The meals you tackle a backpacking or mountaineering journey might be extra than simply gas on your ft: It may additionally provide a little bit of consolation and relaxation whereas creating moments of fellowship on the path.  

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When Martha Y Díaz fell in love with backpacking a number of years in the past, she wished the meals she and her mates dropped at camp to nourish them physique and soul. “Meals for me is love,” she says, remembering journeys to parks and campsites that she loved as a toddler, after her household immigrated to america from central Mexico.  

Eager for acquainted flavors and dreaming of diversifying the backcountry menu, Díaz based the backpacking meals firm Itacate Foods. The enterprise helped her create a way of belonging, empowerment and therapeutic for herself and others within the outside.  

Itacate means meals for a journey,” she says, explaining its origins from a Nahuatl time period for the meals you are taking alongside for a distance, or a parcel of meals you could be given as you allow a gathering.  

Constructing upon her information of Latin foodways and the particular dietary wants that mountaineering and backpacking demand, Díaz got down to be taught the whole lot she may about beginning and operating her personal enterprise. As a part of the method, Díaz grew to become a member of REI Co-op’s Path Ahead Ventures inaugural cohort with the three-month digital Embark program, developed in collaboration with Founded Outdoors.   

Now, her imaginative and prescient of bringing Latin flavors to the camp range is turning into a actuality: Itacate Meals is making ready to launch its first full-scale manufacturing this fall.  

Embark is an acceleration program designed to supply group, steering and seed cash for brand new and aspiring entrepreneurs from Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Whereas founders of shade characterize solely round 1% of entrepreneurs within the out of doors trade at the moment, visionaries like Díaz are prepared to alter that. Supporting modern concepts like hers with mentorship, infrastructure, buyer connections and capital investments is a technique to make sure that, going ahead, there might be wider illustration within the out of doors trade.  

The outside is for everybody: By creating area for founders of shade to have the chance to be taught, develop and community, REI Co-op believes that the out of doors trade might be for everybody, too.  

As Díaz says, “Let me see how far I can take it with out anyone stopping me.”  



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