How food found its way into our business model
It was an interesting meeting we had shortly after arriving in Cape Town, understanding that if we want to have environmental friendly fabric from South Africa we’d need to produce it ourselves. We decided on onboarding this journey and soon started dreaming about having sheep farms in the future and creating an ecosystem around such a farm for the people involved in the textile process of GreyC2.
In the process of talking about an ecosystem Rebecca asked if there was the possibility to do something about food in that ecosystem. The very encouraging answer was: “If you want to, why not!?”
From ‘Why not?!’ to ‘Why yes!’
Similar to the everyday decision of what clothes to put on, there is also the everyday decision of what to eat. And just as we want to raise more awareness about environmental friendly and sustainable fashion, we also started challenging the way we pick the food we eat. And to start off with this, it’s not our intention that you should ask yourself questions like “Burger or salad?”, instead it’s about getting a holistic view of the undeniable relevance of food in our lives and how it affects not only our body but also our mind.
You can start off with doing an exercise and answer the question of “Why do I need to eat?”. Repeat this why-question four more times (-e.g., your answer could have been “to stay alive”, so follow up with “Why do I need to stay alive?” and so on…)
We saw the relevance to also look further into what role the processing of food could play in our ecosystem which started off as being solely around clothing. Working around food is a field we have a certain expertise in since we experience it on a daily bases in the form of eating (…), it’s on everybody’s lips (literally) and we have a person on the team passionate about cooking who lives much by the motto that ‘eating is a necessity, but cooking is art’. So we went for it.
Food is love. Food is life.
In the textile unit we are building, we want the people who produce our clothes to be engaged in the entire production process – from getting the raw material to manufacturing the final product. Similar to that, we want to build up a food unit. We would like the people who work in it to understand where the ingredients they process come from, know what a balanced diet means and how to prepare meals accordingly. Furthermore, we want the products we use to be locally sourced, seasonal and organic in order to reduce the negative impact on the environment (e.g. use of chemicals and CO2 emission) to a minimum. With people having this understanding, we believe food can become much more than a necessity, but a powerful tool to promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Sharing what we do with others
Providing food for our ecosystem was a good start, the next challenge was about how we can engage the local environment. Since we want to use as few resources as possible (struggle of an entrepreneur) we are thinking about getting a food truck to sell food at events in the area (such as local markets) and doing catering as well as getting food bikes for food deliveries.
And here comes the best part: Calculating a budget for all the things regarding food we were surprised that the food unit could be considered a separate business. We would of course keep it as part of GreyC2 but it should be considered as a self-sustaining unit, especially budget wise.
To wrap it up with a thought from Rebecca: “It’s amazing how things develop! I joined GreyC2 not knowing what it would lead to as I never saw myself engaging in the field of fashion on the long run. And here I am, developing part of the business with something my heart beats for since I’m a child: Cooking! To me, cooking is one of the most creative ways to express myself and the best reason to gather people at a table - good food equals good mood. Picking ingredients, cooking, eating – just food in general - is something beautiful and having people share this passion became one of my life missions.