Ger-Nis International will hold a grand-opening gala April 10 for its new
Gen-Nis Culinary & Herb Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Nissa Pierson, owner and managing director of Ger-Nis International, a
supplier of a full line of packaged organics headquartered in Brooklyn, told
The Produce News that expanding the company's network to include
consumers is something to which she has been dedicated since founding the
firm over three years ago.
"It's not just about selling produce and making money," said Ms. Pierson. "We
are also very community-involved. We offer nutrition and product information
to children and adults, and we offer cooking classes, field trips, sustainability
and other projects to the community. These are the value-added things that
benefit today's consumers."
The Culinary & Herb Center has been Ms. Pierson's long-time goal. Her
passion has always been about healthy lifestyles, sustainability and fair trade.
After earning a bachelor's degree in sustainable and economical development
from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, in 1995, Ms. Pierson
worked for an organic retailer in Oregon. From there she moved to Southern
California and worked for Herb Line Farm. She also worked for Jacobs
Farm/Del Cabo in Pescadero, CA, further increasing her knowledge and
experience before relocating to New York and starting her own business at
the age of 33.
"My passions have always been natural living and eating healthy food," said
Ms. Pierson. "Instead of focusing on just the supplier end, we want to reach
out to consumers to help them learn to make wise food choices."
The Culinary & Herb Center will offer consumer classes where producers and
others in the trade will be able to address attendees and discuss how their
products are produced and provide handling, storage and preparation
"A representative of our organic fair trade mango supplier, Fairtrasa, in
Uruapan, Mexico, will be teaching an upcoming class," said Ms. Pierson. "He
will cover the ecological aspects and supply chain information to help
attendees to understand what fair trade is. Another class scheduled for the
summer will be a children's series that focuses on fruits of the world. We will
be covering a different fruit in each class. This will be a wonderful cultural
learning process for kids."
Besides staging the gala event, Ger-Nis is promoting the new center through
local consumer magazines, on the Internet and by word of mouth. The class
schedule will be available on the company's web site in late March. Ms.
Pierson will be teaching the first class scheduled for April 24, which is titled
Spring Herbal Salads.
The center will also house a cookbook library. Besides donating her own
extensive personal cookbook collection, Ms. Pierson said she is asking
participants in the center and others to donate new or used cookbooks.
"Educated consumers control the produce business," she said. "If they
understand how and where their food is produced and follow it through the
supply chain, they will be able to make better choices."