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Seeking a way to transport her senses to Italy and its unique and traditional food flavors, while being far away from her, Adriana Coppola founded  A&A Alta Cucina.

Adriana enjoys developing gourmet Italian foods using recipes and traditions from her family. They use only the freshest and finest ingredients, allowing them to offer the best tasting blending seasonings, infused oils, balsamic vinegars, pestos, tomato sauces and more that you will ever experience so now you can make traditional Italian dishes easily at your in just minutes in a Italian way!

A&A Alta Cucina is a family business that was born in the US in spring 2011. They specialize in Italian gourmet food products inspired by their Italian roots recipes and traditions. Products are ALL NATURAL, without any artificial flavor, color or preservative and they only use the freshest and finest ingredients allowing them to offer the best tasting and high quality blending seasonings, salts, infused extra virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, pestos, tomato sauces and more.

All products are HANDMADE and HAND PACKED in an artisan way using ecofriendly materials and produced in small batches, using old traditions that allow us to put in every single product made, the passion Italians have for their traditions and food.

You can find at www.altacucinaitalia.com more information regarding the company, their products and recipes that will inspire you while cooking with their products at home.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Adrianna_Coppola_podcast.mp3
Category:Food -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Chuck Blethen is President and COB of NCNPA – www.NCNaturalProducts.org. He is owner of Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard in Marshall NC where he specializes in propagating and growing the cold-hardy Katuah Muscadine for sale to the nutraceutical industry – www.JeweloftheBlueRidge.com. Chuck is also VP Public Relations for the French Broad Vignerons LLC, an organization that promotes viticulture as a tool for economic development in the mountain counties of western North Carolina by providing education to the public about growing grapes, making wine, and all of the 150+ value added products that can come from using grapes as a raw material – www.FrenchBroadVignerons.org.

Sarah Oram has spent the past 30 years building and expanding various non-profit organizations around Asheville and beyond.  She sees great economic potential for Western North Carolina if the Blue Ridge Naturally seal can be successfully launched and hopes her experience in marketing great ideas will carry through.

The North Carolina Natural Products Association (NCNPA) was formed over 11 years ago as a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promotion of conserving, cultivating, sustainably harvesting, and processing North Carolina grown medicinal plants. NCNPA's mission is to establish North Carolina as a key global supplier of premium-quality raw materials and plant-based value added products such as natural medicines, organic products, functional foods, and personal care products.

The Blue Ridge Naturally seal program is designed to bring international and national attention to Western North Carolina’s emerging natural products industry.  The Blue Ridge Naturally seal on products emphasizes Western North Carolina’s superior quality in locally grown ingredients and finished natural products . It announces to potential customers an assured level of product safety, tested quality in addition to affiliation with Western North Carolina, a region of distinction in the natural products industry.
I am a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania MBA program.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Chuck_Blethem__Sarah_Oram_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In 1993, Randy and Cindi Beavers realized they would one day inherit her Grandfather’s farm forcing them to choose between selling the farm to land developers or moving there and attempting to make a living. Cindi’s Grandfather had purchased the farm in 1932 and paid for it with a bale of cotton per year so the couple felt they couldn’t place a monetary value on his dedication. There was only one option, move to the farm. Little did they know how that decision would shape their lives.

Twenty years later and after a series of eight Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from USDA and NIH/NCCAM focused on development of sustainable production and processing techniques for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Appendix II listed plant Hydrastis canadensis, aka goldenseal, Randy is considered an authority on the plant and is at the forefront of raising the bar of goldenseal product quality and reliability.

Steve Henson is a marketing professor at Western Carolina University and the Chief Marketing Officer at BotaniPharm.  He began his career working for about five years with GE Capital, then moved to a subsidiary of Ciba-Geigy, now Novartis.  Mid-career, he decided to make the switch to academics and earned his Ph.D. in Marketing from Georgia State University at the ripe young age of 40.  He is a native Appalachian and had a chance to return to the mountains at Western and jumped at it.

BotaniPharm, LLC is the only known 100% grower owned botanical product company in the US. The company specializes in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program certified production and processing of high value, forest grown medicinal plants particularly  endangered/threatened species such as Hydrastis canadensis, aka goldenseal.

The company’s leadership in the area of development of sustainable production and processing methods for endangered/threatened medicinal plants has been recognized by the USDA and the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH/NCCAM) through a series of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards totaling more than $2 million.

Through this work the Company’s Founder developed a paradigm changing method of standardizing goldenseal products to specific levels of biological activity thus assuring repeatable potency regardless of year to year and location to location variability and opening the door to controlled clinical studies using goldenseal for the first time.

The Company currently produces research grade goldenseal products for use in NIH funded human clinical studies and markets a consumer line of dietary supplements, Goldenseal Advanced™, based on the same standardization process through their website, www.botanipharm.com.

BotaniPharm’s mission is to enhance profitability for its small farm members through pooled production, cooperative processing, and marketing under a common brand name, create safer, more reliable products for consumers, and produce a desirable environmental benefit through reduction in the need for wild collected medicinal plants to meet market demand, true “triple bottom line benefits”.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Randy_Beavers__Steve_Henson_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Josh Sprayberry learned early on that success is achieved by commitment to hard work and discipline. He took this to heart when he decided to enroll at North Georgia College and State University, one of six senior military colleges in the United States. In four years at North Georgia, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA in Management and Finance, held leadership positions in six activity boards, and worked part-time at a boutique financial planning firm. After spending four years helping individuals with retirement and estate planning, he realized his true calling was in providing clients with tax planning ideas and solutions to grow their businesses. He took the next two years working in a local CPA firm, going to school at J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and fulfilling the requirements to become a CPA.
 
Josh remains actively involved in the community through various organizations to include the North Georgia Alumni Association, Psi Chapter Alumni Association, Pi Kappa Alpha Psi Chapter Advisory Board, Lifecycle Building Center of Greater Atlanta, Griffin Rotary Club and the Gutcheck Program of the Gainesville Jaycees.
 
In his spare time, Josh enjoys spending time with family, whitewater rafting, snow skiing and spending time with his Weimaraner.
Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Network_Josh_Sprayberry_pt._3.mp3
Category:Money -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Sarah Schober is the Manager for BioNetwork at A-B Tech.  She works closely with the Center’s natural products testing and manufacturing programs and assists natural product and life science entrepreneurs with laboratory manufacturing, and regulatory practices.

BioNetwork at A-B Tech delivers education, outreach and laboratory programs that promote life sciences.  Educational topics include, but are notlimited to, current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for dietary supplements and personal care products; basic and analytical laboratory skills; and customized industry training.  Our diverse outreach programs aim to support life science endeavors and awareness through community and educational partnerships, both outreach and education programs may be geared toward K-12 students or adult learners.  Analytical assistance for botanicals includes constituent, microbial, and pesticide detection and quantification.  Well-equipped laboratory space is available for rent to those interested in product research, testing, and development.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Sarah_Schober_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Amy Hamilton, herbalist, farmer and mother is living her dream of farming medicinal herbs in western NC, where she's lived for nearly 20 years.

She is a founding member of Appalachian Botanical Alliance (ABA), a cooperative of herb growers, formed in 2012 with a mission to continue the legacy of Appalachian sourced medicinal herbs. ABA is focused on cultivating western and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs of high quality and in consistent supply.  Amy's farm is Appalachian Seeds Farm & Nursery. She grows heirloom tomato seed and medicinal herbs.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Amy_Hamilton_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Dr. Jeanine Davis is a horticulture professor with NC State University located at a research facility in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.  For over 25 years, her program has been dedicated to helping farmers improve the profitability of their farms by growing new crops, transitioning to organic agriculture and adopting more sustainable practices.  Her current efforts are focused on woodland botanicals, Chinese herbs, hops, truffles, broccoli, and organic heirloom tomatoes.  You can learn about her program on her website at http://ncherb.org which has links to her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Ms. Alison Dressler is a Research Assistant in the NC Alternative Crops and Organics program at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center.  Her efforts are dedicated to helping grow the agricultural sector of the natural products and medicinal herb industries in western North Carolina.  She is currently involved with helping a new medicinal herb cooperative, a natural products branding effort, and a growing bloodroot for dye project.  She recently completed a 168 page report on special forest botanicals in Southern Appalachia.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Dr_Jeanine__Alison_Dressler_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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