Zobaida Falah

Zobaida Falah

Founder & CEO

September 10, 2018

Organization:

CURE

Website:


It's harvest season, and we want to honor of our deep love for food. Toledo.com and tech start-up FreshSpoke are collaborating to highlight stories about Local Food Champions: people improving the environmental impact, economic benefit, and accessibility of local food in NW Ohio. We hope you enjoy.


Describe your connection to the local economy, community health, healthy food alternatives, environmental sustainability, etc.

I am a social entrepreneur who strives to integrate social needs into market sustainable business practice. I strive to promote health and wellness by creating products that make you feel good and do better. I created the CURE bar, the first whole food snack bar to implement the superfood, the Black Seed. The Black Seed is an ancient medicinal remedy that has been used for thousands of years. Growing up eating this superfood, I realized it was nonexistent in American cuisine which is why I wanted to introduce it to the West in a modern durable treat everyone could enjoy. I want to change the way people eat and believe that you should never compromise taste for health which is why at CURE, we make healthy taste good. Rather than using sugar, we sweeten our bars with honey, which creates a tasty chewy bar. Through my work,  I try to convey that if you invest in your health now, you won’t have to later. 

I believe that no one should go to sleep at night knowing their neighbor is hungry which is why I created my Get and Give movement, where for every bar sold, a bar is given to a person in need. I believe this is a symbol that small consecutive acts of giving when done in unison have the ability to impact our global world. I also believe that you can not save the world without saving yourself first, which is why I focus on my local community. I partner with different organizations locally to help distribute our Get and Give bars.

I also sit on the board of Toledo Streets, a nonprofit organization geared towards helping people get on their feet through sustainable programs such as selling newspapers. This organization resonates with me because my ultimate goal with CURE is to now simply “give a man a fish” but rather, “teach him how to fish”. I am currently working on changing our giving model to something more sustainable for the recipients. This passion was ignited during my mission trip to The Gambia three months ago. I was able to see first hand how sustainable programs can impact those in need. Through social media, I was able to raise $15,000 dollars to go towards building a horticulture garden to create sustainable living to over 400 families living in The Gambia. This is something I would like to continue and bring to my local community, Toledo, and eventually the world.


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I have partnered with many organizations in the past, but one particularly changed my life. I was able to raise $15,000 dollars to go towards building a horticulture garden to create sustainable living to over 400 families living in The Gambia. This includes building irrigation wells to help irrigate the land which suffers from drought due to the extreme heat. I have partnered with Noor Tagouri, a journalist who uses her platform to encourage people to give back by creating care packages which she distributes to the homeless.

I have also launched multiple CURE school fundraisers which we provide students with CURE Bars to sell as a healthy alternative to the sugar packed chocolate bars and candy students typically sell to raise money. This introduces students to healthy eating as well as philanthropy at an early age. I then invite students to help me pass out the bars to our local community which can count as community service for them or simply service for their hearts. ☺


What current projects are you working on?

I am currently working on launching a third flavor, Peanut Butter CURE Bar. I am very excited about this because the people I donate the bars to actually helped me come up with the recipe for this bar. Whenever I donate the bars, I like to ask the people receiving them to give me feedback in order to give them the dignity of being a part of this movement. Through our conversations, we were able to create this delicious Peanut Butter CURE Bar.

I am also working on raising funds for “Toledo Streets”, the nonprofit organization I mentioned earlier. They need funds in order to keep the program running so I hope to launch the campaign within the next month and hopefully raise $10,000 for them.


What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

Toledo is a very tight knit community which allows entrepreneurs to feel supported. People are always willing to give you their time and truly want to help you which is something that I am very grateful for. We are one big family and I feel as though everyone is looking out for each other.


Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to run a business while being a mother. I was so terrified at first, but finding the balance between motherhood and entrepreneur in my eyes, is one of my greatest successes.


Tell us about one of your overriding philosophies about why people should support local.

I believe buying local equates to buying quality which means you’re not only helping the local entrepreneur but also helping yourself by insuring you purchased a quality product. I have heard so many times people complain about the GMO’s that consume our grocery stores but how many of those people actually support local? If you support a local vendor that believes in making this world a better place rather than a corporate product geared towards maximizing their profits, we can truly make an impact in this world by helping the locals grow while maintaining their integrity.


When did you first feel connected to the environment, community health and/or the local economy?

When I was a teacher, I witnessed first-hand my students slum their way through classes eating refined sugars and carbs. When I asked them why they ate so poorly, a common response was, “Healthy Food doesn’t taste good and no time to pack.” This made me realize the gap in the market and I made it my mission to create healthy on the go snacks that taste delicious! This is why I created the CURE Bar. I created my Get and Give mission from my half a decade of community service of creating lunches for the homeless which led me to despise the thought of anyone going to sleep at night with a rumbling belly.


How have you found advocates for your work?

Social media has been my avenue for allowing me to connect with people who share my mindset and vision for the future.


Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

My inspiration stems from the thought of my daughter growing up with a single mission in life; To help out as many people as possible during her time here. I strive to be this model for her and anyone else I may influence around me. I believe that we each have something to give because we have all been blessed in different ways so it is up to us to discover what we have that we can share with the world to lessen the entropy that consumes it.


Tell us about your background.

I went to school to become a Math and English Teacher, after discovering my true passion (CURE) while teaching, I changed careers and went to real-estate school and sold commercial property for a year and a half in order to raise enough startup capital to launch CURE. It was not an easy or quick road to get to this point but I am so thankful for every bit of it because each stage helped prepare me for my CURE journey.


Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“Find your passion and discover a way to use that passion to benefit others.”


Favorite place for local culture?

I love the food trucks in Downtown Toledo. Seeing the trucks come together to serve a meal is somewhat artistic in the sense that food brings people together, including these businesses that are all in competition with one another fighting for the customers business. I love the option of trying three different cuisines in a matter of thirty minutes and having to walk less than three hundred feet to do so.


Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Toledo’s best kept secret is just how much better you will do in Toledo.


My favorite place to chill locally is . . .

The Docks. Not only because I got married right across the river but I love peering over the water and seeing how perfectly manicured Toledo is in its own unique way. I see the different cuisine, which caters to different cultures. I see the historic buildings, which highlight our history. I see the renovation, which promises a brighter future. And lastly, I see the people, working together to build a better city than yesterday. I think our beautiful city gets taken for granted by some, but these people really underestimate the impact that this city has made in the United States whether it be in start up businesses or fortune 500 companies.


My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .

Toledo Botanical Garden!


My favorite locally produced product/service is . . .

Local Honey and Reve Salon and Spa


When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .

A local coffee shop enjoying a cup o’ joe and a CURE Bar.


If you could change anything about the current landscape for progressive, locally aware people . . .

I would change the difficult accessibility to local vendors. I feel there is not enough marketing of our local vendors. Therefore, many people do not know about us.


Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

I am currently collaborating with other socially conscious entrepreneurs to provide our customers with giveaways and educate them about the importance of giving back. 


Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

Youtube.com! I love the authenticity of the people all around the world that you can view at the click of a button.


3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Compassionate, Driven, Curious


I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

Healthier options in the restaurant scene.


I want my last meal to be _______________.

I feel obligated to say a CURE Bar but really, I would love it to be inside The Five’s Chicken and Waffles.


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