Food for Good Thought
Many parents of autistic children find that a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet improves social and cognitive function for children with autism. Gluten and casein are so ubiquitous in today’s food, however, that those choosing to follow a GFCF lifestyle for their children find that all food must be prepared laboriously at home, with cautious regard to ingredient lists and nutritional information.
After becoming involved with GFCF-living as a therapy for her son’s autism symptoms, Dr. Audrey Todd initially conceived of a restaurant where her son could learn job skills. This vision developed into the concept of a lively gluten-free bakery where autistic adults could find employment and gain vocational training and members of the community could gather to sample delicious baked goods. She decided to call it Food for Good Thought.
Realizing her dream of a supported employment and vocational facility for individuals with autism was bound to require plenty of grit and perseverance. However, participating in ECDI’s Microenterprise Loan Program helped Dr. Todd to overcome some of the obstacles that can hold back many entrepreneurs. “Basically, I wouldn’t have been able to get the equipment without ECDI”, said Todd, of the baking equipment outfitting Food for Good Thought’s kitchen, including a large industrial mixer and oven. After closing the ECDI loan and purchasing the equipment, Todd was able to secure commercial kitchen licensure for the Clintonville bakery space at 4185 N. High Street.
The ability to produce the baked goods on-site will certainly be an important aspect in fostering the intended inclusiveness of Food for Good Thought. “My wish is for a dynamic and bustling bakery that is an integrated setting for individuals with developmental disabilities,” Todd said of the bakery’s future. With an emphasis on health, vocational training, and community-building, Food for Good Thought is sure to become a neighborhood mainstay.