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Mike Fata was a school dropout at age 13 and nearly 300 pounds by age 18, living on a diet of junk food and self-pity. He recounts his personal journey of transformation, including how he became one of the largest purveyors of hemp around the world, a health advocate and mentor to new entrepreneurs.

Growing up in a single-parent household with no money to spare after bills, Mike Fata developed survival instincts. These helped both his enormous entrepreneurial success and his complete health transformation he shares on this episode of Chatter That Matters.

At age 13, Fata dropped out of school to help support his family. He grew to nearly 300 pounds by the time he turned 18. He speaks with Tony Chapman about how physically and mentally difficult it was being obese. One day, he decided to take control of his health by working out with his brother and adopting a new diet to lose weight.

Misinformed by the ‘no fat’ diet trends of the mid-1990s, Fata learned the hard way that good fats are essential to overall health. A lightbulb went off when he read, Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, a book about the importance of good fats, and reveals one of the best sources of essential fatty acids: hemp. As hemp wasn’t available in Canada (its association with cannabis left a lingering stigma), Fata saw — and seized — an opportunity.

Fata chats with Chapman about how he started with one farmer, one oil press and one health food store and grew his business, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, one customer at a time. He chats about what it takes to be a visionary, and shares his biggest mistakes, toughest negotiations, and biggest ideas, that ultimately turned his hemp start-up into a $500 million business.

Having exited the business in 2019, Fata discusses his ongoing passion for helping Canadians lead healthier lives, and for mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Fata & Fleishman Mentorship Project — a partnership with fellow natural food entrepreneur Greg Fleishman — is just one way he is delivering on his passion and purpose to help make the world a better place.

Tony Chapman created the Chatter That Matters podcast to counter the storm of negativity and impossibility with true stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. He chats with Olympians, Advocates, Celebrities, Leaders, and people who battled what seemed like insurmountable odds.

In doing, listeners hear life lessons that inspire all of us to do more and to be more, to help us get to where we need, want and deserve to go. RBC is the presenting sponsor

To listen to this show, go to, download Chatter That Matters at I Heart Radio (or wherever you get your podcasts), or tune in Fridays at noon to these radio stations:

  • Newstalk 1010, Toronto
  • CFRA 580 Ottawa
  • CJAD 800 Montreal
  • CJBK 1290 London
  • Newstalk 610 St. Catharine’s
  • CKLW 800 Windsor
  • CKFR 1150 Kelowna
  • CFAX 1070 AM Victoria
  • Or Fridays at 8 p.m. on BNN Bloomberg CFTE 1410 Vancouver