At the core of sustainability is the capacity for small businesses to stay afloat. In today’s world, profit is associated with cutting corners and driving down costs. Economic success can often be seen as a challenge for value-driven companies, given the increased costs associated with the other three sustainability principles. But it’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses and even larger corporations to consider what’s called the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profit—in their decision-making.
Eaters have a crucial role to play. It’s contingent on sustainable food producers to convey their ethics and practices and educate customers about the true value of responsible food. Shoppers can, in turn, demand transparency in the food system and, when possible, reward good practices by paying a fair price. In other words, sustainable food business can only stay in business with the support of customers who share their values.
The best way to support sustainable food is to buy directly from the producers, such as through a farmers market, community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription, or farm stand. This direct relationship not only facilitates communication between producers and eaters, but it also feels satisfying for everyone and puts more of the food dollar directly in the hand of the producer.