After an extensive hiatus from publishing any writing, I feel it’s time to end that break. Last year was full of great growth and experience including some highlights of attending the Food Tank Summit, launching Marrow Market, and travel abroad. Now these may seem like at first read some strange, and quite unrelated events on the surface, but in reality they are greatly interconnected in building a further sustainable focus and global perspective.
Food, economic freedom, and health are all needs or necessities I believe should be highly valued and promoted. The decision to launch a business was incredibly pivotal and connected to my experience at Food Tank. Connecting with other individuals interested in influencing food systems and culture to promote sustainable health of individual, industry, and community was incredible motivating. Following this I also had the privilege to experience two weeks in Greece examining their food systems, communities and culture. Almost a year from these trips it’s time to forge ahead and share those experiences and the perspective that has continue to grow.
Just as voting is and should be, taken as an act of great consideration and civic duty I feel Sustainable Cyclist should follow suit. Although is not all dark and gloomy (there’s enough of that coming down the pipe) sometimes it’ll be a book review, others an openly rant on the facts and perhaps some recipes here and there from a new food endeavor!
Also included in this renewed focus is the original disclaimer that everything written will be expressed as my views and beliefs, BUT entirely backed by factual and vetted sources while also intended to spark conversation and healthy debate.
In the last year our country and culture has gone through some extreme changes. As a result the political, social, and literal climate are all in precarious and very pivotal positions. Sustainability is no longer a battle cry of the left or conservationists, but it must also be a modus operandi of all business endeavors based on the three pillars of social, economic, and environmental impact. I had the privilege of growing up in a household with parents in professions deeply rooted in science, my father a geneticist and my mother a nurse. Both of these lines of work on deeper levels also include these approaches to maintain social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
Sustainability is a word that I believe continues to increase in it’s colloquial use, but not necessarily with a true understanding of what it means. There are 3 pillars of sustainability in our current era often referred to loosely as the 3 Ps: people, planet, profits. A recent definition of the word sustainability describes “development that meets the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”.
One major problem that stems from this definition and the way it’s often interpreted is that our cultures idea of a “need” is detrimentally skewed. Our entitlement to convenience and instant gratification has replaced many “wants” with what we believe are needs. In the food system we continue to sacrifice true quality (nutritious as opposed to purely aesthetic) for the sake of cost or convenience. This translates into our health through settling for a lesser product because it’s cheaper, which in turn into our environment because we have to have avocados in Nebraska in January. Now to be clear I’m often also guilty of enjoying a banana or 5 in the winter, so I too am engrained into many of these cultural conveniences.
The overwhelming problem with sustainability that this renewed focus will center on is the idea that we need new solutions for problems we’re not actually wanting to solve. Innovation in vain is a waste of resources and inherently unsustainable. Business must continue to shift in the promotion of social, economic and environmental sustainability, with the hope to influence policy on a grand scale.
It’s time to start investing in ourselves through health, our communities through conscious capital and innovation, and our policy through a standard of character and integrity (not money).
I’m looking forward to continuing to share my experiences and information still from the perspectives of a cyclist, chef, student, entrepreneur and whatever other hat may come along. It will be often brutally honest, unapologetic, and always factual. There’s enough people straddling the fence, it’s time to promote character and quit “racking” ourselves. Feel free to call me out, drop me a line, or suggest any topics for discussion-as always I’m open to informed, intelligent, and real conversation.
Ad Astra Per Aspera