By Aishvarya Kavi and Annabel Epstein
It takes passion, dedication, and innovation to start a businesses, but there is always a good helping of risk. The creation of this urban microgreen farm and its dedicated partner, a sustainability-mindful pub/restaurant, involved nothing less.
When Mary Ackley decided to follow her passion of getting her hands dirty, she started the farm called Little Wild Things. But she also set out to prove that locally sourced, organic produce can be elegant, delicious, and a profitable business model, especially in an urban setting like Washington, D.C. Now her produce graces the shelves and kitchens of over 20 different local markets, grocery stores, and restaurants--both fast-casual and fine-dining. But without The Pub and The People, the pub/restaurant whose basement her farm occupies, she wouldn't have been able to make it nearly this far.
Former LEED Architect Nick Bemel and his three partners also took a risk in quitting their day jobs to open a classic but quirky neighborhood bar. Yet, they couldn't shake their dedication to sustainability from their bones. So they designed the neighborhood hangout to be as sustainable as possible--the interior is built with reclaimed wood, all of their systems are the most efficient on the market, and they're about to install solar panels on their roof. Their chef also prioritizes sourcing local produce, much of which comes from the farm right downstairs. Besides the numerous environmental benefits, it cuts their operation costs by a pretty penny. Quality food and facilities that are ultimately easy on your business' bottom line? Bemel didn't even think twice before he lent the space to Ackley and Little Wild Things.
So next time you order an omelet for brunch, imagine how much fuel was burned when it was trucked in all the way from New England — or Latin America, depending on the season.
Now imagine that this morning, it was plucked fresh from organic soil just 10 feet below where you're sitting and then walked up a flight of stairs. Doesn't your mouth water with the possibilities?
So support local businesses that, like the pub and urban farm above, throw caution to the wind and dare to be sustainable, profitable, and wildly popular all at once.