People often ask, Betsy, how did Laurel Farms® get started?
Back in the summer of 1992, I was mentally and physically exhausted from four years of hard-writing and extensive research for a real-life science thriller about a runaway retrovirus that would soon make the people of Earth extinct.
Because I'd been with CBS Television for many years, UCLA's world-renowned virology lab had graciously opened its doors to me so that I could study real-life scientists in a real-life environment, working on deadly viruses like AIDS. As the researchers got to know me, they allowed me to sit in on their staff meetings so that my book would have the ring of authenticity.
As I listened to them predict coming plagues, like the then-unknown MRSA bacteria, and the more recently-emerged, extreme-drug resistant tuberculosis, I realized that, just like in my novel, the people of this planet could soon be extinct.
So, to keep myself going, I started meditating once a week with the Brahma Kumaris, a non-governmental organization of the United Nations devoted to teaching open-eye meditation to people of all faiths. Los Angeles had become so chaotic and dangerous, that the students even included ministers, priests, rabbis, and imams.
One evening after class, where I'd silently asked God to help me keep people alive -- I thought He'd tell me to write another book -- the meditation instructor emerged from the center kitchen clutching an odd, pancake-looking thing encased in a clear plastic bag.
"What," I asked, as I backed away, "is it?" "It's called a Kombucha," she said. "One of our students just brought it back from a documentary film shoot in northern China." She paused, looking at me intently. "It's going to help heal the planet."
A few weeks after I started to drink the Kombucha Tea®, I felt like I'd been reborn. A few months after that, having thoroughly-researched the Kombucha's history, fed it to my pets and plants, and given Kombucha "babies" to friends, family, neighbors, and health-support groups, I was convinced I had to make this miracle available to everyone. In January of 1993, I opened Laurel Farms®.