“We believe everyone should have access to clean, nutrient-rich, and economical food,” says teen entrepreneur, Connor Hiebel, who was recently awarded a $10,000 grant to help eliminate single-use plastic from his products from the 2022 FedEx® Entrepreneur Fund.
Amelia Island Microgreens was selected as one of 30 entrepreneurs to receive a $10,000 grant through the 2022 FedEx® Entrepreneur Fund, presented by FedEx and HelloAlice.com in collaboration with GenHQ.
The program provides grants to small businesses owned by military-connected entrepreneurs or small business owners with disabilities.
“Covid made 2020 a challenging year, changing how we look at many things, said Christine Heibel, Conner Heibal’s business partner, and mother.
“For many of us, food security became an issue,” said Christina Hiebel. “To meet this and his own personal health challenges, Connor started Amelia Island Microgreens and developed a selection of ‘Ready, Set, Grow!’ kits for people to grow microgreens for themselves and their pets.”
Amelia Island Microgreens is a mother/son-owned business born out of necessity to address Connor’s complex health challenges.
“Connor was born as a ‘failure to thrive child, yet has created a thriving life (although challenging) through good nutritional and mental practices,” explained Christine.
Due to his health, Connor has not been able to attend public school for more than 50% of his school years. He has fluctuated between being medical homebound and homeschooled to fulfill his educational requirements.
“Growing a business has been an amazing educational experience with real-world lessons,” he said.
Having grown microgreens for more than a decade, Connor considers microgreens part of his medicine.
“Microgreens are the most nutritious stage in the life-cycle of a plant, delivering up to 40% more nutritional density than the mature plant,” said Connor.
“Microgreens are eaten live, not weeks or months after they have been harvested, providing enzymes not present in ‘dead’ food.”
Connor has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. At age four he sold a rock to a man (with lessons of supply and demand from his embarrassed mother). He purchased his first lizard at age 6 with money he made from making and selling soy candles.
At the peak of Covid, people around the world all experienced ‘less than desirable’ produce. To help people gain food security, Connor decided to take action to educate and empower people to grow nutrient-rich microgreens. In less than two years, Amelia Island Microgreens has a distribution of more than 4,000 ‘Ready, Set, Grow!’ trays in circulation.
The FedEx Fund will help Amelia Island Microgreens remove single-use plastic from their kits, aligning with their mission to empower people to achieve a healthier lifestyle. The Fund had more than 12,500 applicants. Amelia Island Microgreens was one of 30 applicants chosen.
“We believe every person deserves the opportunity to grow their own food, no matter their physical capabilities, age, or economical situation,” said Connor.
“We believe every family deserves food they can trust. We believe every child deserves to have the confidence to grow their own food and understand food does not come from a store.”
Amelia Island Microgreens kits are available online and at local Florida retail stores: Coastal Cottage, Nassau Health Foods, and Redbones Dog Bakery.
Tamara "Tami" Patzer
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