January 3, 2023
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Heather K. Terry

Changemaker: Heather K. Terry, Goodsam Foods


Heather K. Terry is just like Willy Wonka if he were a champion of fair trade, sustainability and regenerative agriculture. So, it’s fair to say that she’s nothing like Mr. Wonka. #sorrynotsorry

The Entrance Into The Organic Industry

Heather K. Terry, co-founder of GoodSam Foods, has spent most of her career building, growing, and exiting companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Her first business was NibMor Chocolate. She traveled extensively to visit farm cooperatives, where she became aware of the power of organic food, the challenges of the fair trade movement, and how it’s vital that we help farmers stay in the farming business.

“I came into the natural products industry after my father struggled with terminal lymphoma for over a decade,” she explained. “To me, the link between health and the things we put in and on our body are completely intertwined.”

Food, cooking, and gathering around the table are also central to her family life with her six year old daughter and husband. Both Terry and her husband have demanding work schedules, so they carve out what they can when both are home.

When Heather Met Sam: The Start Of A Partnership

After 10-plus years in CPG, Terry joined the team at BeyondBrands, where she met Sam Stroot on a project that started with dried fruit, but blossomed into a partnership involving the best chocolate she’d ever tasted.

Sam’s wife, Isabelle, is from Colombia, and for years, he had been trying to get more Colombian products out to a wider market. After the country signed a peace agreement in 2017, the farmers were incentivized to grow produce outside of coffee, including cacao.

“The quality of the cacao is excellent,” Terry said. “The farmers don’t use chemicals on their crops and everything is regeneratively farmed.”

The dried fruit concept evolved into Colombian chocolate and led to the creation of GoodSam Foods. GoodSam is all about food that is good for you, good for farmers and good for the planet.

“We are committed to the organic food movement, fair and direct trade with our farmers, and sustainable and regenerative farm efforts,” she said.

The name of the company has a double meaning. First, it’s based on her partner Sam’s name. Second, there is the parable of the good samaritan who helps a stranger in need.

“Americans want to help others, but don’t really know how to help or what is authentically fair trade,” explained Terry. “So for us, we want to offer products that consumers know are made ethically by farmers who are paid and treated fairly.”

Goodsam Foods

The Top Priority: Support For Farmers

GoodSam has a direct trade agreement with every farmer, cutting out middlemen. The company is certified through FLO International and takes its relationships with farmers very seriously.

“When we talk about pricing or profit margins, we cut our own pricing first,” she said. “We never cut pricing to the farmers. We sacrifice our own profit to support the farmers and help them survive.”

Terry and her business partners believe in a volume structure—scale means profit—which means that they will never do business in a fully traditional capitalist model.

“The Colombian people have been through so much—war, political upheaval, terrorism, and more—yet they still are ready to open their home and share food with you,” she said. “They love what they do, love the land, and are proud of their efforts.”

The Future Of GoodSam Foods

GoodSam is scheduled to bring products to market by the end of 2020. Products will launch in three verticals that include GoodSam Food Products sold on Thrive Market, third party private label products, and bulk sales. The goal is to bring high quality products to consumers at an affordable price.

“We’ll be bringing the first Keto M&M to the market in October,” she announced. “We will also have Keto chocolate bars with just three ingredients and no fillers.”

Spreading The Fair Trade Message

Long term, she hopes that GoodSam can help really spread the message of fair trade. Americans have a lot to learn about fair trade and regenerative agriculture. Both are better for the environment and our global footprint.

“We really want people to understand the story of fair trade and regenerative agriculture,” she said. “And we hope to remove the stigma around Colombia and its culture by shining a light on what is happening in recovering conflict regions.”

Terry knows that consumers want their purchases to matter and that not everyone is able to do the work that GoodSam can do. The idea is to bring their fans along for the ride and give them the opportunity to help change other people’s lives for the better.

Up until now, many Colombian farmers may never have had American clientele. They are eager to show the world their high quality products, the story behind how it’s made, and why they are so proud of their work.

She also knows that as Americans, we tend to be a little blind to what’s happening around the world. That’s one reason why the marketing for GoodSam will be a little “in your face.”

“Right now, we’re planning our marketing,” she said. “We want it to be a little provocative, like a slap to the face, get people to wake up, give a damn, and stop letting their privilege cloud their empathy for others.”

GoodSam’s Heather Terry is one of many on the ground doing work to help solve climate change, government and inequality issues. She just happens to do it through the one thing that brings people together—food.

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