We invite you to meet the professionals involved with Komi Organics.
Nokomis Pfeiffer, MA,
Founder of Komi Organics
My name is Komi Pfeiffer, and I started this company because I believe in the importance of nutrition from the beginning of life. Giving the body, soul and mind what they need to thrive and grow are the most important things you can do for a child, in order to support a happy and full life. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (where I majored in psychology, and took nutrition classes), I worked in children’s group homes in Tampa, Florida and Los Angeles, California. These children were troubled kids who had weathered the effects of a multitude of unsupportive environments; they were emotionally bruised from broken homes, nutritionally deprived due to economic hardship and lack of caretaker education, as well as overtly and covertly abused by caretakers and the foster care/group home system. It was hard not to think that many were never given much of a chance at what most people in America consider a normal life. My role in their lives was to help systematically address the greatest problem areas for each child, and work on ways to resolve those problems. For instance, we implemented solutions such as individual or group therapy, school tutoring, life skills classes, medication management, and so on. Occasionally a particularly overweight child was also given nutritional counseling, although most of the staff I worked with was not qualified for such work.
I myself had grown up in rural Wisconsin, with “hippie” parents who for the most part lived off the land by gardening organically and raising free-range chickens and goats. My three siblings and I grew up eating mostly rice and beans and fresh vegetables. We did not own a TV, and were lucky to have an intact and happy functioning family unit. It was devastating to me working in these group homes, seeing the disparity in the world and the very real negative outcomes for kids not lucky enough to get their basic needs met in life. I decided to get my master’s degree in Psychology, and become a counselor. I moved to Manhattan and attended Hunter College, while working as a nanny. The beautiful little girl I watched from birth inspired me to learn more about early infancy and how the brain becomes wired. I decided to write my thesis on a topic regarding mother-infant bonding, and delved into uncovering the earliest ways caretakers can foster optimal growth and cognitive development. My research uncovered the details of what most people know to be true: that everything matters in early development. A young child needs lots of mental and sensory stimulation, lots of love, and lots of nutrients to feed the growing physical structure of the brain and the neuro-connections that make up thought and allow learning to occur.
After earning my degree, I became somewhat obsessed and decided to redirect my career ambitions towards starting a company that would deliver the best possible nutrition to young children. I think what appeals to me most about addressing children’s nutritional concerns is that it is something concrete that can be done to make sure that each child gets the basic building blocks. Although we humans are incredibly resilient, it is very hard to maneuver around a lack of something as important as say protein. For me, all other things (save love) come after making sure that a child receives what he or she needs to build a healthy brain. Sadly, as a nation, we have become so far removed from our natural environment that we have lost our natural intelligence in regard to taking care of our bodies and minds. As city dwellers, we either don’t often have ready access to fresh organic foods, and pollutant free sea-food and meat, or we don’t take the time to procure such quality foods on a regular basis. Unfortunately, children suffer the most from this, and this is why I created Komi Organics.
Tricia Striano Ph.D.
Tricia Striano Ph.D. has over a decade of experience researching early infant and child social and cognitive development. She studied psychology at The College of the Holy Cross and obtained her MA in 1999, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Emory University in 2000, where she specialized in Cognition and Development. Dr. Striano obtained her Habilitation in Psychology in 2008 from the University Osnabrück in Germany.
Dr Striano was the recipient of the international Sofja Kovalevskaja Research Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She has also received numerous research grants from the German Research Foundation and the National Science Foundation. She was Head of the Cultural Ontogeny Group at the Max Planck Institute for Cultural Ontogeny, and Head of the Research Group on Neurocognition and Development at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany.
Dr. Striano is a tenured Professor of Psychology at Hunter College in New York City where she currently teaches research methods and developmental psychology. She has presented her research at over 100 international talks, including a keynote address at the European Developmental Psychology Conference and German Parliament. She is author of over 100 research papers and edited volumes on social cognition. Dr. Striano is a member of the Society for Research on Child Development and the International Society on Infant Studies. Her research has appeared in dozens of international magazines and television programs including Parents.Com, BabyTalk Magazine, USA Today, and Popular Mechanics. Dr. Striano is also currently a consultant for Komi Organics, the Head of Infancy Research laboratory, and the founder of howbabieslearn.com.
Phoebe K. Flemming, RD, LD
Phoebe K. Flemming is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with extensive experience in menu and recipe development. She has worked with schools, daycares, elder meal plans, and private clients with various needs. She has always focused on providing the freshest, healthiest foods possible to clients.
From recipe makeovers to new creations, Phoebe has a lot of insight into how to meet meal guidelines for various regulations. Most importantly, she wants consumers to enjoy the end result. With experience as a Master Urban Gardener and President of South Boston Grows (a non-profit devoted to growing food in urban areas of need), she also understands the importance but the challenges of providing local food. With a mission to provide healthy food to youth and families in urban areas of need, South Boston Grows has been a passion turned reality. By working with children of all ages to grow and prepare food in their urban neighborhood, she sees the importance of providing new and exciting foods in different ways. In addition to running a small grassroots non-profit, Phoebe consults with Head Start, senior centers, day programs and various kitchens in Boston that provide school and childcare meals. Working with Komi has been a wonderful experience because of the company's devotion to the principles that Phoebe believes in.