Vision and Story

   “The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

~ Neil Gaiman

Film Noir_2

Developing a non-profit or hybrid model requires a comprehensive knowledge on the inner and outer workings of businesses, a prospect that I hadn’t truly considered until reading the articles for the assignment. The hybrid model was new for me, and I appreciated the fact that the model kept the non-profit company as well as started a for-profit subsidiary. I also could see the potential problems that a hybrid model might face in handling both a dedication to social mission and a need to maintain commercial revenue. I wondered what other companies that I admire – Whole Foods, Food52, REI, Athleta, to name a few – might potentially share similar models, assuming they do hold a non-profit subsidiary in their company.

I decided to hone in on Food52, a web-based company with headquarters in New York City, that has expanded from a collective of chefs, exchanging recipes, ideas, and support, to what is now a collaboration of cooks, makers, artisans, and bloggers from all over the country, all endorsing the mantra of Food52: “How you eat is how you live.” It is one of my favourite websites, and I have loved watching it expand immensely in these past few years. What I have noticed about the company, however, is that while the mission emphasizes the importance of supporting local businesses and independent artisans, not to mention the highlights of cooking memorably, there doesn’t appear to be a sector of the company dedicated to making lasting change in non-profit work. While I understand that this may not be a part of the company’s goal, I think that it would be an amazing opportunity to partner a love and appreciation for food with the ability to give back to the community with that very same thing: food.

A number of food bloggers, such as Yossy Arefi of the beautiful Apt.2B Baking Co. blog, have capitalized on this idea, promoting the idea of donating to food banks while sharing their own recipe ideas. And I believe that Food52 could benefit from this same idea, creating perhaps a non-profit subsidiary in the company that encourages ways to support providing clean water wells, balanced meals to people in need, or the sustainable production of food both nationally and globally. While Food52 is committed to finding ways of “going green” and making lasting environmental change, and I believe that they could add to their social mission by supporting non-profits. From reading about the hybrid model, the non-profit sector would face the challenges of committing to measurable goals, approving priorities for implementation, and, depending on how the internal and external environments change, revisiting strategies on an ongoing basis.

One of the points that stood out to me while reading the articles on the hybrid model was the necessity of the company’s commitment to integrate social and commercial value. I think that Food52 does a wonderful job of promoting the commercial value of its products, as well as the social value of sharing good food and memorable cooking experiences with others.  By encouraging a charitable purpose behind some of the commercial value of the product, or by partnering with non-profits both nationally and globally, the company might be able to further build an organizational culture that is committed to their mission statement: “How you eat is how you live.”

~ Goddess and the Baker, Chicago, Il