Today’s guest - in our own backyard here in NYC - is Mary Cleaver, founder of the Cleaver Co. and proprietor of the just recently reincarnated Green Table Restaurant in Chelsea Market and Table Green in Battery Park. Mary has been living and breathing Local Food since the 80s long before it was cool at a time when it was even scoffed at for being “dirty”. Her restaurant, the Green Table has thrived since 2003 and just this past summer has relocated to a different space (now known as Cleaver Counter) within the Chelsea Market. Many describe her company, which also provides catering and event services as one of the most - if not the most - rigorous of its kind as a B Corporation, i.e. a business that adheres to higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. She’s one of the most influential people not just in the local food movement but in the entire food industry as someone who’s effects you’ve probably felt, even if you aren’t familiar with her name as she hasn’t pursued what many others do: a fancy Instagrammable space, a cooking show, or a loud, male chef. In this episode, we talk about the many facets of Local Food. Not just why it’s important but why and how did we get to where we are today where we’re even discussing Local Food. We talk about the history of American Agriculture and how the industry has evolved throughout the years. This isn’t a rant against Industrial Ag but rather a clear look at why things may be the way they are and where we can go from here: - What should we be asking of our producers? - How can we as individuals shop better? - How do we cut through the noise of food marketing? - How can we leverage our (under)used power as Consumers and what are the quickest wins we can achieve today? We also talk about her business seeing as it’s been a stalwart despite being in such a challenging industry in an equally challenging city: - Staying relevant through the good (and bad) times - Recognizing the God of Big but also worshipping the Goddess of Smaller by taking a Values-driven approach to Growth Bonus, we also talk about that time she took a weekend trip to New Orleans to get married. If there was ever someone today I would listen to when it comes to what it would take for us to eat in a way that’s good for us, our communities, our planet, AND our businesses…it’s Mary. Please enjoy this conversation with Mary Cleaver.
For more information including notes to the show, please visit hiddenapron.com/podcast.