Tribeca Citizen | Here Come the Granologists
The nonprofit Luv Michael, which employs people with autism to make nut- and gluten-free granola, is moving into 42 Walker. Besides a kitchen, there will be a store selling the granola.The organization is named after (and inspired by) Michael Kessaris. “Luv Michael is part of an inevitable wave of career-finding solutions for those, like Michael, living with Autism,” says the website. “With the disability affecting 1 in 68 births and rising, employment for the maturing Autistic population has become an increasingly significant challenge for many. […] Finding a career was not easy for Michael, a Port Washington, NY native. Despite his love of cooking, Michael was unable to enroll in culinary school without a high school diploma. Michael’s parents, both physicians, Lisa Liberatore, MD and Dimitri Kessaris, MD, helped create the food based business so that their son and others with Autism would not be a burden on society or limited in their potential to lead happy and productive lives. […] Luv Michael provides a therapeutic employment environment, which caters to the special needs of the employable Autistic person. Luv Michael now employs over 10 full time granologists that provide fresh granola to Starbucks, JetBlue, Fresh and Co, D’Agostino Supermarkets, Gristedes Neighborhood Grocers, Wild By Nature and over 60 other retailers.”
They’re hoping to be ready by late summer or early fall.