Profile On: Buttermilk Mountain

As a parent of a child with disabilities, thinking about your child’s future after you are gone might seem overwhelming — and even a bit scary. You might be left to wonder how your child will be cared for and what they will do in the wake of something happening to you.   

When a friend asked Jodi Maslanka, founder and executive director of Buttermilk Mountain, what will happen to her disabled son if something happens to her, Maslanka set to work helping her friend find an answer. This question was the catalyst for creating Buttermilk Mountain, a company that makes all-natural pumpkin dog treats created by people with disabilities.   

What inspired you to start Buttermilk Mountain?  

Maslanka: As a financial planner in Chicago, I wrote in my business plan: “At the end of the day, I want to feel like I helped someone.” When my friend asked me what will happen to her son with disabilities if something happens to her, I wanted to help her. So, we set up a special needs trust, funded it with life insurance and explored group homes. At the end of the day, she was so grateful, and I felt like I had helped someone. I became a special care planner. I am now retired and living in Indianapolis. But I still want to help families with disabilities. Buttermilk Mountain is my contribution to the special needs community. 

What is your mission?  

Buttermilk Mountain’s mission is to make sure people with disabilities are taken care of in the future and have fun along the way. Buttermilk Mountain sells Buttermilk’s Biscuits, dog treats made by adults with disabilities. I rent a church kitchen. Day programs for people with disabilities bring their clientele to make the biscuits as a community outing. The bakers learn to work as a team and follow directions. They wash the dishes, sweep the floor (we’ve been known to have flour fights) and wipe the tables. My hope is that learning these skills will help the bakers gain employment. 

Who do you serve and how can people get involved?  

The biscuits are sold at farmers markets, craft shows and pet expos. Profits pay for fun events. Buttermilk Mountain hosts Baskets & Blues [people with disabilities play basketball one-on-one with IMPD officers] in the winter and a picnic in the summer. Cheese and Thank You, a food truck run by adults with disabilities, provides lunch. 

What else should our readers know about Buttermilk Mountain and the work you do?   

I hope Buttermilk Mountain is changing the lives of people with disabilities. I know they have changed mine. 

When Michaela, a 25 year old autistic woman, came to make biscuits, she was very quiet and worked at a table by herself. One day, she asked if she could help me sell the biscuits at the farmers markets. I assumed she would sit and watch me. Turns out Michaela talks to everyone. She is a great salesperson. It was a side to her that no one had seen. She started participating with the team and has made friends with other bakers. Michaela now has a job at UpTown Pup, a dog daycare in Indianapolis. 

Hanna is in a wheelchair. She has trouble using her muscles. Her parents approached me about wanting to get her out in the community, but not knowing how. I told them to bring her to the farmers markets. To help her feel like part of the team, I would give her a customer’s change to hand to them. One day, I was talking to someone, not paying attention, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a customer buy two bags. [A bag of 10 biscuits sells for $5 because the bakers can count by 5s.] He handed Hanna a $20 bill. Hanna handed him $10 back. OMG, Hanna can make change! I made her Director of Finance.  

How can people buy Buttermilk Mountain dog biscuits? 

The biscuits are “Made With Pride … Not Perfection.” You can buy them online at, or at farmers markets and pet expos. New bakers are always welcome! 

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