Creating Social Value Blog / Food

Contextualizing Food Entrepreneur Questions Series

Food Sol supports food entrepreneurship in all its forms – from food product and service startups, across the full industry spectrum, to eater entrepreneurship: the notion that by wallet and plate, anyone who eats can contribute to shaping and influencing the future of food.

Plenty of media has covered food entrepreneurship in its obvious manifestations—detailing the characteristics and trends surrounding edibles innovation, describing the sensational rise of an unlikely new food maker, or depicting how a David company is taking on a Goliath multinational.

Luca Mignogna, artisanal cheesemaker, of Wolf Meadow Farm at the Boston Public Market. Photo credit: Cristiano Bonino

Luca Mignogna, artisanal cheesemaker, of Wolf Meadow Farm at the Boston Public Market. Photo credit: Cristiano Bonino

Since at Babson we teach entrepreneurship as a method and a mindset – which may or may not lead to venture creation – and I subscribe whole-heartily to this approach, I wanted to study and write about food entrepreneurs differently. Would anyone want to read about how food entrepreneurs think and learn? Apparently so.

In June 2014, I launched the Questions for a Food Entrepreneur series on Over a year and a half, and nearly 30 subjects, the interviews have evolved as patterns have started to emerge. The original 10 questions has, over time, drilled down to just 5, with new questions being added occasionally, inspired by the ever rich and illuminating Community Table conversations at Babson, in Boston and New York.

The series has gained popularity and I’ve been told reflects an unusual process: pursuing research that immediately becomes editorial content. Perhaps it is unusual (I’m not faculty, and so can be looser in both definition and treatment of ‘research’). Certainly it is very much in the spirit of Food Sol: the belief that one learns best in well hosted gatherings; and that content elicited by an individual for his or her own gain can nonetheless be absorbed by the group in ways that deepen meaning and benefit all.

I hope to continue the series, and through it to translate the multi-layered food entrepreneurial process into language and ideas that bring the eater closer to her food and the food industry back down to earth. Here are a few of my favorites:

Ryan Cahill of Aveyo

Wenzday Jane of Metro Pedal Power

Vera Chang of Shelburne Farms

Julie King of Villa Mexico Cafe