The Providence Granola Project specializes in creating delicious granola bars with a mission. Founder Keith Cooper and co-founder Geoff Gordon began operating their granola business which doubles as a vehicle for job training back in 2008.
The Providence Granola Project not only creates healthy, gourmet granola products for consumers, but provides essential transitional work-life skills for refugees who come to the United States and resettle in Rhode Island.
The Granola Project has now grown into a nonprofit organization that uses business innovation to provide jobs and services for refugees being resettled in the Providence Rhode Island area from all over the world. Cooper and Gordon said the name was inspired, in part, by U2’s song Beautiful Day.
“Our primary mission is the people we work with. Their lives were shattered and they are rebuilding them one day at a time,” says Cooper. The goal is to provide work in the kitchen for refugees who would be unlikely to get a job within the next year.
When the granola company became a nonprofit in 2013, Cooper was hired on as the Executive Director and Gordon joined the board of directors. Cooper has a Masters in Fine Art as a creative writer from Ohio University and Gordon has a Masters in Business Administration from Bryant University.
The Phoenix Healthy Food Examiner encountered The Granola Project at the July 2014 Refugee Highway Partnership Conference in Phoenix Arizona. The conference raised awareness about the growing needs and current issues the world is facing with the huge increase of displaced refugees abroad. The United States currently accepts more refugees for resettlement than any other country. In Providence Rhode Island alone, about 8,000 refugees have been resettled over the years.
In a July interview, Keith Cooper was asked to talk about the health benefits and ingredients inside those famous “Beautiful Bars.” “We wanted a bar that didn’t just taste amazing, but made you feel full, and satisfied. We use natural sweeteners, the ingredients are all-natural, nothing is genetically modified. We use ground organic coconut which may increase metabolism and lots of nuts. We choose all of our ingredients thinking about the health benefits,” says Cooper.
The theory behind The Providence Granola Project’s delicious bars is to develop a gluten-free product that’s made with nuts, whole grains, honey and all-natural ingredients. There are already several different flavors of Beautiful Bars: Original, Mochaccino Hazelnut, Salted Mango Pomegranate, Pistachio Cardamom, and more are coming for the holiday season. To learn more about other granola products available for purchase visit http://www.providencegranola.com.
Proceeds from sales made by The Providence Granola Project will help fund the refugee training programs provided by the Beautiful Day Rhode Island’s mission. Purchase a Beautiful Bar today to support the mission at http://www.providencegranola.com.
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Twitter - @provgranola
Editor: Keith Cooper, Executive Director and Founder