Etsy is an online marketplace where people around the world connect to make, sell and buy unique goods. And supporting that community is at the heart of the company. “Our mission is to reimagine commerce to build a more fulfilling and lasting world,” says William Robb, Etsy’s Global Food Programs Manager. “We want to operate within a regenerative economy, one that seeks to build wealth in communities rather than extract from them.”
Another important part of this community includes the company’s employees who maintain the Etsy marketplace. And one way in which Etsy supports them, in turn, is by nourishing them through local, sustainably-sourced food.
Etsy’s Place in the Local Food System
Quite simply put, sustaining a responsible new economy is hard work and the workforce and culture need to be nurtured and fed. The employee food program, which is built around a twice-weekly lunch “affectionately called Eatsy”, does that by sharing food and conversation over a common table.
The food program seeks to support the development of a sustainable food economy that exemplifies the Etsy Economy. What that means is “supporting communities of small and mid-scale farmers and sustainable food entrepreneurs that are building a regenerative food system,” explains William.
The Kitchen Table Advisors Connection
When William met Anthony Chang, Founder and Executive Director of Kitchen Table Advisors, in San Francisco, it was clear from that the start that they shared a vision of what a sustainable food system could look like, and a commitment to figuring out how to build it.
“Anthony and I are working on two ends of the same problem; I am hoping that we will meet in the middle,” says William. “As he builds a community of farmers that can provision a table, we will build a food program that has a table that needs provisioning.”
To him, the two organisations share the same values in the vision to build an economy based on direct, long-lasting relationships between suppliers and consumers. “The work Kitchen Table Advisors is doing with farmers and food entrepreneurs parallels the type of work that we engage in with our seller community. We seek to empower small business owners to build a livelihood based on craftsmanship and grounded in community.”
The Role of Technology
William believes that technology can support in the development of a marketplace that showcases the human connection. “By providing a conduit for rich information about a product – its origin, for example, and how it came to be in this world – technology enables carrying the story of the food through value chain and expanding the customer base that is exposed to that story,” he explains. “This is an essential condition for building a regenerative economy.”
Hopes for Grazing at the Kitchen Table
William is excited to meet the farmers at the fundraiser and see how the chefs work with their food. “I am hoping to seed relationships that will enable our food program to connect the food we provide more directly with the fields,” he says.
Grazing at the Kitchen Table takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 at Dogpatch WineWorks, San Francisco. Tickets are $200 and can be purchased here. Click here for more info and follow #GrazeAndGive2015 for updates!