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In 2008, Noah Abelson, then a junior at the University of Maryland, set out for a semester abroad in the West African country of Ghana. After 2.5 years of a standard college experience, Noah knew that he needed a change. He had one goal in mind: to immerse himself in a culture different from his own. As he stepped off the plane in Accra, Ghana’s capital, the West African humidity enveloped his body and he immediately knew that he had made the right decision.
Noah was quickly overwhelmed by the kindness and welcoming nature of the Ghanaian people. Within a week of arriving in the country, he set out to involve himself in Ghanaian culture by joining the University of Ghana’s swimming and baseball teams. Through his experiences, Noah learned that for the Ghanaian people, life was a celebration, one to be shared and enjoyed amongst neighbors, friends, and family, no matter what skin color, or physical attribute a person may have.
For Noah, it was a new outlook on life: if you don’t have I will provide for you; one man or woman’s happiness is everyone’s happiness; a death of a loved one is an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and the success of the deceased; material wealth does not matter. Before long, Noah had fallen in love with the country of Ghana and its people. He promised himself that he would find a way to give back to the country and the people that embraced him so unconditionally.
The semester ended and Noah returned to Maryland for his senior year. It wasn’t long, however, before his insatiable love for Ghana got the best of him and by early February 2009, Noah found himself landing in Accra, for a second time. With the simple motivation of giving back and helping Ghana, he began sorting and sifting through project opportunities and options.
Without a real plan or even a concrete place to stay, he explored numerous endeavors such as waste management, composting, aircraft recycling, importing and manufacturing building materials, partnering with a meet and greet company, and establishing a consulting firm to help improve Ghanaian business practices. Noah soon caught wind of a small berry that grew only in Ghana. The locals called it táami (pronounced ta-ami) and it could make sour foods taste delicious and sweet. He knew then, that he had found what he was looking for.
With two and a half months left in his trip, Noah set out to establish firm and genuine relationships with the local farmers that were cultivating the fruit. Simultaneously, he began to set up a supply chain system to insure the quality and preservation of this miracle fruit.
Teaming up with a Ghanaian Agriculture firm (owned by an old baseball teammate) and the Inter-Regional Bridge Group (IBG), Noah founded the Flavor of Change LLC. The goal was simple, to promote and support sustainable subsistence farming practices through microfinance projects in Ghana and to introduce táami berry to the rest of the world.
Back in the States, Noah moved back to his hometown of San Francisco, CA and began to develop the framework for his new company. After finding new office space and piecing together the necessities for starting his new company, the first shipment arrived in September of 2009. Joining forces with an old friend and a team of talented interns, the newly created Flavor Team was ready to take the American palate by storm!
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