Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adventures in Social Entrepreneurship, week two: soaking it all up

We met for our second session last Tuesday to cook chicken enchiladas. We started the session by each sharing our progress on the weekly food goal we had set during the first session, while eating fresh guacamole and homemade tortilla chips for our snack. Participants reported doing pretty well on accomplishing their goals, though I’d still like to push everyone towards setting more specific goals. It’s a lot harder to keep track of whether or not you “ate healthy every day” than it is to measure if you “ate something green at every meal.” We took steps toward specificity at the end of session two when most people set goals around the number of glasses of water they’d like to drink per day during the upcoming week.

After talking through goals, our chef Christy led the curriculum which this week covered the distinction between whole and processed foods. We shared the simple rule of only eating foods that will eventually rot, inspired by Michael Pollan’s food rules, and then walked through the whole vs. processed distinction for three food categories: fats, grains, and sugars. After Christy covered health, nutrition, and cooking skills, Shalina, our food justice educator, talked to us about the proliferation of fast food chains in low-income neighborhoods. She shared personal stories about her daughter being attracted to the bright colors splashed all over fast food locations and used in the packaging of alcohol and tobacco products.

(Photo: Shalina talks through food justice challenges)

We then headed into the kitchen to cook chicken enchiladas, packed with veggies. Overall, session two flowed smoothly and gave us some great ideas for experiments we’ll conduct in session three that I can’t wait to share next week.

In the meantime, I thought this would be a great week to share some of the other experiences I’m having working for New Foundry Ventures. When I accepted this position in January, I never expected to be so fully immersed in the world of social entrepreneurship, outside the realm of New Foundry. I spend three days each week working out of the Hub SoMa which is a co-working space specifically for social ventures. With around 900 members, I find myself constantly meeting new people who are approaching social problems in innovative ways. It might make it a bit harder for me to get as much done each day but I’m learning so much and meeting inspiring people on a daily basis.

(Photo: Christy shows Chantelle H. a quick way to chop zucchini)

The Hub also hosts events that cover interesting topics and have led me to meet even more people that share my passions around food justice and sustainable agriculture. A few weeks ago the Hub hosted a book launch party celebrating Oran Hesterman’s book, Fair Food. The event was packed with people from social ventures in the food space. They hosted another food event recently on Wednesday, July 13th entitled, “Food, Farms, and the Future of Community,” organized by the FeelGood Speaker Series and featuring Michael Dimock, the President of Roots of Change. I feel pretty fortunate to be working in a space that attracts these events and speakers.

Stay tuned for next week when we experiment with selling our prepared meals directly to community members!

No comments: