StartupGNV connects local entrepreneurs to the people they want to meet and some “who you don’t know you should,” for the promotion of the Gainesville start-up community. The vast mentor network helps ideas grow and businesses reach milestones faster through exposure, capital, knowledge and experience. Here, we highlight one of the many businesses we’ve helped guide.
aha Pure Foods is a local, plant-based soup company centered on the philosophy that food should serve as the ultimate form of medicine. The company’s intention is to provide delicious, nourishing, and environmentally conscious soups utilizing the world’s most powerful plant foods.
Founders Chef Alfie Crescentini and Naturopath Wayne Garland, began at the Haile Plantation Farmers market two years ago with one goal in mind: inspire people to live healthier lives. With the firm belief that healing begins in the gut, where 80% of your immune system lives, Wayne combined his thirty years of research on plant foods’ ability to combat disease with Chef Alfie’s culinary expertise to incorporate some of the world’s most powerful vegetables, herbs, and spices in a convenient and delicious way. Since launch, aha Pure Foods has expanded to Lucky’s Market, Ward’s, various health food stores and doctors offices across the state of Florida.
The soups are handcrafted locally in small batches using natural ingredients and without artificial flavors, preservatives, added sugars, and common allergens such as dairy, gluten and nuts. Offerings include Fire-Proof, a turmeric and ginger root vegetable blend made to reduce inflammation & joint stiffness, Lucky Bone’s, a plant-based “bone” broth designed to soothe the digestive tract and alkalize the body, Lion’s Mane, a brain-boosting powerhouse full of adaptogenic mushrooms including lion’s mane and reishi, shown to reduce stress and boost cognitive function, and lastly Sweet Chi, a butternut squash bisque incorporated with ingredients designed to promote pancreatic health and weight control including bitter melon and yacon root.
Gainesville’s vibrant and supportive startup community has allowed this small business to thrive. As resident clients at the Innovation Hub, they have had the ability to expand their reach; within the next year, plans are to have aha Pure Foods’ products in every Lucky’s Market within the state of Florida and launch online sales in the upcoming weeks.
Supported and surrounded by local farms, local business, springs, and wildlife, it is easy to feel connected to the earth, our food, and our community in Gainesville. Showing respect for the environment and our ingredients stands as our top priority. aha Pure Foods promotes sustainable practices not only with our packaging, but also through our wholesome soups. All of the soups are sold in glass jars instead of using plastic or aluminum to protect our planet and bodies from chemical toxins. The company encourages people to reuse their jars and send in pictures of how consumers get creative with them, such as buying wholesale nuts, fermenting veggies, or taking overnight oats on the go!
They hope to contribute to this wellness community by encouraging our customers to share their #ahaHealthMoments. This hashtag represents those lightbulb moments that happen on a daily basis, whether its going for a hike in Paynes Prairie, trying out a vegan soup for the first time, or visiting the new Whole Foods.
aha Pure Foods has participated in several StartupGNV events and from there expanded their network. Through StartupGNV, they were featured on television, met their future investors, and found mentors that are still helping the company today.