Earth’s Best began as a speck of alluring light on a distant shore. It was a complete fantasy, and, like any good fantasy, achieving the impossible (as in reaching that light) was central to the plot. For some reason, Ron saw this light in 1976, well before it became visible to the collective naked eye. Maybe it was a destiny thing. Maybe it twinkled just for him and he happened to be looking.
Or was it me who saw that light way back then? Ron and I have endlessly debated this question. This is a twin thing. Sometimes our lives inexplicably merge, and it’s hard to tell whose experience was whose. Regarding that alluring light in 1976, Ron is more certain than I am about the moment, so for the record it’s his light.
For fantasy to take form, it insists on dreamers with a hell-bent passion to take center stage. Success may bring accolades such as “visionary” and “genius.” “Failure” and “fool” are also possible associations if the dream is a bust. The entrepreneurial personality tends to envision only success. If failure is more the preoccupation, it’s a red flag indicating some kind of mismatch between the venture and the prospective adventurer.
How does an idea successfully journey across the wasteland separating fantasy and reality, a vast expanse littered with the wrecks of fantastic ideas, brilliant people, and sure things, a place where colossal failure and entrepreneurial heartbreak is recorded? It would be fantasy in its own right to be tricked by the mirage that the best ideas, the best educated people, and those with the most money and experience are the most likely to navigate through this wasteland. Strangely, but perfectly, that is not the case.
The Earth’s Best Story is the tale of our journey from fantasy, through the wasteland, and into reality. It is as much a “how-not-to” story as a “how-to” story. More so, it is a “how-we-did-it” story. It will be an eye-opener for those who feel both righteous about the greatness of their ideas and entitled to a free Advance Directly to Go card, as we sometimes did, or for those who straight up seek the gold and power of entrepreneurial success.
On the face of it, our story is the tale of a journey to launch the first organic baby-food company in the United States. While of course true, our inspiration soared beyond baby food to a grander, multidimensional imagining, an imagining where the face of agriculture was transformed and the chemically dependent agribusiness paradigm was reduced in its prominence.
We envisioned a world where organic foods would become dominant, with an organic avenue right through the mainstream food thoroughfare. And in our dreams organic baby food would be a catalyst for that paradigm shift: a shift that would support and protect our fragile ecosystems, safeguard farm workers and their families, and walk the talk about doing right by those who are most vulnerable and precious to us—our children.
More personally, this book reflects the voyage of the Koss Brothers, Ron and Arnie. It is a story about our battle to overcome generations of encoded Koss family defeat and bitterness in business. It is also a story about our twin-ness and the unbreakable bond that began during the nine months we shared our mom’s womb.
Unbeknownst to us, as we traversed childhood and adolescence, a foundation of trust was laid that would one day become the bedrock to support the incalculable weight of an emerging Earth’s Best. And unexpectedly, we would discover the immense potential of the synergies resulting from this trust and leverage them in all ways possible. No energy would be wasted or sleep lost wondering about the other’s intentions, commitment, or integrity. We were free from such distractions and free to immerse ourselves in what really mattered—bringing Earth’s Best Baby Foods to life.
Interestingly, Ron and I could not retell our story in one voice, because despite the sameness (i.e., identical genes) it really is two unique stories, merging dynamically together. The writing process has been cathartic for both of us. You will soon clearly understand why.
Our shared hope is that The Earth’s Best Story, while in many respects a sobering tale, will inspire others to smartly venture off and do something amazing and positive to make a difference in a world that needs difference makers.
We invite you to take the Earth’s Best journey with us.