I’m at my best when surrounded by interesting people. When I say interesting, I mean people interested in something…passionate and searching. The high school teacher that dressed in elaborate costumes to bring to life a history with application to the present, the neighborhood friend that spent all summer at the public library researching the migration patterns of the Sandhill Crane and wondering out loud about what guided them, or my grandfather who was not a botanist, but often stopped on the side of the highway to get out and examine the seeds of local crops. It was the enthusiasm and magnetism of these individuals that sparked my desire to seek out and help create environments where such curiosity-fueled minds can thrive.
The social miasma of my undergraduate experience built on this legacy and revealed a community of searchers stitched together with a shared vision. But after graduation I found myself in unfamiliar territory, the American suburbs – a world lacking the networks and kinship required to motivate and move its members. The suburbs by definition are separate, and this detachment from the center molds all of its parts; wide manicured lawns, roomy SUV’s, and neighbors at a comfortable distance. Now, I’m sure these “interested” people did exist, but our hamlet lacked the venues to create the allure needed to draw us together. This absence led me to the discovery of other outlets for those infected with a constant curiosity…5 AM bird watching sessions with eccentrics wanting to glimpse an Arcadian Fly Catcher, mushroom forays into the Appalachian Mountains for the Chanterelles that led to edifying conversations, or slam poetry events at an out-of-the-way coffee shop that drew a motley crowd of people hungry to speak and be heard. As I became more integrated into these communities, I found that there is a tremendous need for such outlets. I’ve watched new, forward-thinking movements like TED, Meetup, and Coursera spread across the globe, starting with a single community seeking opportunities to connect through learning and discovery. These movements illustrate the gap between what people want and what’s available in current markets, and out of that gap, innovative business opportunities arise.
It was in this crucible that Grit Grocery was born – a community driven approach to food discovery in which one not only interacts directly with the food heading to their table, but with neighbors, often strangers living a wall away, who are engaging in this same intimate practice of preparing a meal for their own families. It is in these connections, these seemingly insignificant interactions, that continue to drive Grit forward. Grit’s not just about food, it’s about reconnecting with a world of people searching for something different.