Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Made by FoodCorps Alumni

Holiday shopping season is upon us, and we’re excited to share with you our very first FoodCorps Alumni Gift Guide!

Below, we’ve gathered an assortment of small businesses and initiatives led by alumni of FoodCorps’ service program, as well as some info about each alum behind the scenes. Gift a friend or loved one a soothing herbal tea blend, a local cider subscription, or handmade artwork made by our amazing FoodCorps alums. Support them this holiday season and all year round! 

If you know of a FoodCorps alumni-owned business, or you’re a FoodCorps alum and would like to be added to this list, please email Ro Li at   

Small Batch Detroit

Small Batch Detroit 

Jen Rusciano (MI ‘ 12, ‘13) 

“Our students at the Detroit Food Academy make awesome holiday gift boxes featuring youth-made granola bars and jams, all using Michigan produce! We ship across the country!” 

Food Earth Birth


Andrea Abc Blanton (GA ‘15)

“FOOD EARTH BIRTH is a small company rooted in earth-based services including small seasonal catering, herbal tea ceremony, and natural birth work. While honoring the earth, we center on environmental sustainability and local economy.”

Allium BotanicalsAllium Botanicals

Neo Mazur (IA ‘13)

“Jewelry inspired by seeds, plants, people & their stories.” 

NW Cider Club
Northwest Cider Club

Emily Ritchie (OR ‘12)

“The Northwest Cider Club offers the country’s best craft cider from more than 100 independent cidermakers, from the Bitterroot Valley in Montana to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the famed orchards of the Wenatchee region in Washington state.”

Awesome Acres

Katie Neskey (MT ‘13)  

“Awesome Acres sell herbal tea blends that we grow and mix on our farm in Montana. We’re a (very) small family business. Larry grows the goods. Katie makes the spreadsheets. Oscar & Felix keep us on our toes. Our farm is located in Western Montana on the traditional lands of the Selis (Bitterroot Salish), Qlispe (Pend ‘dOreille), and Ktunaxa Ksanka (Kootenai) Peoples. Currently, 5% of our online sales go to Montana BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Mutual Aid and we hope to increase that amount as we continue to grow.”

Egret and the Rhino

Amanda Chin (MA ‘14, ‘15)

“Based in Philly, Amanda is a mixed-heritage hoisanese + assyrian + white, queer maker. Lover of fiber arts, book arts, gardens, ceramic, trees, mixed-media, and folk arts.”

Sun in SorrowSun in Sorrow 

Bexx Merck (GA ‘16, ‘17)

Sun in Sorrow started out of a desperate attempt to mend an uptick in sleepless nights and anxious days, something all too many of us are familiar with. Bexx sought to craft a blend that could promote sleep and anxiety reduction – it made all the difference. What was a personal journey grew into a hobby which ultimately bloomed into a deep passion for herbs and the ways in which they can support the human body- emotions and all… We encourage you to take some time and explore the blends we currently offer and see what might be right for you! It’s time to get reconnected.”

Superior SwitchelSuperior Switchel

Melina Lamer (CT ‘14)

“Our owner and founder Melina, a former college hockey player, first started brewing switchel in her dorm room as a means to replenish and rehydrate after a night on the ice. After graduating college, she was persuaded to sell her switchel at a local, Minnesota farmers market. When she couldn’t keep up with the demand, she decided to turn her passion for sustainable food and waterway conservation into a business. Now, Melina’s switchel can be found in select retailers all over the United States! The Superior line of ready-to-drink switchel beverages are botanically brewed with Non-GMO, Certified Organic, and Certified Vegan ingredients from US farmers and 1% of all sales support the Great Lakes and waterways.” 

Harmony House EssentialsHarmony House Essentials

Kiana Miller (NY ‘20, DC ‘21)

“Harmony House Essentials is dedicated to creating a peaceful space for you, wherever you are. We deliver natural and sustainable products to our buyers at an affordable price. Set the mood and create a relaxing vibe on a budget.”

Nekko WellnessNekko Wellness

Tasia Yamamura (HI ‘14, ‘15)

“Nekko (根っこ). Root, foundation, origin, source. Weaving together plants from two island nations (Hawaiʻi + Japan), Nekko Wellness is a reflection of the diasporic experience of the herbalist behind it. Nekko’s botanical products tell the story of the landscape from which our herbs are grown and gathered. We currently offer tinctures (steeped in therapeutic-grade distillations), nourishing facial serums, and skin-soothing salves and prioritize incorporating locally-sourced ingredients that are cultivated through Earth-aligned practices. Our intention is to serve as a reminder that our ancestral rootedness to the Earth is medicine in itself. May we work towards healing our bodies, spirits, communities, lands, and waters so that we can collectively rise and own our power.”

ShadowBrook FarmShadowBrook Farm

Wally Graeber (DC ‘15)

“ShadowBrook Farm & Dutch Girl Creamery share our farmstead products through a seasonal vegetable and cheese CSA in Lincoln, Nebraska. Our herd of 200 goats are milked and made into farmstead cheese, yogurt, and kwark. Heading into the holidays, we are starting to ship our cheeses nationally! Wally Graeber currently volunteers in assisting with cheese distribution and is expanding into a land management role.


Janeece Johnson (CA ‘19, ‘20)

“Colorado artists Janeece Johnson and Stacy King founded lovelevel with a simple mission in mind: to lovingly create lightweight jewelry that brings you closer to nature.”


Rosanne Placencia-Knepper (NY ‘17)

“Cumpanis was founded in the South Bronx with a mission to empower and re-connect communities to real foods. We facilitate cooking, health, and food-systems workshops  through interactive hands-on classes that cultivate community.”


Kelsey Ioannou (OR ‘19, ‘20)

“Handmade earrings, mala beads, and reusable fabric produce bags for all your fruit & veggie needs! Hand-drawn botanical greeting cards also coming in January 2021.”