Former senator heads organics company

January 6, 2009 11:21:07 AM PST
Before Roland Burris and Barack Obama, there was Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, who was also a presidential contender in 2004.Moseley Braun has now found a new calling that brings her closer to her roots.

The former senator has never been afraid to mix things up or to try something new. Braun, a former prosecutor, has now traded in her title as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa for "green" CEO.

"I'm a recovering politician, as I've said," she told ABC7 Chicago.

Moseley Braun's life journey has taken her from prosecutor in Chicago's U.S. Attorney's Office to the most far reaches of the world. Now, she believes all of her varied experiences have led her to her current position.

"It was a natural progression for me. I've been involved with agriculture and agricultural policy almost all my life," she said.

In fact, Moseley Braun believes her preparation for heading a company that markets organic goods started generations ago.

"My great-grandfather bought about 600 acres of farmland in 1870. There was a little window after the Civil War when blacks could buy property in the South, and close to 400 of those acres are still in the family," she said.

Having spent time on the farm as a girl, Carol Moseley Braun considered restoring the land. Then, she found her true passion and switched gears.

The now-former ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa started Ambassador Organics, a line of organic coffees, teas and spices.

Moseley Braun is quick to point out the virtues of her company's products, even showing the visual difference between the tea manufactured by a leading brand and her own tea leaves.

"When you think about it, when you drink a cup of tea, it's an infusion of hot water and the leaf. Well, it's either going to be hot water and a pure tea leaf or hot water and a tea leaf that's carrying all these chemicals," she said.

Ambassador products boasts the USDA certified organic seal, the stringent bio-dynamic demeter seal and the fair trade seal.

In her role as CEO, Moseley Braun says she will double as food activist.

"We want to be part of the conversation about food deserts and seeing to it that everybody has access to quality food. I mean it's shameful and unacceptable that there are parts of communities even here in Chicago, where it's easier to get fast food, grease-laden, salt-laden stuff, than it is a fresh apple," she said.

Carol Moseley Braun says this is only the beginning for her. She wants to eventually open a manufacturing facility to bring more jobs to Illinois.

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