Meg Barnhart is the Founder / Co-Creator of Zen of Slow Cooking (Yogini, LLC), a Certified B Corp that manufactures a line of globally inspired, premium spice blends using from-scratch recipes crafted for slow cookers and pressure cookers. While Meg officially started her social impact business in 2012, her journey into advocacy started much earlier with the birth of her middle child.
Meg’s career began in hospitality sales and event planning but, after her son was diagnosed as developmentally delayed in 1995, she shifted her focus toward advocacy for children and adults with special needs. As a Board Member of the Learning Disabilities Association of Central Florida, Meg helped create affordable, therapeutic classes for parents of special needs children from under-served communities at Arnold Palmer Hospital. When she returned to Chicago in 2003, Meg became President of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Learning Disabilities Association where she created workshops for parents to help support their children.
In 2010, Meg spent a year studying what adult life would look like for her son. When she discovered that only 9-25% of developmentally disabled adults in Illinois are employed, Meg decided to create a business to support this community. Her dream led to creating Zen of Slow Cooking, as she could not envision a world where her son would not be able to shine his light.
In 2014, Meg and her business partner, Jane McKay, asked Planet Access Company (Illinois) to become their fulfillment partner. PAC provides training and employment for adults with intellectual disabilities and they have grown their “Zen Team” from 4 adults to over 30.
As passionate advocates for using business as a force for good, Meg and Jane’s business became a Certified B Corp. In 2017, Food Marketing Institute asked Meg to be a mentor in the Emerging Brand program to help small businesses learn more about creating a values-based business culture.
Today, Zen of Slow Cooking’s award-winning Multi-Cooker Spice Blends are available in the U.S in grocery stores, Whole Foods Markets, and independent retailers, as well as online through various E-Commerce companies such as The Grommet and UncommonGoods. In July, Zen of Slow Cooking Multi-Cooker Spice Blends joined Walmart’s innovative meal-time solution category.