Featured Vendor - Beyond Happiness
Where did it all start? My name is Aaron Andrews and back in high school, I had personally dealt with depression and anxiety while I was growing up and I wanted to create a space where I can deal with all of the emotions I was feeling. I did not have any friends to talk to about it and I did not have anyone who understood what I was going through at the time. I naturally started to take matters into my own hands as I began to focus on taking care of myself more.
Beyond Happiness Is broken into three main avenues of wellness that I have built for myself and my products are all natural with all ingredients locally sourced!
One of the ways I did that was through skincare. Unfortunately, I could not find any products on the market that were a good fit for my skin type as men of color. The market for beauty products for black men was very limited so I did my own research and started creating my own skincare products that worked for me AND you can find me at the Amherst Farmers' Market weekly during the season!
The products become a way for me to check in emotionally with myself through physically being present with what I'm putting on my skin. I developed each product with the intention to help me with different emotions I was dealing with at the time. For example, there was a time when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety so I made a cream with lavender to help calm me down.
The act of me taking care of my skin quickly spun into multiple different ways I engaged with wellness. Being active and connecting with people was a huge stepping stone for my own wellness. I started to work out a lot more and even became a certified fitness trainer in my first year at Hampshire College and worked at the YMCA in Northampton, Massachusetts. As a result of me taking charge of my wellness and developing healthy ways to cope I immersed myself in new relationships and friendships with people in hopes to build a community and meaningful experiences for myself and others around me.
I can think back all the way to when I was 15 years old I remember the first time I got a device that I could record video on. Ever since I would create so many videos of my friends and filming everything that meant something to me. My friends would ask “Aaron why are you always filming stuff” At the time I didn't really have an answer besides “ I just like to '' But today I do have an answer. The reason why I make videos is that sometimes people can't say what they are really thinking or feeling and when I film people and myself I can capture the emotions and feelings that can't be said in words but only captured in moments.
As a result of taking care of my skin, working out, eating healthy, creating new friendships, and learning about wellness I was able to create an environment where I was actively managing my depression and anxiety and completely changed my life. This is something that made my life better in all areas, and I got excited about figuring out how to help other people overcome their own wellness struggles.
I am not saying I can cure depression or anxiety. What I have realized is that I can share with people the tools that can help them manage it themselves. That is how Beyond Happiness LLC a multimedia business/brand with a mission was born. Our mission is to help other people love who they are and provide tools where different people can learn more about themselves while engaging with amazing sustainable products like our skincare line and candles. As you can see, it is more than just skincare products. It is about wellness overall, I like to say!
Rachel and Bruce Scherer, of Little White Goat Dairy, bind their love and respect for each other with love and respect for their land. In 2004, Rachel began making her cheeses, learning in the home kitchen. Rachel's first career was in science, so comfort with experimentation let her fool around, make mistakes, and learn from them. In 2013 The Little White Goat Dairy became a licensed creamery. The cheeses, yogurt, and kefir are made on the farm with the milk of their very spoiled LaMancha dairy goats. Bruce manages the pastures and the infrastructure. He also raises the hogs, broilers and laying hens. They designed, constructed and outfitted the 100% solar-powered barns and dairy themselves. The farm joyfully includes second and third generations of the family living and working together. The land for the farm, in Orange, MA, was 100% wooded 40 years ago. The many stone walls reveal there once were pastures, and they have been re-creating them using livestock as an integral part of the process. They cut the trees, then run hogs on newly cut areas. The next year we let the goats forage on the stump sprouts in spring, then seed cover crops, and let them graze again in fall before seeding pasture grasses. Once established, the goats are rotated through the forage stands so that they graze ‘belly-to-knee’ – they are never eating down to the ground. The system builds healthy soil and healthy animals.
The Amherst Farmer's Market is the first and best market for us! We are especially appreciative of the incredible support the market community, vendor, staff, and customers, have shown this year with the many necessary changes due to COVID-19 and unprecedented times. We work with the belief that growing, preparing, serving and sharing food is a truly vital form of love and nurturing. As a community we can share the bounty of local farms, and eat in good health.
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.