and widely available supplement. I hope for it to be at the checkout stand of stores nationwide.
The Big Bang! has reinforced lessons learned in the Entrepreneurship Academy to better understand how to develop my venture, thus increasing my chances of success.
The Keller Pathway Fellowship Program specifically supports women, cross-disciplinary researchers and other underrepresented university-based entrepreneurs. Do you have any insight, experience or concern you’d like to share?
I am impressed by the level of diversity and diversity-empowering conversations.
How will your experiences as a Keller Pathway Fellow help you to change the world?
I’ve been given the tools and experiences that allow me to better evaluate projects/ventures and to create action plans to take steps forward. Not to mention the many valuable new connections I’ve made with mentors, peers and program leaders that support me on my journey!