Salt of the earth

P.E.I. com­pany hopes to raise funds for Ran­dom Acts of Kind­ness and other com­mu­nity groups


Two P.E.I. en­trepreneurs are hop­ing to bring the dis­cus­sion around men­tal health ser­vices to ev­ery din­ner ta­ble in the prov­ince and even­tu­ally across the coun­try. Co-founders Darren Blan­chard and Nathan Ga­mauf de­scribe their Salts of the Earth ini­tia­tive as a so­cial en­ter­prise with a goal of cre­at­ing men­tal health aware­ness while rais­ing funds for Ran­dom Acts of Kind­ness (RAOK) P.E.I. and other com­mu­nity groups. Blan­chard, who was friends with RAOK founder Anna Howard, said ev­ery­one is af­fected by men­tal health strug­gles.

“The sup­per ta­ble is a place where the fam­ily con­gre­gates and friends get to­gether and what’s usu­ally on the ta­ble? Salt,” said Blan­chard. “So if you’re pass­ing the salt around, do a men­tal check for your­self and for ev­ery­one around the ta­ble. “Ev­ery­body knows some­body af­fected by men­tal health is­sues… And we all, in­di­vid­u­ally, go through it at dif­fer­ent points in our lives. Whether you’ve gone through it at this point, there could be some­day down the road where you may need sup­port that’s not there.”

The salts are also of­fered as a unique fundrais­ing tool for sports teams, school groups and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions. Packs con­tain­ing four dif­fer­ent salts are of­fered to groups for $12 a box with $2 go­ing towards RAOK. Groups would then sell those pack­ages for $20 each, with them keep­ing $8 of the sale.

With the ini­tia­tive launch­ing next week, Blan­chard said he has re­ceived a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back and in­ter­est.

Ga­mauf said the ini­tia­tive of­fers a health­ier re­place­ment to the com­mon choco­late bar cam­paigns. “It’s a non-per­ish­able and top-qual­ity healthy prod­uct that you can make an ex­cel­lent re­turn on,” said Ga­mauf. “It’s per­fect for any kind of or­ga­ni­za­tion that’s try­ing to raise a few bucks for them­selves while also ben­e­fit­ting a good cause here on the Island.”

The salts will also be avail­able di­rectly through the RAOK web­site. The two own the P.E.I. Sea Salt Com­pany, with Blan­chard pre­vi­ously work­ing with Howard on a sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive. Howard founded RAOK as a way of “pay­ing it for­ward” be­fore she died in Jan­uary. Blan­chard has re­mained a vol­un­teer with the group, which still ex­ists with a board of di­rec­tors, and said the ini­tia­tive aims to help the group grow. “(Howard) was such a gen­uine hu­man be­ing try­ing to help any­body and ev­ery­body through these ran­dom acts of kind­ness,” he said.

“This took on an un­be­liev­able mean­ing to me be­cause of Anna’s pass­ing… It made me re­ally look at our sit­u­a­tion on P.E.I. in re­gards to men­tal health.” The past few months have seen a ma­jor ad­vo­cacy push for en­hanced men­tal health ser­vices on P.E.I.

Apart from bol­ster­ing sup­port for men­tal health, Ga­mauf said those pur­chas­ing the salts will also get a pre­mium prod­uct. The au­then­tic and or­ganic so­lar evap­o­rated sea salts have no ad­di­tives or preser­va­tives and come in re­us­able grinders. Cur­rently the pack­ages come with four flavours, Hi­malayan, Hawai­ian Red, Aus­tralian and Mediter­ranean, al­though the two hope to in­clude more flavours if the cam­paign takes off.

“Any flavour you can think of can be in­fused into salt,” said Ga­mauf, adding cran­berry, blue­berry and smoked salt as pos­si­ble flavours. “What we have now is a good cross-sec­tion of some of the best salts in the world.”

Blan­chard said that once es­tab­lished in P.E.I., he hopes to bring the cam­paign to the rest of the coun­try with an ad­di­tional goal of be­ing able to em­ploy in­di­vid­u­als suf­fer­ing from men­tal health is­sues.

“And just keep build­ing it as big as we can be­cause that’s more money com­ing back to an or­ga­ni­za­tion here in P.E.I. fo­cused on men­tal health,” said Blan­chard.


Nathan Ga­mauf, left, and Darren Blan­chard, of the P.E.I. Sea Salt Com­pany, show the prod­ucts from their Salts Of The Earth so­cial cam­paign, which aims to be a fundrais­ing tool for com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions while rais­ing money for Ran­dom Acts of Kind­ness...

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