For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Angela from plant-based cheese company I AM NUT OK. I contacted them one afternoon after our latest delivery of their delicious nut cheese and butters (also check out Block Folkestone's vegan box if you are local), and having basically become an "Oh, Grate" addict, I suddenly thought it would just be rude not to share, right? So, if you are on the look out for alternatives to dairy, or fancy reducing your intake, or even just seeing what an actually good dairy alternative tastes like (move over bland oil-based alternatives) have a read!
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
I run a vegan cheese company called I AM NUT OK. We make dairy alternatives for those that are missing the experience of flavour, excitement, and variety! Our packaging is recyclable/compostable, and plastic free! We make aged and fresh vegan cheeses and palm-oil free vegan butters from cultured cashew nuts to give a cheesy flavour full of probiotics. My partner is Italian, so I feel constantly challenged to create things that are up to par with Italian food experiences! My main role is creating and developing new products, so I'm always dreaming up the next cheese.
How or why did you get started?
I started the company in 2017 with my partner Nivi who I had been making vegan cheese for to help transition to a plant based diet. We decided to start selling the vegan cheeses to help others too (also I was a jobless recent graduate)! We got a stall at our local artisan food market, and grew quickly from there to now being stocked in several independent shops around the UK!
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
The best part of the job is being able to express my creativity through food and sharing those creations with people who understand and appreciate what we're doing. Seeing people enjoy our products is the driving factor behind my motivation. I also love changing people's minds about vegan cheese!
What is the most challenging thing about the work that you do?
Every challenge can seem very daunting in a small business, especially trying to navigate without a map. There have been so many setbacks and mistakes, and we've learned from every single one, but I think if we were in a more traditional field, we would feel less lost all the time!
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop or live more ethically?
No one can live an 100% ethical lifestyle, and one person's ethics may not necessarily match another's. It's important to remember that no one is perfect, and we can only do our best within the messed up way our society is set up. Decide what you care about and start from there. Do your best, don't beat yourself up if you slip up, and don't judge others on their choices!
What’s your favourite thing to do with your free time and why?
Free time? What's that?? Only partly kidding, but it is true I don't really have time for hobbies. If I have a day off, I actually just stay in bed and watch movies by myself. Not a very inspiring answer I guess haha.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don't go to college!! Don't get your masters!! Save all that money!! School is not for you - don't go! Not everyone needs to go to school to get educated. There are different types of intelligence, and you learn by doing, so go out and do!
Where can we find you on the internet, buy your work, or join in?