Consumers seek affordable luxuries even as they trim their budgets elsewhere. Food entrepreneurs are paying attention, and the recent Good Food Festival in Chicago brought together thousands of growers, chefs, marketing companies, buyers and consumers—a global farmers market.
A recent New York Times Magazine article called “Don’t Mock the Artisanal Pickle Makers” by Adam Davidson, noted that “craft businesses may portend the future of the U.S economy.” We met some of these “hipster capitalists:”
Kevin Sabo of Chicago was in the plumbing supply business and getting an MBA when he found himself in an exciting new food start-up start-up called Tiny But Might Popcorn.
Joel and Leticia Pollock bring the art of roasting coffee beans to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Their coffee house, Panther Coffee, is located in the nerve center of Art Basel Miami every December but it provides a community gathering place all year round.
Lee Greene of Chicago used her MBA in marketing and strategy, her work as a management consultant and a six year apprenticeship in at a winery to she help Midwestern family farms create jams, sauces and pickles that are affordable luxuries for people who appreciate good food with her Scrumptious Pantry products.
There is also an emerging movement of people want don’t just want to buy organic, healthy food; they want to grow it. According to Yes! Magazine, at a Mother Earth News Fair in Seattle, Washington, “more than 10,000 attended workshops on everything from canning to beekeeping to building the perfect chicken coop.”
Veterans are also finding the challenges and satisfaction of farming can provide a natural transition away from combat, providing a mission to fulfill the needs of a community for food and self-sufficiency. Veterans who want to transition into careers as farmers are getting help from a growing number of projects around the country including the Farmer-Veteran Coalition(FVC); and the University of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture’s Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots program.