Familiar Faces at in.gredients
For those of you who’ve been to the store, you probably recognize Erica.
It’s hard not to notice her big smile and warm personality. Here since the store opened, Erica is excited and involved in the work she does at in.gredients. Brimming with ideas for the store, Erica is always looking for opportunities to build a community around food. Raised in Texas, she is a hometown girl. As a local east-sider, she walks to and from work every day. She embodies our ethos of keeping things local, growing food in her community garden plot and experimenting with seasonal cooking.
I caught her in the in.gredients kitchen and we chatted about all things food and sustainability.
How did you find out about in.gredients?
I found out about the store through Facebook, and was excited to see that it was going to be down the street from where I live. I volunteered when they were digging the garden beds out front and met everyone involved. From there I got hired on as a team member, and started working right before the store opened. It was neat to see the store empty and be a part of filling it up.
Why is sustainability important to you?
As a single mom with limited funds I am always looking for ways to make my life more sustainable. I want to teach my son Torin about self-sustainability and how it’s possible to live simply and be healthy and happy. We look for ways to be sustainable and build community by growing our own food, going to food swaps and bartering. If there ever was an apocalypse, I want to know I could survive! My ultimate goal is to be able to go to the store and only need five ingredients, growing and making the rest. Right now I am able to get all my food from in.gredients and my garden plot, which means that all my food is within walking distance.
What do you love about working here?
I love how much I’m learning about seasonal eating, and how that improves our diet. I love how shopping here creates a relationship with food, instilling a love of food and a deeper connection with your own body. It’s great to have a tactile experience with the food you eat, especially when you know it came fresh from a nearby farm. I also love that this store creates a space where the east side can take pride and power over their community. Before in.gredients you couldn’t get organic food in this neighborhood without traveling past the highway. I think this is a great venue for people to get back to healthy, local organic food. I also love my co-workers. We all come from different backgrounds but we have the same vision and want to be a part of something big.
What is your favorite recipe of all time?
I would have to say kale chips. Kale is a great go-to green, and making kale chips is fast and easy. Mainly it’s my favorite because it is the way I got my son to eat kale. Now he will even eat it raw!
If you were reincarnated as a vegetable, what would you be?
I would say okra. It’s beautiful and durable. It thrives in harsh conditions, it’s a survivor. It was the vegetable that made the local food system click in my head, southern food (okra, watermelon, collards) are all things that grow well down here. Also, the flowers on it are beautiful. Basically, I am mesmerized by okra.
Whether she’s helping out customers, whipping up salad or re-stocking bins, Erica is a joy to be around. She’s a great person to chat about food with, and don’t be surprised if 30 minutes go by and you’re still talking about amazing recipes you’ve tried.
Come in and meet her for yourself, you’ll be charmed, I’m sure.