began after a late night, a few beers, and a couple of good friends asking a question: what might help newly-arrived international refugees start rebuilding their lives in Providence? The answer: artisanal granola, of course.
Let’s face it, granola is just about the perfect food—wholesome, natural, mysterious, deep. And when it tastes this good, we figured why shouldn’t it help a few people along the way?
When Amos House (our local homeless shelter and soup kitchen) offered us kitchen space, we incorporated as The Providence Granola Project, LLC (in February, 2008) and began hiring refugees from places like Burundi, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Iraq. Our very first summer our granola won a "Best of Rhode Island" award and some of Rhode Island's premier restaurants started putting us on their menu. Over the last couple years our project has progressed from an after-work hobby to a company that ships granola across the 50 states and is well on its way to becoming Rhode Island's premier granola maker.
So far, 18 refugees and 2 non-refugees from other at-risk populations have moved through the company into the larger job market, even as the company has grown to revenue of 100K (2012) and 7 part-time employees. As of Jan 1, 2013 the Granola Project has transferred ownership to Beautiful Day, a non-profit that shares its mission and seeks to expand its scope.