Guest post: a view from the industry of socially-minded business

By Posted in - Uncategorized on February 25th, 2010 1 Comments

Today, we have a guest post by Erica Dreisbach, who visited our store last May from Social Venture Network in California.

Here it is:

Walking into Open Produce is like giving yourself a present. From the great
lighting, to the friendly staff, to the shelves stacked high with ethnic and
organic stock, the experience is pure pleasure. You can find all sorts of
amazing treasures here for your home-cooked Mexican feast, fresh salad, or
sugary study break.

But Open Produce is also about giving the community and the Earth a
present. And the present is delicious.

I came to this Hyde Park gem the week after organizing and attending Social
Venture Network’s Annual Member Gathering (,
where we convened more than 200 socially- and environmentally-minded business
leaders. These innovators value both profit and mission, ensuring that
they’ll be in business for a long time to do work for the public benefit. It
also means that most profiteers think they’re crazy (for aligning business
decisions with the common good), and most do-gooders think they’re crazy
(for trying to make money).

“You two would have fit right in at the conference I was just at!” I told

I was delighted to spot a number of brands on the shelf whose leaders I’ve
met through work, like Annie’s Mac & Cheese, Stonyfield Farm, and Seventh
Generation. But not only does Open Produce stock nationally-known organic
and sustainable brands led by cool people, they also support small local
companies that sell ethnic food not available anywhere else in the area,
including products from all over the world. They invest in the local
community, whether it’s when Steven and Andrew are chatting with the truck
drivers, or on the phone with Nancy from Nancy’s Organic Yogurt, or
gossiping with their regulars or the guys at the dollar store one door down.
And their low prices mean they can bring affordable, whole, fresh food to
their neighbors.

“This is it, this is the real deal,” I thought. This is about a commitment
to building local, sustainable communities. This is about people and
companies working together to build a new kind of capitalism, one that puts
energy back into the planet, and brings whole and delicious things to our
lives and our dinner plates.

So give yourself a present, Hyde Park, and stop by Open Produce today!

Erica Dreisbach was, at the time of her visit, an art and techmancer for Social Venture Network, a national network of nearly 500 socially responsible business leaders who are working for a just and sustainable economy. Read more at

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