A loan of $1,700 helped buy one year's worth of labels and three months of commercial kitchen rental fees.


Toussaint's story

My passion is teaching young people by inspiring in them the entrepreneurial spirit for self-determination. I've discovered that through my vegan pesto creations, I can inspire my community and use food to educate, nourish, promote wellness, and alternatives to unhealthy habits.

Growing up in Oakland was very challenging, as our neighborhoods were saturated with liquor stores and illegal drugs. Some of my friends who didn't play sports like I did often got into the drug game. Many of them had absent fathers. I learned that it truly took a village to raise a child, but many villages in Oakland were falling apart. I was fortunate enough to have solid role models in my progressive mother, father and older siblings. Pride in their culture and caring for our community; these values they instilled are what I wish to pass on. As I got older and began writing poetry, I formed an art collective called 10 Poets Plus a Mic, and for four years I was an arts activist, publishing a newsletter and producing performances. This was my first entrepreneurial experience: paying people and packing theaters for consciousness building through poetry.

Today, I still incorporate my poetry in the public school classrooms of Oakland Unified School District. I have been a school teacher for over nine years. However, I now bring nutrition into the picture. I bring pesto platters and facilitate West African Drumming workshops at lunch. I expose my students to my lifestyle as an entrepreneur and a responsible father. I have a dream that healthy food choices will not only be alternatives, but will become the norm. I have a dream that every child will know she can use her creativity to make change in the world she lives in.



Loan details


About Besto Pesto, An Oakland Pesto Company

Industry: Food
Years in operation: 1 year - 3 years
Website: bestopesto.com

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Loan details