SoCo Tahini, created in 2017 by Goni Light, her partner, Yonatan Sela, and Dana Harary, works to seed healthy change in kitchens and communities through its plant-based, non-GMO and kosher tahini, and partnerships in several countries.
Standing for Seeds of Collaboration, SoCo Tahini gives a percentage of its revenue to an organization called MEET, or Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow, an educational initiative founded in 2004 by two MIT alumni that connects young Israeli and Palestinian students using technology and entrepreneurship.
But that isn’t the only cross-country collaboration that comes out of SoCo – the company itself uses tahini producers in Israel and Palestine. And on the leadership level, Light and Sela continue to live in Israel and the United States. Harary moved to Lyndhurst in 2019 to head up sales and marketing operations stateside.
Harary’s parents live in Northeast Ohio and attend Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood. Her family is rounded out by her significant other, Oz Yavin, and children, Elai, 7, Libbie, 5, and Neri, 2, who all attend the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood.
“We’re trying to get people to talk and collaborate, and hopefully have a better world one day,” Harary, 44, said. “It’s a bigger purpose, but we’re trying. Everything we do tries to have some kind of collaboration with other communities and set an example of being able to live together and thrive together. And then in the middle is our amazing tahini, which is super delicious.”
Certified kosher by Hatam Sofer and OK Kosher, Harary said creating SoCo was about finding a common ground.
“Tahini is a pantry staple not only in Israeli homes but also in the Mediterranean,” she said. “It’s a Middle Eastern staple. So, this is something that would bring people together because everyone loves tahini. This is something that we love, that everyone loves and it can be a common ground. It can bring people together.”
As a self-proclaimed tahini lover, Harary said producing good-tasting and “innovative” tahini that everyone can enjoy is a big part of SoCo’s mission. But the nonprofit boots-on-the-ground work is equally, if not more, meaningful.
“We feel our philosophy is that food should taste good and it should do good,” she said. “A real reason to make and to do what we’re doing, something that is not only giving us something delicious but having an impact on the world we’re living in, to me that is super important. It is what keeps me going. It’s great to have a good product, but to do something extra and to create a better world for our children – that is the bigger picture.”
Hoping that SoCo can help put tahini on the map internationally, Harary said her favorite part is the passion inside of every jar.
“I was in the food industry in Israel for some time as a marketeer,” she said. “I’ve been in product development and advertising, and have done things in big corporate spaces. But right now, what I’m doing at the moment is super exciting. Being able to try and create change, and to be innovative and see the fruits of what we’re seeding.”
SoCo Tahini can be purchased on the brand’s website, eatsoco.com, as well as Amazon and Walmart’s websites.