Realizing the Lowcountry Street Grocery Model

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Ever since I envisioned the Lowcountry Street Grocery model, there have been doubts, questions, ambiguity, and confusion surrounding what it is we do and how it is we expect to successfully do just that.  All of that is to be expected with a start-up.  But in our case, these questions are more than expected, they’re ubiquitous.  They’re interwoven into every single day’s activities.  Even within us as a unit.  We’re out on a limb, attempting to accomplish something in a way that isn’t necessarily common.  Addressing healthy food access in surrounding food deserts through traditional business tools?  Simultaneously operating a small farm and working a full time job?  Starting an ambitious and demanding organization from the ground up?  “Ha..yeah right” they say.  It’s easy to say “Welp, it’s simple.  We’re basically going to leverage consumer demand in order to meet a dire community need.” Much easier than it is to drive home the nuts and bolts of a nascent and novel business model to someone that only has a few minutes to hear your idea.  I would be skeptical myself. Sometimes I still am, its natural at this stage.  Since we are firmly in the stages of business planning and business development, we constantly ride the highest roller coaster.  The scary one ya know, the one with the highest climbs and the lowest dips.

Just a few days ago, I found myself at the top of a climb, seemingly out of nowhere.  I had just a few minutes to breathe, and take the already long day in before putting my head down and getting back to work.  Something, a feeling, overcame my entire person.  A feeling I had been searching for, for two years now.  It was a consolatory, emotional stream of consciousness that literally brought me to the ground.  This was more than the light at the end of the tunnel, it was my vision offered up on a silver platter.

 

Today, I paused for great reflection and was struck with an overwhelming and humbling admiration for the dedication of our team after coming to the realization that the model I conceptualized exactly two years ago, had just been practiced in full.  We harvested our very own produce and sold it in a low-income market at reduced prices.  Prices that were ultimately subsidized by innovative revenue streams from wealthy markets and restaurant sales that we have fostered.  Leftover produce was “rescued” via both restaurant sales and sponsored distribution to community members.  Today, for the first time, Lowcountry Street Grocery was in every aspect, true to form. This is precisely what we have worked so hard to accomplish.  Moments like these make the maniacal last two years worth every single drop of blood, sweat, and tear.  3/29/2015

I consider myself lucky to have actualized this.  When you’re squarely focused on the end goal, these moments of growth and enlightenment can pass right by you, no matter how big or small.  I consider myself even more lucky to have such an unbelievable supporting cast, past and present. There is no way in the world that any of this would be possible without them.

Kate DeWitt, Briana Bethea, Allen Martin, Becky Burke, Jamie Fitzpatrick,  Elizabeth Wagoner, Liz Hodges, Maryanna Nale, Leah Puro, Dustin Merva, Kurtis Bishop, TJ Morris, Todd Chas. Thank you.