Happy Birthday to Us! Reflections on Turning Two

It's hard to believe it's been just two years since my first post, a "golly gee whiz" piece about joining a CSA for the first time. There's a fine line between being excited and being naive, and I'm proud to run a site that continues to walk that line -- as we have since day one.

It's sad to see that several of the businesses I wrote about that first week, Cafe Agri and Madwoman Foods Gluten Free Bakery, are no longer with us. But it's also amazing and wonderful to be a part of the growing local food movement. I'm thrilled to have the chance to work with terrific organizations like the Minneapolis Public Schools, Youth Farm, and the Twin Cities Co-op, and with so many wonderful people that I'm afraid to list just a few (I don't want to leave anyone out!).

People don't usually believe me when I tell them that two years ago I didn't know anyone or anything, but a quick look at some of our earliest pieces -- like this one about bugs, the ultimate sustainable food -- proves it. The phrase "the more you learn, the less you know" has become my mantra. I've brought all sorts of naively optimistic ideas to restaurants and organizations over the past two years. Some of these ideas have worked out, like our monthly local food events, Local Food Lover Program and the Farm Bill work we're doing with IATP. Others have died on the (local, sustainable) vine. That's okay too. 

On Simple, Good, and Tasty's second birthday, I'd like to share something shocking that I've learned:

Businesses that Source Local Food are Businesses

Does this seem obvious? On some level, it should. The local food businesses I deal with tend to be run by amazing, passionate people. These people are often driven by ideals, by relationships, and by a belief that making a living and doing good work are not mutually exclusive. And yet, at the end of the day, these wonderful people don't get to keep producing great food if we don't buy it.

I think it's worth repeating this point: if we don't buy local, sustainable, organic, fair trade food from coops, restaurants, and markets, it will not exist. That means sometimes we might need to pay a little extra for the food we eat. It means we need to vote with our forks and our wallets. It means that we can't depend on someone else to keep our friends in business.

It also means that we can think of people who own local food businesses as business owners.

Thinking of local food establishments as businesses means holding them accountable to us, their customers. It means that their prices need to be fair (not cheap, fair), and that they need to provide delicious food. It means we understand that their bottom lines might be financial ones, and that business owners need to make tough choices, just like we do.

Mindfulness is something we return to again and again on Simple, Good, and Tasty. Our goal is to help people make good food choices, and being mindful is key to us, whether we're describing "humane food," healthy food choices, or both sides of the raw milk debate. Our most-read blog post, An Open Letter to Our Children: We're Sorry About School Lunch, is about mindfulness too. If you're engaged, if you're thinking, then you're more likely to make good choices.

Thank You!

After two years, I'm very thankful -- for the community of readers, co-ops, farmers, school workers, organizations, chefs, business owners, government organizations, and non-profit executives (did I leave anyone out? Sorry!) who continue to invite good food (and SGT) into your lives. Thank you for being mindful eaters and readers.

Most of all, I want to thank our writers, partners, helpers, designers, and developers -- all amazing people with enormous passion, who continue to take this little idea I had two years ago and turn it into something great, day after day. Thank you, and keep up the great work!

Header image of Alex Roberts and Lee Zukor and photo of Lucia's chef Lori Valenziano by Kate NG Sommers.

Lee Zukor is the founder of Simple, Good, and Tasty. Email him at