Hi folks, it’s Spiffy, and I’m back with the scoop on Earth’s entrepreneurial leaders. As the only Interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Tony Cisneros, founder of Mesa Foods and co-founder of Mesa Victuals LLC.
Spiffy: Howdy Tony! I’m super curious to hear about the challenges you’re addressing!
Tony: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! At Mesa Victuals we envision a sustainable, inclusive food system that inspires an appreciation of nature. Practically, we work to accomplish this by creating sustainable food products for outdoor adventurers. There's a lot wrong with our food system today. Unsustainable farming practices lead to soil loss, labor abuse, and less nutritious (and flavorful!) foods. We're working to correct these issues by sourcing sustainable products and building relationships with farms that care for the earth.
Spiffy: That sounds amazing! Can you tell me about your motivation to get behind this?
Tony: I started Mesa because of my own experiences backpacking in Colorado. Most of the backpacking foods on the market today are unhealthy and often disappointing. I saw an opportunity to improve the flavors, diversity, and quality of foods made for backpacking, while also providing support to farmers and suppliers who are practicing core planetary health principles.
Spiffy: How do you think Mesa Foods will help create a more equitable world?
Tony: I love this question! We're working towards a more equitable world in three major ways. First, as I've mentioned, we are working with suppliers and farms to buy sustainably grown ingredients harvested with fair labor practices. Second, we intentionally designed our products with diversity in mind, using global flavor profiles in order to encourage more groups to get outdoors. Finally, we give back 1% of our profits to land conservation organizations in the regions our flavors are from.
Spiffy: And I love your answer, Tony! What about about a recent milestone, do you have any you can share?
Tony: Yes, Spiffy, we're in the process of hiring a sustainability analyst who will work with us to get B Corporation certified. We are already incorporated as a public benefit corporation, which allows us to prioritize our social and ecological values alongside profits. Receiving B Corp certification will add recognition and credibility to our claims because we have to report back on our impact and submit to auditing requirements.
Spiffy: Have you ever had an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up? What did you learn from failure?
Tony: When I first started out on Mesa, I intended to create a different type of product for backpackers. But after several focus groups and some market research, I realized my initial concept wasn't going to work. Instead of giving up, my co-founder and I worked together to better understand backpackers’ needs and wants, and how we could bridge that gap. We now have a product we're really excited to introduce to backpackers across the country!
Spiffy: I can’t wait to jump on that bridge and try some Mesa Food! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with me, Tony! It’s been an honor.
Tony Cisneros is the co-founder of Mesa Victuals LLC and a graduate student at Yale University, pursuing an MBA and a Master of Environmental Management. Tony works on applied land management related to food systems and outdoor recreation. His experience includes work with the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy Colorado, and his own outdoor nutrition company. (Nominated by Inclusion Network)