changentsWe were so happy to recently be introduced to the good people at Changents, a new start-up NGO based in neighborly New Hampshire.  Changents connects Agents of Change with a fan base of Backers around the world, enabling them to create change together.  Who are Agents of Change you may ask?  Why, they are all around us!  In’s own words:

Change Agents are the rock stars of social change. They’re the people who put it on the line everyday to get it done. And there are lots of “super fans” out there who want to get into the act by backing Change Agents and propelling their efforts forward.

That’s where Changents comes in. We enable Change Agents and members of our community around the world to broadcast their amazing stories of creating change and mobilize help from friends everywhere.

Robin_BartlingChangents recently featured a super inspiring MIT fellow who just launched his own Fair Trade, gluten-free company called VICO Brands, Inc. Here’s the full scoop, care of

Holy Mother of….Grain? Yup, that’s right – Robin Bartling is all about Fair Trading gluten-free products.  1 in 133 Americans is suffering from celiac disease but only 3% know about it. The only way out is the commitment to a strict gluten-free diet (no wheat, barley, rye). Gluten-free products are on the rise…but there are still no Fair Trade products available.

Surprisingly, however, typical Fair Trade products such as Quinoa are naturally gluten-free. Quinoa, a weird word to pronounce, but a very simple product. Quinoa is a wonder food (nutritious, delicious, and anti-allergic) and it’s so resistant to pests that it doesn’t need pesticides or artificial fertilizers.  Unfortunately, to date it has not made a very big appearance in the US and, apart from raw materials, there are no gluten-free Fair Trade products like Quinoa on the market today! Well, with our help, Robin is gonna change that real soon!

robin with seedsWith his wife Christiane, Robin launched VICO Brands, Inc in April 2009. This company has three main goals: healthy but tasty products, a concentration on Fair Trade principles, and eco-friendly packaging. Triple win!

Instead of bouncing around the US, Robin’s looking a bit more South. In fact, the very first VICO products are being developed in collaboration with a Fair Trade organization in Latin America.

You know what that means? Aside from bringing yummy, healthy, and Fair-tradable goodies into the US, he’ll also be supporting farmers in Latin America.  Darn good work for one Change Agent.

The team at Autonomie is really excited about Robin’s work and hopes that you’ll join us in keeping up to date with his travels, trials, and tribulations of running a start-up and all the other tales on!