For the past couple of months, San Francisco has gained impressive coverage for its Slow Food Nation Festival, which is occurring this Labor Day Weekend.
It encapsulates what San Francisco, The Bay Area and Northern California does best: starting movements that create life-altering trends and change us as people and as communities.
So what is Slow Food Nation? I’ll let the organization’s website sum it up.
“Slow Food Nation was created to organize the first-ever American collaborative gathering to unite the growing sustainable food movement and introduce thousands of people to food that is good, clean and fair.
Slow Food Nation is dedicated to creating a framework for deeper environmental connection to our food and aims to inspire and empower Americans to build a food system that is sustainable, healthy and delicious.”
Sounds rather heady doesn’t it? In fact, it’s creating an entire movement around using locally grown and raised food to sustain local economies. It’s focusing on environmentally sustainable practices and natural growth versus chemicals and hormones to increase yield. It’s taking on a national approach to product sourcing and development that’s based on big business (think about that Australian new york steak, Banana from South America or shrimp from Thailand you’re eating) and turning that model on its ear, focusing on farmers and food preparers in our own backyards.
Farmers markets across the U.S. have taught local communities across to experience local produce, even it’s once a week during summer months. Slow Food Nation is taking it to the next level. Already, restaurants have caught on, sometimes creating their own herb gardens or even entire produce gardens (most top chefs already visit farmer’s markets to buy their produce and go to local sources for seafood and meats that are as fresh as it comes). Some restaurants only cook using locally available food all year long.
So how does this apply to retail?
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
In a world of sameness, consumers are craving retailers that offer one-of-a-kind experiences and products.
Your ability to tell stories and offer one-of-a-kind items will ultimately differentiate your concept from everyone else out there. And that’s going to help increase word-of-mouth, and ultimately traffic and sales. Now think about the fact that your could offer goods that are locally manufacture and produced.
The New York Times recently ran a story about Origins. You know them – they’re the international beauty chain that has always had an organic bent. Take a read to see what Origins is doing to create a local sole proprietor feeling in their new store concept, even though they’re an international retail chain.
I love this concept! I’ve always advocated the need to connect with your customers on a personal level. Through storytelling and locally sourced goods, you can create a unique concept that will resonate and allow you to connect on a deeper level with your customers.
How are you “going slow” and connecting with your customers and community?