5 Questions for an Eater Entrepreneur: Savannah Carlin
An eater entrepreneur consciously “taste-tests” her way into her food future, exploring and iterating on how best to express her flavorful, cultural, sustainability and social justice values through food.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your food journey.
A. My mom was always passionate about cooking for our family and making whatever she could at home. To this day, I can’t eat jarred tomato sauce. I just can’t. When I was about 15, I started learning how to cook. I just began trying things out and found I was good at it. Then I started noticing where my ingredients came from, something I hadn’t appreciated so much before I started cooking. From there, I began learning more about the food system, watching documentaries like Food, Inc. and becoming passionate and vocal about buying from the right places.
Q: To what extent do your food choices/purchases reflect your personal values? Would you share a couple of those values?
A. They reflect my values to a very large extent. I think purchasing has a lot of power behind it. I value things that come from companies that care about their employees and animals. Whenever possible I buy products that reflect those values, and that support local growers and farmers.
Q: “Eating is an inherently entrepreneurial act.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
A. Definitely: to me, entrepreneurship is a lot about being creative—combining things and ideas in different ways, valuable ways. With food, you can do that on so many different levels. You can be entrepreneurial by making different recipes that taste good! And you can be entrepreneurial in how you use your money. Everyone who is involved with Food Sol cares about the entrepreneurial aspects in food – all the different ways that through food we can create more value.
Q: Given all that you’re learning about entrepreneurship, what entrepreneurial actions or decisions have you made when it comes to your meal planning at Babson?
A. That’s a very good question. Before I came to Babson, I wasn’t aware of how many actions or decisions I make regarding food (because my mom cooked for us so much). Something that’s very entrepreneurial to me is how I navigate the dining hall. Often, there will be food there that I don’t like or that I don’t want to eat for health reasons. Entrepreneurship is about working with the means at hand. For example, I’ll go at certain times when I know there will be something that I want to eat or speak up about asking the staff to customize something for me. If I don’t like the bread they’re serving, then maybe I’ll have a sandwich without bread. Entrepreneurship is about being creative with what I have.
Q: Do you feel that through food, you have agency in effecting the food system? How so?
A. I agree 100% with the idea that we have agency in the food system. One of the concepts that we’re talking about in my marketing class is brand loyalty and acquiring customers for a lifetime. Food is a strong example of this because food is a basic need. A food company successfully creating brand loyalty can make a lot of money. That’s why we have a lot of agency. Even if I’m a poor college student now, and don’t have much money to spend, over the course of my life, my food purchases will really add up.