“Resilience Is Rebuilding These Local Communities and Relocalizing Food,” Says Jacob Pechenik

Lettuce Grow is working to give every consumer the opportunity to grow their own produce. During the Future of Food @ SXSW in Austin Texas, the company’s founder Jacob Pechenik advocated for the importance of locally grown food.

“It was so hard to get this beautiful organic head of lettuce from the farm to the grocery store to the people,” Pechenik says. He was also struck by the fact that produce in supermarkets can be days, or even more than a week, old.

In an effort to democratize the food production, Lettuce Grow gives eaters an opportunity to grow their own food regardless of time, space, and agricultural experience. Customers can select seedlings, which are delivered to their homes, and grow greens, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The company also provides guidance during the growing process and recipe cards to help everyone make the most of their harvests.

Pechenik explains that Lettuce Grow saw a boom in interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, which served as a wake up call to many eaters. It “brought us back to our value system,” he says, and inspired a greater interest in the food on their plates.

As global supply chain disruptions altered the products grocery stores shelves, consumer reports show that the pandemic also sparked a greater interest in local and sustainable food systems. “Resilience is rebuilding these local communities and relocalizing food,” Pechenik says.

 

In addition to making food systems more resilient, Pechenik argues that growing food at home gives people with a sense of pride and optimism. This is one reason Lettuce Grow commits to donating a growing system to a school for every 10 systems sold.

“My mission is that every single kid in this country has some exposure to growing food.”

Pechenik argues that often the infrastructure to scale up interventions like Lettuce Grow’s system is already in place. But, he says, it will take “infrastructure of the mind” to shift mindsets and their increase adoption.

Watch the full conversation here:

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