“We knew that people are good and honest and fair and that’s really what we built our entire business model on, that people are good.” – Libby Birky
Organic food is often criticized for pricing out lower-income populations who can't afford to shop at boutique groceries or farmer’s markets. SAME Café owners Brad and Libby Birky have created a neighborhood restaurant where everyone can enjoy a great meal made of high quality ingredients -- regardless of whether they can afford it. SAME is an acronym for "So All May Eat," and it refers to the pay-what-you-can system of the restaurant. And if you don't have a few bucks in your pocket, you can always volunteer in exchange for a healthy meal.
The restaurant covers 75% of its total costs with what people put in the anonymous payment box and the rest is covered by grants and individual donations. Because of the pay structure, the clientele at SAME is as diverse as you'll ever find in a sit-down restaurant; college students, homeless people, and families all eat together. It’s a beautiful example innovation and community building around something that everyone loves: good food.
Dorothée Royal-Hedinger and Mark Andrew Boyer are the creators and co-producers of OrganicNation.tv, a video series exploring the American sustainable food landscape. Since May 2009, they have traveled across the U.S. documenting innovation and inspiration through interviews with the next generation of farmers, activists and sustainability experts.
Passionate about the power of media to challenge the status quo, Dorothée and Mark co-founded NobleTree Media in December 2009 with a commitment to producing unique video content for nonprofits, social causes and sustainable brands. Their work has earned an honorary mention in the 2009 Earth Journalism Awards and has been featured on Current TV, GOOD, Telegraph21, The Huffington Post and TreeHugger.com, among others.
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