In my workout reading I came across a delicious story about edible landscapes for an entire town. This is the brainchild of Pam Warhurst of Todmorden, England (a town in northern England with a population of 16,000 people). Pam attended an environmental conference where participants were prompted to start thinking differently about how to treat our environment. After thinking on it, Pam went to a friend with what she called the “wackiest” idea: making every available land space in the town a place to grow food. Fortunately her friend agreed with her idea. They sent out flyers requesting townspeople attend a meeting where the idea was announced. To her surprise 60 people showed up to the meeting and agreed to volunteer to turn their town into an edible landscape. Visit the website www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk to get the full breadth of this project.
The idea of edible landscapes has my mind reeling with the possibilities in my own neighborhood. For years I have planned to open a natural food store with a café (Organic Soul Foods). This March I will begin my crowdfunding campaign to prompt friends and family and friends and family of my friends and family to donate to this idea. When I think of this business idea it too is wacky because in many ways my neighborhood does not fit the suggested demographics to open a natural foods store. I met with a businessman who looked over my business plan, and he emphasized the need to be clear on who my customers are. In Pam Warhurst’s TED Talk she emphasized that small acts are not insignificant. Small acts can be the catalyst for real change. I say that if we ever want our communities to be healthier and more vibrant than we have to think of ourselves in different ways too. We can’t just go by what we think customers want based on what they buy in our neighborhoods. You can’t buy organic fruits and vegetables if they aren’t sold anywhere in your neighborhood. Think of it, there was not a market for smartphones before IPhone. Why? Simple, there can’t be market for something that does not exist.
John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, stated in an interview that when Whole Foods began organic foods’ sales was only 5%; now they’re 50% of sales. He claims the growth in organic foods’ sales in large part is due to educating the consumer. A large part of Organic Soul Foods mission will be the continuous education of ourselves/ consumers. I believe when given the opportunity to eat foods that makes one feel good, most will take it. I applaud Pam Warhurst and her incredible edible town, and hope one day that it can be said that Organic Soul Foods brought the same value to my community as she has brought to hers.
Until next Sunday,