The Ghosts In Our Machine

Seth Tibbott

“A farmer gave his son a hatchet and a turkey saying, “Take this bird out behind the barn where no one can see you and kill him.”  Being an obedient son, the boy vanished behind the barn only to return several minutes later with the still very much alive turkey.  “What is the matter?” asked the farmer. “Did you not understand my instructions?”  The son looked his father in the eye and said, “But Father, everywhere I went the turkey could see me!”  The son in this story has made the shift in awareness that we feel the people of this world need to understand.  Just because a sentient being cannot talk does not mean they don’t have a point of view on whether they live or die. To that end we celebrate THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE cross-platform documentary, and are excited to support its Animal Ambassador program. The Ghosts documentary highlights the brilliant work of Jo-Anne McArthur, one of the great heroines of our time, whose photography helps us all to see farm animals as fellow travellers on our journey, worthy of our love, care and respect.”
Seth Tibbott
President and Founder
Turtle Island Foods and Tofurky
photo courtesy Leilani Münter

Seth Tibbott became a vegetarian while attending college in Ohio in 1972, after reading “Diet for a Small Planet” by Francis Moore Lappe. The ideas presented in that book rang true with the teacher/naturalist career path he was preparing for.  In 1977, while working as an environmental education specialist in Johnson City, Tennessee, Seth made his first batch of tempeh in a tent during the Indonesia-like summer weather. It was love at first bite. He began to make batches of tempeh for friends and family in repurposed refrigerators strung with Christmas tree lights for heat. In 1980 he invested his life savings of $2,500 and opened Turtle Island Foods, working nights at the Hope Coop in Forest Grove, Oregon. After 15 years of losing his shirt but living the dream making tempeh for the Northwest Natural Foods Market, he introduced the first Tofurky Feast at Thanksgiving 1995. The evolution of Tofurky has been swift and taken the company to unimaginable heights. Seth is proud to still be involved with the company which is one of the last independent and family owned national brands of meat alternatives. He feels lucky to have a team of co-conspirators who share his mission to promote plant based diets throughout the world for the sake of human nutrition, animal welfare and the health of the planet’s ecosystems.

We asked Seth to share his insights with us about his family owned and independent meat alternative company, Turtle Island Foods in this accompanying interview.

Check out a tasty Tofurky Holiday Roast recipe created by our Ghost-Free Journey coach Rosemary Tarentino Foos!.

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1 Comment

  1. Jessica Burnside January 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I went through all of the ambassadors, reading their stories and I finally came down to this one. I clicked to read more and noticed it said Seth lived in Johnson City, TN. I was shocked, amazed as I live in Johnson City and currently attend ETSU where I will earn my Master’s this May. I think it is amazing to immediate feel a connection with someone of something so small.