Huddle Notes from August 10th, 2020

The huddles this week focused on affirming organizational culture, financial innovation, and the future of cities and how food will play a role including examples of farming opportunities. Watch the recording here.

Talking Points

  • Organizational Culture
    • Bread SRSLY – vegan and gluten-free breads
      • Has been working on intentional organizational culture around inclusiveness and engaging with even the most uncomfortable topics. The book Dare to Lead by Brené Brown inspired her.
      • The company has a weekly book club for employees which consistently is thought-provoking and engaging. They are basically reading the book one sentence at a time and discussing.
        • “The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.” – Brené Brown, Dare to Lead
      • What is the future of cities (post-COVID)?
        • Food is going to be a major part of the future of “rebuilding” cities
          • Our work in food systems is going to be challenged by the future of cities in the ways we anticipated before COVID but the degree to which cities are going to come back is going to be heightened.
          • People have to eat… how are things going to change in our food system?
            • Our work in food means, we get to help fashion this!


  • Economic/Environmental
    • Carbon Market: Big European food companies – offsetting carbon in their manufacturing facilities AND down to the farms they work with in Europe. Now these companies are starting to look to the USA to sequester even more.
      • The extension to farms is a huge opportunity for farming to get involved in carbon sequestration. Understanding the economics and helping farmers access technical assistance will be beneficial for the future
    • Dane County, Wisconsin (Madison) ­– Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District will pay farmers to mitigate phosphorus – an example of the power of technical assistance.
  • Innovation around finance – local currency | Read More in this Bloomberg article
    • In an effort to get money back into the local economy, cities are involved in local currency as a way to get money to those who are financially disadvantaged due to COVID.
    • Switzerland – WIR currency has been around since the 1930’s during the war and have never stopped. The value is connected to the Swiss Franc. Membership based currency with 60,000 members, so a very strong network of participants. 1/5 of all Swiss businesses participate in this.
      • Small business loans are also available for working capital (working with other WIR companies for inventory purchases locally) to grow this network of companies.
    • Local currency looks through a social impact lens, as it’s tied directly to philanthropic work. Volunteers can get local currency in exchange for work.
    • 3500 local currency systems across the world since 2018, that we know of.
    • Money is going to be a big part of recovering from COVID in our communities and the companies we work with.
  • Scenario planning – stay tuned for an approach and framework for scenario planning for consultants and entrepreneurs!

Tips & Next Steps

  • Creating a more affirming workplace/organizational culture – Elevating employees
    • Utilize leadership training to make a better more meaningful food system for the future, bringing more integrity into brands.
      • ZingTrain: Zingerman’s Professional Development Training | Learn More
    • Listen to our forthcoming podcast with Sadie of Bread SRSLY, anticipated release date Thursday, August 20th. Stay up to date on our podcasts here.


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