Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category
Our ambitious ethos has garnered quite a bit of attention since our IndieGoGo campaign launched us into the public spotlight just about three years ago. People from across the globe applauded our efforts to reduce food-related waste in the grocery industry by pioneering a “package free” model. It’s been almost two years of holding close to our original, idealistic vision of a different kind of grocery store, and though the response from the community – near and far – has remained positive and supportive, the numbers from our first 21 months of business paint a different picture than we had hoped.
Rather than give up and lament the impossibility of a perfect package free grocery model, we are narrowing our focus to three things we know we do well: zero waste, local food, and community. As a result, we hope to remain a part of the sustainable food movement, a part of this vibrant and growing city, and a part of this dynamic, diverse community on Manor Road. We plan to bend so as not to break, pivot to not fall, and innovate towards what’s pioneering but not impossible.
In practice, this shift means discontinuing a portion of our bulk section to make room for some new offerings. Our updated guiding principles look like this:
Zero waste: We average less landfill waste per month than an American averages per day!
Local food: As a hub for quality local products, we champion small farms and producers and promote local, seasonal eating. Some might say we have farmers market offerings with grocery store hours.
Community: Community gatherings – formal and informal, educational and social – are a regular happening around here. Plus, we love to partner with and support like-minded businesses and organizations that are also committed to a greener, more just world.
Still have some questions? Check out our updated FAQ page. We hope you’ll rally behind us as we make these changes and help us stick around for the duration.
The in.gredients Team
Last night we were lucky enough to play host to a crowd of intelligent, motivated, and committed environmentalists with one thing in common: a dedication to the human consumption of bugs. Recently we published a blog post explaining why we are jumping into the world of entomophagy (pun intended). Last night’s inspired and informed guests, curious (and pleasantly surprised!) first-time bug-eaters, and general spirit of collaboration and optimism, affirmed our commitment to this growing movement.
In the buzz of last night’s event preparation, Harman from World Ento turned to in.gredients for a simple teriyaki sauce to use in his cricket cooking demo. Erica, a veteran team member and the creative force behind our weekly salads (among other things), sprang into action and pulled together this impromptu “bug sauce.” To say the crowd was impressed and pleased with the results is an understatement.
Well, here’s the recipe, by popular demand!
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tsp ground giner
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- Combine all the ingredients except the oil
- Drizzle the sesame oil into the mixture while whisking to emulsify.
- Enjoy! On crickets, a salad, chicken, or stir-fry!
Looking for a gift this holiday season? If you’re hoping to stick with local gifts this year we have a great idea for you. Our holiday gift baskets are full of local goodies, wrapped in reusable containers, and crafted to make your holidays full of joy.
We love options, so we have a tea themed basket and a coffee themed basket. Check out the pictures below for more details.
They’re available in.store now, happy holidays!
in.gredients Coffee Holiday Basket
in.gredients Tea Holiday Basket
At in.gredients, you don’t have to stress over product labels. We make finding healthy food with pure ingredients easy for our customers by, well, only selling healthy food with pure ingredients.
While many stores sell healthy food with “real” ingredients, few will carry only real foods. It’s common to have to constantly read product labels to make sure you’re buying something without artificial fillers or color dyes, since real foods are mixed with other products that wouldn’t fit the same bill.
We want to make it easy for you to shop at our store – easy to make good decisions. So we’ve weeded out what’s not “real” (for our definition of that, read here). Having a small store helps a lot with that. Don’t worry, we’ll still have product labels – but you won’t have to read them to learn what chemicals you’re eating.
(image: Patrick Lane Photography)
According to the The New York Times, while “local farm sales are becoming more stable, predictable, and measurable,” big agriculture’s struggling to find labor, causing its price advantage over locally-grown food to slowly shrink. Indeed, the local food movement‘s creating a “vibrant new economic laboratory for American agriculture.” Just another reason to, as they say, “go local”!
We’re looking forward to supporting local food producers when we open. Soon.
(image: Napa Farmhouse)
Christopher’s an all-star developer and partner/consultant with Praecipio Consulting and a part of in.gredients‘ founding team.
Basic programming: how computers make decisions
Computers are great at solving certain problems – and terrible at solving others.
In its classic model the computer was programmed to make a “choice” given a set of rules that are obeyed. If anything changed, a program wasn’t equipped to adapt. This is great if the computer is, for example, playing chess – it just needs to know the few million possible configurations, play out every game to the end in its head, and choose the move that means it’s most likely to win.
Many computer programs implement an algorithm or a repeatable set of “choices.” They aren’t really choices, though, because the computer will choose the same way every time. To get a program to behave a particular way it has to be programmed to pick exactly the right path. For example, if you’re hungry, get some food – unless you have to go to the bathroom, and in that case go to the bathroom first. Given this flow, the program will never consider if the house is on fire and will burn up. It will also never deviate from its path even if what it “chooses” doesn’t make sense given the bigger picture.
What’s behavioral programming, and why’s it different?
Behavioral programming, however, is bio-mimicry – a way of programming computers to act more like plants and animals so they’re better suited to adapt to change. A set of behaviors are programmed in and depending on the most pressing need, a behavior emerges. Think of The Sims. If you’re hungry, go get food. But if you have to go to the bathroom food may need to wait… that is, unless the house is on fire. You’re still limited by the behaviors you’ve learned, but are more free to choose which behavior best fits your current environment. As the environment changes, so may the best choice.
So what could this possibly have to do with in.gredients?
Glad you asked!
We’re often asked how we select our products – i.e., what criteria’s most important in choosing products for the store. It’s hard to say “Term A” is more important than “Term B” because in the real world few things are so cut-and-dry. Today’s world is a complex array of terms both positive and negative, often with loose definitions like “natural.” Terms like organic, beyond-organic, biodynamic, local, heirloom, sustainable, green, natural, free-range, cage-free, pastured, grass-fed, grass-finished, GMO, chemical, big-ag, and toxic are thrown around. Organic actually has a legal meaning, but there’s a lot of variation in how it’s applied. Most of the others vary wildly in what they mean. Often times, a non-certified organic small farm may be a better environmental steward than a large national organic brand. It’s a complex field to navigate.
At in.gredients we take each product into consideration and inspect it from every angle. Where does it come from, what are the ethos of the producer and the rest of the supply chain, are there alternative options we can compare it to…and, like in behavioral programming, make a calculated decision based on the decisions unique environment and the variables within it. And just like real-life, those variables may change in the future, and our decisions may have to react and adjust.