Farm To Fork Sourcing

"small BIG steps"

Posted January 1, 2013

I would like to share a personal philosophy (as a chef, father & husband), which shapes my daily approach to wellness. It’s a simple idea with BIG IMPACT – called “small BIG steps.”

“small BIG steps” applies to all genre & hopefully inspires your personal call to action; as you look to make an impact on wellness locally, regionally or nationally. This philosophy details how to become involved & get started.

The goal of “small BIG steps” is two-fold and what I strive for each and every day. In a lot of respects, it’s about taking what we inherit and making it better.

  • 1) Cultivate and teach people (especially kids) a connection to their food, environment & wellness
  • 2) Food is about caring! demonstrate that we value people, value health through our positive actions and forward thinking food innovation and programs. For me, serving the culinary arts & serving people is what makes me tick

The idea is to take small, focused steps charting a perpetual strategic course for wellness. Don’t try to conquer the world in 1 day or with 1 project. Remember, impacting wellness is a process – so be passionate, be resilient, be smart. You will change lives (yourself included). YOU are the tipping point – that magical moment when an idea, belief or social behavior tips and spreads like wildfire. Your small, focused steps can cause a beautiful shift in thinking and influence your community and well beyond. Think of yourself as an influencer, sparking that tipping point.

So how do you influence wellness? Well on the positive side, food is the 1 shared thing that affects all of our lives; touching our daily decision making, moods and memories. There is a wonderful dynamic of more attention being placed on our food, now more than ever. However; the message around wholesome food is extremely cluttered, conflicting and mixed to say the least. It is hard to know what to believe, where to get informed information and how/where to start when you are ready to become involved.

Start by focusing your thoughts into 3 simple steps on the path to BIG.

the WHY – the HOW – the RESULT

Ask yourself WHY I want to become involved: perhaps… You have a sincere desire to share your passion around wellness & you want to make a lasting difference

  • change has to start somewhere – why not with a passionate, well intentioned person

Step up and voice the need for change

Transform & optimize the food and wellness experiences of people

It’s about impacting people – when you connect with people there are powerful solutions Cultivate positive change

Generate educated awareness

Impact sustainability, now & future

Create a localized food system

Address and impact food allergies & childhood obesity

Break down barriers

  • the myriad of obstacles with local foodservice distribution on a small/large scale
  • people don’t have access to wholesome food
  • people simply don’t understand what they put in their bodies
  • healthy food has a stigma of expensive
  • healthy food has a stigma of being bland
  • $$$ drives the decision making & local/state/federal laws

So HOW do you go about cultivating change: perhaps… Find out who is leading wellness initiatives in your town, region or state; introduce yourself and articulate your intentions.

  • You will typically discover like minded people, motivated by the very same things you are Take small, focused steps
  • Take your idea and start small, growing the scope & impact naturally over time. Rushing to the end goal will only erode the strength & sustainability of the original intention
  • Make your idea & goals manageable for you and all those involved
  • Be clear on your vision and execute the wise adage of plan your work & work your plan
  • Rely on the insight that a focused idea initiated slowly & strategically can bring people together (without alienating those opposed to change) and have a huge impact Share your passion
  • The giving of one’s’ time, talent & passion is one of the greatest gifts we can share
  • Start small & donate your time to an area you have strong passion for. Simply share your energy and inspire people
  • Become an organizing & energizing force – and thus an indispensible resource Inspire your community
  • Plant a garden (and teach people) at a school, retirement home, neighborhood
  • Start a blog
  • Join a local organization & share your thinking
  • Sign up for a CSA and make a lifelong friend with a farmer
  • Buy-grow-eat local
  • Visit a farmers market or farm & share the experience with 5 people
  • Recycle or compost
  • Volunteer! Teach
  • Lead a community nature walk – experience nature
  • Speak at local or national forums
  • Organize after school cooking classes for parents & kids
  • Join your school health advisory council & guide food & wellness policies
  • Showcase local food in your restaurant (connect chefs & farmers) – tell patrons the story behind the food they enjoy at your operation

Cultivate & teach people (especially kids) a connection to their food, environment & wellness

Food is caring! Commitment!

Focus on FLAVOR

  • Make healthy taste great; deliver craveable food & create excitement around food. If food is not appealing or does not taste good – it’s not healthy; meaning if it goes in the garbage then the message is being missed & the nutrition is not going into our bodies
  • Great food is not only satiating for the palate but it nurtures the soul
  • When you strip every conversation away from food – it all comes down to FLAVOR. Create excitement around FLAVOR!!!
  • It all starts with the soil; the soil the farmer nurtures to create what we place in our bodies = FLAVOR
  • The freshly picked (never refrigerated tomato) from your farmer = FLAVOR
  • Starting a home garden or school garden = FLAVOR
  • Energizing kids in schools (at any age) to embrace healthy eating = FLAVOR
  • Your memories around food = FLAVOR
  • A successful restaurant or foodservice operation = FLAVOR
  • When you go out to eat you desire = FLAVOR
  • When you take time/energy/$$ to shop for groceries & cook a home meal = FLAVOR

Focus on the positives and override the negatives

  • Change is inevitable but growth is optional the saying goes. Change is a given, but it is a path laden with barriers & is hard to say the least. Following the status quo is an easy route. Positive growth takes desire, discipline & resiliency. You will need to determine the direction, set the pace & applaud the spirit
  • Bring solutions and be part of positive change & a shift in thinking!
  • Enhance the existing rather than focusing on what has been wrong; smartly moving forward vs. entrenching in the past Inspire people vs. inspiring a system
  • Be collaborative, applaud the spirit of those around you
  • Educate yourself & walk a mile in another’s shoes to gain a richer perspective
  • Engaging people in this process is the key – remember, people are the tipping point
  • It is much easier to impact a person then impact a multi-layered system. I go directly to the person. I am not saying don’t try to directly work with a local/state/federal system, but rather let your passionate connection to people fuel & influence that change
  • Your inspired passion will lead people to spread that enthusiasm, compounding it exponentially – be the SOLUTION

What can be the RESULT & impact of your influence: you have…

Created a positive, perpetual shift in thinking and in your community – a 360° connection

  • When people are lead to their own wellness decisions, they become more informed and thus transformed
  • Leading people to their own conclusions (much like in education) vs. telling someone what to think is a powerful approach in generating change Enhanced integrated learning on wellness
  • Moved just past dialogue – your wonderful action has taken focused steps in a new and positive direction
  • Introduced positive change for the betterment of yourself and others • Impacted long-term sustainability
  • Empowered minds
  • Developed healthy communities
  • Brought to fruition wholesome food available for all
  • Brought clarity to muddled issues
  • Changed your life & the lives of others

I encourage you to start your own “small BIG steps” inspiring yourself and others

Enjoy the journey!

Contact ATE to have a conversation and learn how we may join passions; crafting a partnership that raises the bar.

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