Blog

Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters

BabsonPledge.JPGWhen people ask about Food Sol – the first question is usually: What is an action tank? We call ourselves an action tank (versus a think tank) because our True North is positive action for food-system change. We were born out of, and live in a school of business and entrepreneurship, so we see the change as stemming from the marketplace.

As Gary Hirshberg says: "We vote at the cash register. We vote with every purchase."

Food entrepreneurs provide new options – e.g. grass-fed beef parked next to corn-fed – to the growing numbers of eaters who are fed up with status quo food.

There’s plenty of food education out there, but what good is it if we can’t eat our lessons?

Food Sol aims to help young entrepreneurs anchor themselves in the answers to two questions:

  1.       What do I care deeply about changing in this world?
  2.       What is the bite-sized action I can take now to begin?FoodDaylunch4.JPG

Answering the first requires getting in touch with the heart. No matter who you are, what you know, or where you come from: you are an eater first. So Food Sol opens new conversations with inquires like: “What is your earliest food memory?” and “Where are you on your food journey?” Responses tend to tap into food meta-values, the personal and primal convictions wired into all of us – e.g. desire for health, variety, flavor, connection, community, and culture.

Answering the second requires Entrepreneurial Thought and Action™, which students practice extensively in their coursework. In simplest form, the method is Act, Learn, Build. You act your way into a new way of thinking – not the other way around.

This approach is challenging for the food-focused entrepreneur because so much of the thought-leadership on food depicts vast, stalemated, complex messes. Knowing how to disaggregate the “mess” into deeply valued, bite-sized actions is how the entrepreneur moves forward, learns, and continues to build the change she wants to see in the world.

Bringing both love and business lenses to the table is a powerful one-two punch. It bridges the passion-talent gap, and assures both profit and purpose orientation. The entrepreneur cannot overlook the economic model if her offering is to become relevant to the marketplace.

Zimmern_students.JPGBabson Entrepreneur in Residence Andrew Zimmern said in a recent Facebook chat with food entrepreneurs all over the world:  “If I can help inspire new ways of thinking about old problems, bring some of what I experience [with Bizarre Foods] to the student body, and help Babson incubate ideas, then I am happy. I am approachable on any topic and am not going away after this year. Babson is stuck with me forever like a bad fungus."

Photo Credit: Rachel Greenberger

Rachel Greenberger is the Director of Food Sol at Babson College.

Do you like this post?

← More updates

Add your comment

    Review the site rules

Showing 37 reactions

commented 2012-11-30 10:43:11 -0500 · Flag
Food matters most when you are hungry and don’t have any. My 501(3)C intends to bring affordable food to Haiti, to sell in and with the profits to feed the indigent poor free. and more…..
@DunkTheJunkFood tweeted link to this page. 2012-10-22 06:16:49 -0400
[Countdown] ... 3 ... How come @babson + @foodday2012 matters? http://t.co/ygDWyBuI Please come to the table. w/ @andrewzimmern #BabsonFood
@emilyweiner tweeted link to this page. 2012-10-20 11:22:42 -0400
[Countdown] ... 3 ... How come @babson + @foodday2012 matters? http://t.co/ygDWyBuI Please come to the table. w/ @andrewzimmern #BabsonFood
@bhmbrooks tweeted link to this page. 2012-10-20 11:12:12 -0400
[Countdown] ... 3 ... How come @babson + @foodday2012 matters? http://t.co/ygDWyBuI Please come to the table. w/ @andrewzimmern #BabsonFood
@businessforfood mentioned @FoodDay2014 link to this page. 2012-10-20 09:26:14 -0400
[Countdown] ... 3 ... How come @babson + @foodday2012 matters? http://t.co/ygDWyBuI Please come to the table. w/ @andrewzimmern #BabsonFood
@SharafDabbagh tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-18 06:34:01 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, http://t.co/hdnmIRIp
@EntrepreneurUAE tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-18 06:02:01 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, http://t.co/hdnmIRIp
@BostonEco tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-13 12:51:31 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters written by @businessforfood http://t.co/e2vrnCDj
@lwanick2 tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-12 11:53:17 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters http://t.co/kSqef8zM @food_sol @businessforfood @babson
@BabsonMBA tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-12 11:30:32 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters http://t.co/kSqef8zM @food_sol @businessforfood @babson
@jeffhyde tweeted link to this page. 2012-09-10 09:05:24 -0400
Why #Food #Entrepreneurship Matters. http://t.co/ccH36doG "We see the change as stemming from the marketplace."
@dotterino mentioned @FoodDay2014 link to this page. 2012-08-31 09:11:31 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters http://t.co/HuGPbfc9 via @foodday2012
@Youthtrade tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-30 12:08:19 -0400
Love+Business Lens = Change. Beautiful Living Case = @youthtrade In #food, this is the most powerful force we've got: http://t.co/ygDWyBuI
@businessforfood tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-30 11:06:27 -0400
Love+Business Lens = Change. Beautiful Living Case = @youthtrade In #food, this is the most powerful force we've got: http://t.co/ygDWyBuI
@michelejmartin tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-30 10:52:11 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, from #foodday2012 blog: http://t.co/E7JHde2K @businessforfood @foodday2012
@LiliaSmelkova mentioned @FoodDay2014 link to this page. 2012-08-30 10:50:45 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, from #foodday2012 blog: http://t.co/E7JHde2K @businessforfood @foodday2012
@Cohort112 tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-29 16:06:52 -0400
@ShaunCoffey tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-29 16:03:44 -0400
@thebarefootceo tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-29 16:01:10 -0400
@businessforfood tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-29 13:52:22 -0400
@gary_hirshberg @stonyfield You're quoted! "Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters" http://t.co/ygDWyBuI On @foodday Blog CC @food_sol @babson
@FarmerEllis tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-29 13:06:29 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters http://t.co/BavSzaEE via @foodday2012 #FOODday2012 #babson @businessforfood NICE
@DunkTheJunkFood mentioned @FoodDay2014 link to this page. 2012-08-29 10:39:12 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters http://t.co/BavSzaEE via @foodday2012 #FOODday2012 #babson @businessforfood NICE
@eab1101 retweeted @FoodDay2014 2012-08-28 19:55:56 -0400
R. Greenberger of @businessforfood on Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, @food_sol, & @andrewzimmern http://t.co/3NMG22Ot
@MightyMiles tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-28 17:09:03 -0400
Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters - Food Day http://t.co/pJG8vpNT
@bbell6 tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-28 14:54:03 -0400
Ha ha. "Babson is stuck with me forever like a bad fungus." says @andrewzimmern http://t.co/6jygZFwx @babson @businessforfood
@austinfoodlab mentioned @FoodDay2014 link to this page. 2012-08-28 13:29:03 -0400
Rachel Greenberger at Babson is all about food entrepreneurship. http://t.co/K5cTzfIo via @foodday2012
@BabsonCollegePR tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-28 11:58:54 -0400
@FoodDayMA tweeted link to this page. 2012-08-28 11:23:14 -0400
@usaameal retweeted @FoodDay2014 2012-08-28 11:14:31 -0400
R. Greenberger of @businessforfood on Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, @food_sol, & @andrewzimmern http://t.co/3NMG22Ot
@havell22 retweeted @FoodDay2014 2012-08-28 11:11:46 -0400
R. Greenberger of @businessforfood on Why Food Entrepreneurship Matters, @food_sol, & @andrewzimmern http://t.co/3NMG22Ot
1  2  Next →