At Sunshine Nut Co., being a little “nuts” is part of the job description. I started Sunshine Nut Co. after enjoying a successful 25-year career in the corporate food industry. In 2011, I gave it all up and moved my family to Mozambique to start Sunshine Nut Co.
It wasn’t an immediate decision. During my time as Director of Cocoa Operations at Hershey, I traveled to developing nations to source cocoa and witnessed the effects of extreme poverty firsthand. I had worked for years as the go-to “turnaround guy” at Hershey solving seemingly insurmountable problems in varying departments. This role led me to a problem that truly felt impossible – but that didn’t stop me from wanting to solve it.
In 2007, I turned down a major career move and left my corporate life for a spiritual journey to discover God’s true purpose for my life. It was in this season of listening and waiting that God spoke to me with clarity that was almost audible – saying, “Go and build food factories in developing nations to bring lasting economic transformation.” Through prayer and solitude, I then developed the Sunshine Approach business model, focusing on transforming lives at every level of the business. Not long after, I was led to Mozambique and its abundance of amazing cashews to start this grand adventure. Faced with a calling I had little desire to fulfill, I chose to be obedient. My wife and I sold everything we owned and moved our family to Mozambique.
Since we moved to Mozambique in 2011, we have found our own lives transformed. In the past six years, we have built a world-class food factory hiring primarily adult orphans. We have developed relationships with orphanages and other community organizations throughout Mozambique where we support and develop projects with 90% of our profits. In 2014, we landed on US shelves and today, we have an all-African staff of 30 producing the best tasting cashews under the sun!
As CEO of Sunshine Nut Company, I press forward relentlessly growing our operations in the US and Mozambique, while sharing our story all over the world. My wife, Terri, oversees all our philanthropic work as the Director of Social Impact and spends her days spreading love to the most needy in our community.
We hope when you buy our cashews, you not only taste the difference in freshness and quality, but also find hope in knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of the poor and orphaned in Mozambique.
Providing hope truly never tasted so good!
Founder & CEO of Sunshine Nut Co.
Our approach is focused on creating a value driven business – where dignity, love, and community come together with excellence.
The Sunshine Approach is a comprehensive solution to bring lasting economic transformation to the poorest of our world. Our business model is built on the transformation of smallholder farmers through premium products. The premise is that packaged natural foods can leverage improvement at all levels of the value chain.
The Sunshine Approach™ model is built on Quadruple Bottom Line results – financial, environmental, social, and transformational.
Our financial bottom line focuses on providing fair payment to growers and manufacturing in-country. Through cultivating relationships with growers we can offer them fair wages and provide them with a reliable market for their harvest. Our in-country production facility allows us to go deeper in our mission to provide economic opportunity by providing employment.
The environmental bottom line is our commitment to being a good steward of the earth. We are mitigating carbon emissions through efficient packaging and transport, operating with a manual focus, and partnering with environmentally engaged suppliers.
Our social bottom line focuses on supporting the materially poor farmers, orphans and vulnerable children. In addition to supporting our farmers by providing fair prices, 30% of our company’s net proceeds will go back into supporting agricultural development. Another 30% of the company’s net proceeds will go toward caring for orphans and vulnerable children through direct donation to establish children’s centers.
The transformational bottom line will be achieved by hiring adult orphans at the factory and equipping them to become tomorrow’s business leaders through education and training. We will also be using our factories as teaching facilities in cooperation with local universities to teach food processing and international food quality requirements. The remaining 30% of the company’s net distributions will go towards new food processing companies to grow the concept – thereby bringing economic relief to different regions involved in different types of farming.
It is our objective to demonstrate a model that will successfully transform poor farming communities in a way that provides fairness, opportunity, and empowerment from within. We strive to bring people together around a vision that truly transforms communities.
- In taking care of those in distress – the widowed, the abandoned, the orphaned, and the poor.
- That business should maximize profits as a portal to help those less fortunate.
- Building food factories can be the engine to drive transformation in areas where sustenance farming is barely keeping people alive.
- Transforming smallholder farmers’ crops into world class food products in-country can bring value addition and profit from sales around the world back into the world’s poorest countries.
- Orphaned and abandoned children deserve to grow up in a family unit and have housing in a culturally appropriate environment.
- People should be provided work that is dignified and which allows them to feel important and useful.
- In the elimination of machinery where people can be employed to do this same work manually in a competitive manner.
- That ‘doing the right thing’ while conducting business is more important than maximizing profits.
- In striving to work alongside people in a unified way to allow them to realize their fullest potential.
Don & Terri Larson and their family move from the Philadelphia area to Mozambique to start Sunshine Nut Co.
Sunshine Nut Co. purchases an existing building outside of Maputo and begins renovation and equipment installation
Sunshine Nut Co. hires and trains 30 young men and women, most of whom were orphans
Sunshine Nut Company launches in South Africa with Pick n Pay
Sunshine Nut Co. Founder Don Larson gives a TEDx talk on social business
Sunshine Nut Co. launches in the USA with Ahold’s 800 stores
Our first Sunshine House is formed with Zelda caring for Cecilia, Madelena, and Antonio
Sunshine Nut Co. launches in five regions with Whole Foods Markets
The Sunshine Approach Foundation is approved as a public charity – to direct profits to transformative initiatives
Entered further retailers: Wegmans, Earth Fare, Mother’s Markets, Albertsons, New Seasons, Harmons, and more. (see our store map)