Chico Garcia, a cheerleader never thought that wheelchair and wheat grass would be that essential to his life.
Garcia’s life took a new turn in 2011 as he lost his legs in a boating accident. The incident changed his life in many ways including some obvious obstacles he faces each day. Now, Garcia is the founder of Cajun Organics.
When Garcia who is 33-year-old became too frustrated of visting doctors again and again, getting therapis and medication, he changed his living completely. He researched foods and nutrients that could replace his medicines.
Garcia realised his problem that he doesn’t burn enough calories each day, so he turned to high nutritional food, low-cal food. And that’s how he stumbled upon wheat grass.
He started planting wheat grass. Later, he realised that he might not be the only person who need wheat grass. He left his job at Apple and decided to start his own organic food business. That’s how he started Cajun Organics.
After a few months of initiating his food business, he has lot more that just wheat grass. Currently, the company is offering wheat grass, salsa, filtered water, herbs, trail mix and almond butter.
To ensure that all the stuff is hundred percent organic, Cajun Organics don’t even keep a drop of pesticides or chemicals. All the plants are grown through using aquaponics method and Koi fish waste is used to feed the plants.
Being a college athlete, then a coach and practitioner of Jiu Jitsu, Garcia was living an active lifestyle, and he’s still mentally active today. Because of his activities, Garcia also had to live a healthy lifestyle.
“People are my thing, but now it’s basically providing those people with healthy solutions that are for the busy person that want to be healthy.”
Through working at Apple, Garcia met Lauren Cross, LSU public relations and religious studies senior. Garcia’s company along with his story immediately peaked her interest. Garcia hired Cross to be Cajun Organic’s marketing director. Cross is one of two employees plus two volunteers..
Cross says that as a public relations student, her efforts have been involved with companies and organizations with a similar goal behind them. Cross is involved in the local arts scene, especially in the North Gate area of Baton Rouge.
LSU took up a majority of Garcia’s life for 12 years. Garcia was hired his senior year as a cheerleading coach and retired after eight years following his accident. Now Garcia is on a new chapter in his life.
“I never thought in a million years that I would be growing grass,” Garcia said. “I’ve got a green thumb and I’m rolling with it. It’s my new kind of later in life hobby.”
His green thumb isn’t the only change Garcia has encountered since he became paralyzed.
Garcia said before his accident he thought he was a down-to-earth person, but looking back he sees that he was not as down to earth as he thought, and now he is. He referred to his previous lifestyle as somewhat flashy.
“Of course, boys and their toys,” he said. “I had all the toys — motorbikes, boats, dirt bikes, go-carts, four wheelers, you name it. I would get a toy, just to have a boy toy.”
Garcia said being confined to a wheelchair most of the time has made him more understanding and open-minded, less prone to flashes of anger, and more willing to help others.
For about two years after the boating accident, Garcia’s parents lived with him. Now he has his own nurse and a maid; his parents only visit for a few days at a time.
Garcia plans to move his business into a larger facility in Baton Rouge and hopes open more sites in Lafayette, New Orleans and, eventually, Florida.