Wilderness Poets was started by John Bannerman and Mika Kakizaki in 2006 in Portland, Oregon and is now based in Amboy, Washington at the foothills of Mount St Helens.
John and Mika both enjoyed childhoods filled with wonderment. Mika grew up in New York City and was cast on Sesame Street at age five, though she was more interested in growing veggies on the rooftop of her Chinatown loft. John grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and helped his parents raise bees for honey and tap maple trees for syrup. They both shared an insatiable desire to be in the wilderness.
Mika’s global family (British Mom, and Japanese Dad) led her to Wales for summers working in her Aunt’s vegan restaurant. She also traveled to Berlin where she discovered that hemp seeds were common in food…more on that later. John was living between a tropical farm in Kauai, Hawaii and a remote fishing village near Juneau, Alaska.
After graduating from Vassar College, Mika followed her passion to learn about plants and food as medicine to an apprenticeship on the “Herb Pharm” in Williams, Oregon. John moved to Portland to complete his Masters in Teaching at Lewis & Clark College. He was teaching poetry to middle school students in Oregon when they met. Not long after, they founded Wilderness Poets.
One thing was for sure; both Mika and John shared a passion for healthy and sustainably grown foods – one of their favorite ingredients being hemp. Given Mika’s awareness of hemp’s unsurpassed nutritional value, they started grinding and blending other seeds and nuts with hemp in their kitchen. Soon, their Hempspreads were being devoured on fruits and veggies.
John had used ancient and historical poets in the classroom to inspire his students. Poets have a special way of whittling things down to the bare essence. The planet is at its highest state in the wilderness. Hemp has the ability to nourish people and return wilderness to the planet.
In 2011 Mika and John moved their operation from their original kitchen in Portland, Oregon to Amboy, Washington. Their kitchen is dedicated to the production of vegan, gluten free, raw, organic, Superfoods. Mika and John continue to oversee each step of the process to ensure that every batch is fresh and delicious.
Wilderness Poets has also expanded its offerings to include RAW nut butters, RAW Wild Mixes, Hemp Oils and other bulk Superfoods which are available in Natural Food Stores, Co-Ops, restaurants and cafes across the U.S.
Each jar of Hempsread and nut butter is the culmination of combined passion, joy, and commitment to promoting nutritious foods and sustainable agriculture.