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In Focus | Michael Buffett

Meet Michael Buffett. He was born in Lewiston, New York and raised in Niagara, Ontario.

Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Sarah Martin, my sweetheart. Spend your life with your favourite person!

What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
One-Big-Table because I can shop local every day. As well as Third Space Coffee because they fuel me and the community.

Describe yourself in one word.
Restless.

If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
The moon because it looks peaceful.

What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Farming.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Hmm, once when I was just starting in the kitchen, I was taught how to make biscotti by the owner of the restaurant. The first time I went to make it on my own, I grabbed the salt instead of the sugar because the containers looked the same. They looked perfect but I didn't taste the biscotti before I took one to him to try. Chocolate-dipped biscotti… Sounds great right? Unless you don't like overwhelmingly salty surprises. He was pretty upset and I can’t repeat what he said to me here, but I will tell you I never made a mistake like that again.

What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
Lately, it seems that a lot of inspiring things are happening to me. One of our participants said to me something that sticks with me on a daily basis. She said that when she started the program, it was mostly because she needed to find a job. Yet in the process of committing to the program and coming every week to meet with the Start Fresh team and the other participants, that The Start Fresh Project has become a much bigger part of her recovery. It gave me goosebumps! The Start Fresh Project was started to help people struggling with life get the skills they need to get jobs. We are building a healthier community, in more ways than one.

Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
My father left when I was really young. My mom, who is an amazing woman raised me with the help of my uncles, grandparents, and my step-father, Phil. They all inspired me to be a better person in so many ways. My best childhood memories are the ones spent with them, but I couldn’t choose a single favourite moment. Making sun-brewed ice tea, basement darkroom photography lessons, basketball, and betting at the horse track would be a few. All taught me valuable lessons. Mostly about math!

Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I love to volunteer, and I’m obviously the volunteer president of the Start Fresh Project Society. We work on the farm, in the kitchen and in the community. Almost 50% of my life is spent volunteering! When I have time the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is where you can find me spending my time volunteering.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Poverty.

Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
The public library.

Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
Affordable housing. We are starting to see this. Great work Colin!

What do you think makes Kelowna great?
The people.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
1. Expand Start Fresh to new communities
2. Travel Asia
3. Start a family

Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I’m a bit of a chess nerd. I even entered a competition once. I didn’t win, but I was able to cross it off my bucket list.

How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
Facebook and Instagram.

What is the name of your business/organization?
Start Fresh Project Society and Start Fresh Kitchen.

Why did you get into/start this business?
To help inspire people about food, help get people working and to build a stronger community.

What is the goal of your business?
Teach people about food, farming and to inspire people.

What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
Finding funding, volunteers, and work-life balance.

If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different
I would do everything the same. It hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve learned a lot.

What do you always find yourself saying?
If you don’t ask for anything or work for anything, you’ll never get it.

Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Be authentic.

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
My grandfather, Richard Young. He passed a few years ago. He helped raise me and really inspired me to be a good human being. Even though he was a grumpy old man, I miss him.

Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
By shopping locally, you support local people. Farmers, artisans, and families.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Graduating the first round of students from the Start Fresh Project.

Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Sarah Martin. She is the most important person in my life. She keeps me balanced.

My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Blake Bjornson. Engineer turned chef, our fearless sous-chef and all round good guy.

We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE.

In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition of the people, businesses, and organization that help make our city great. Thank you, Kelowna!



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