Pines International is a successful international company that is still owned by the original founders and stockholders, plus some farmers and employees we worked with along the way.
We strive to provide the best possible green food products to our customers, to help protect and restore farmland and wildlife areas, and to support our local and global community.
While many people remember 1976 as our country’s bicentennial, for Ron Seibold and Steve Malone, it was the year they realized that wheat grass had the potential to provide balanced nutrition for millions of people. With that realization, they decided to found the first green foods company in the United States. Profits earned would provide the seed money to purchase land in danger of being commercially developed, and to establish organic farming communities and wildlife refuges that would work with the land in a sustainable manner. Ron and Steve saw this as an opportunity to pursue their dream of building a business while staying connected to the land they grew up on, and working with neighbors to develop a sustainable community.
RON: “The first ideas that lead to Pines occurred in 1972 when I lived in Colorado and found myself participating in the destruction of some beautiful farmland outside of Fort Collins. I didn’t drive the bulldozers or swing the hammers that built those rows of homes on that fertile soil, but I participated in preparing slide presentations and other materials that led to the destruction. Seeing that river bottom land being dug up for basements and the black soil covered with turf caused me to quit my job and spend my time trying to find more sustainable methods of community development.”
“During the next four years, I studied communities throughout the world. I also learned what Native Americans had to say about the role of man, nature and community. I looked for solutions that would protect the rapidly diminishing farmland and wildlife areas while providing quality lifestyles for residents. My post-graduate degree in rural sociology and those four years of independent research led me to clear goals for community development. These goals set in motion the forces that led to Pines.”
“What I felt I needed was seed money to buy farms near growing cities. The farms could be developed in a way that would preserve farmland and wildlife areas while giving residents magnificent home sites. Residents of these communities could be connected in a spiritual way with the land and the natural ecosystem. In 1975, I discovered cereal grass and realized that this food would provide the necessary capital for these projects while helping millions of people find better health.”
“A year later, I met Steve in Hays Kansas. Steve saw in Pines a means to fulfill his own dreams. Together, we saw Pines as a means for others to fulfill their dreams as well. So in 1976, we decided to find people to join us. Steve invested all of his money: $50. At the time, I had no money, but could and did join in contributing time to fulfill our rapidly growing vision. We began to talk to other potential investors. Most were in the same financial shape as the two of us . . . poor. The majority of investments were for $50 or $100.”
“Other stock was issued for services. We paid employees in stock. We paid processors in stock. We paid farmers in stock. We issued a total of $40,000 in stock, but only $8,000 was for cash. The rest was for services. Over the next two years, more than 200 people invested, not because they expected big returns, but because they believed in our corporate concepts.”
The Dream is Reality
Today, Pines International is a successful international company, and is still owned by the original founders and stockholders, plus some farmers and employees we met since then. Pines utilizes over 3,000 acres of fertile Kansas land to supply the demand for our natural multivitamins. Pines Wheat and Barley Grass tablets and powders and other premium products are found in over 7,000 health food stores nationwide, and exported to more than 20 foreign countries. We look forward to continuing to pursue our original goals far into the next century.
From our fields, to your shelves, PINES products are made with the utmost care, with the focus on creating and maintaining maximum nutritional value every step of the way. Beyond that, we aim to have minimal negative impact on our environment, and where possible, restore and protect what has been damaged by the shortsighted farming and development activities of others.
Additionally, we try to infuse an ecological perspective into every aspect of our operations. We recycle our office paper, cardboard, and shipping pallets. We use recycled paper in all our printed materials. We print our promotional PINES t-shirts on organic, unbleached cotton with a company that uses water-based inks. And we continually look for new ways to conserve natural capital, whether it be energy, trees, water, or the cleanliness of the air we all breathe.
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An important part of the PINES mission is to give back to our community. We sponsor local efforts to support clean rivers, young bicyclists, and Native American rights here in Lawrence. We also reach out to the global community, contributing computers to a school in Belize, and perhaps most important, sending hundreds of thousands of servings of wheat grass to food relief projects in the U.S. and around the world.