Inspiration comes in many forms. Something as simple and small as a sprout can motivate poets to write multiple sonnets about the beauty of growth or prompt painters to paint various scenes of lush greenery. In the case of Sam Turgeon-Brabazon, the founder of Sam’s Sprouts – a business dedicated to helping people eat healthier in their day to day lives – a sprout was all the persuasion he needed to start his own company. “Sam’s Sprouts began as a grass roots business…[it] started as a result of me wanting to solve two problems that so many people – including myself – [used to run] into: 1) Overcoming the hassles of urban farming and 2) Having fresh, organic greens in your diet,” he said.
He credits his Grade 11 Environmental Science teacher for being a large influence in his decision to open the business, “[We were] studying sustainable agriculture and…[my teacher] was so inspiring and always encouraged us to think outside of the box when solving problems.” It was due to his science class that Sam first attempted to sprout seeds and from then on he said he was hooked. Amazed at how easy it was to grow seeds in his own home, Sam got to thinking about how he could apply the lessons he learned from his homework assignment to his own life and the lives of everyone else he knew. “That’s when the idea [for Sam’s Sprouts] started in my head: If you could grow fresh, organic greens in less than a week, with astonishingly minimal effort, indoors, year-round, all in something that used no soil and only took up the same counter space as a coffee coaster, you could get all of the benefits of having a garden and take out all the hassles,” stated Sam. He also proceeded to describe how he eventually designed both a prototype for Sam’s Sprouts and created a Facebook page to announce his initiative.
“From there, with a great amount of support from my school and teachers, family and friends, along with a provincial grant from the ‘Summer Company’ program affiliated with ‘Invest Ottawa’, Sam’s Sprouts grew into what we are today,” he declared proudly, and so, that’s how at the age of sixteen, Sam became an entrepreneur. He describes running his business as an exhilarating experience, “it’s that perfect blend between excitement, healthy stress, and innovation. I’m always so grateful when someone stops me and says, “Hey! You’re that sprout guy!” and they tell me how our product has had a positive impact on them or someone they know – It never gets old.” As the company blossoms, it continues to place an emphasis on innovation and providing its customers with the best product possible.
However, Sam’s Sprouts isn’t the only place in his life where Sam strives for growth and innovation, “I’m happy to say I’m a full time student at Carleton University.” At Carleton he studies Public Affairs and Policy Management, which he noted normally surprises people, “People are always gobsmacked [that I’m] not studying something more aligned with the environment.” However, Sam finds that through his specialization in Human Rights he is more than able to draw a connection in between his current degree stream and ecological rights.
Sam declared that he has always loved the environment so his attachment or affinity for gardening wasn’t exactly unexpected, “ever since I can remember, my folks had a garden in our backyard with big, fresh veggies every summer; I think my love for gardens started then, when I was a kid.” However, he also insisted on recognizing the community aspect of gardening, “everyone played a key part in my love for it.”
When asked to describe his business, Sam presented the four pillars of his company’s mission statement: Inclusivity, Ecology, Economical, and Versatility. Each term highlights an aspect of what the business aims to be or do for its customers. However, when queried about which words he would personally use in a discussion about Sam’s Sprouts, Sam said, “Organic, Simple, and Fun.” He cites the last adjective as the reason why, “anyone of any age loves growing their own micro-greens: From rinsing your seeds, to setting them on a window sill, to harvesting; seeing the work of your labour flourish couldn’t be more exciting.”
Sam has found great freedom in running his own business and has been extremely proud to watch it grow and flourish over the years. While he admits that it can be challenging he said that, “I find the joy I feel whenever I work makes it all the more worthwhile.”