Seth Teicher (see picture), a 24-year-old Michigan grad and DC resident, and his best friend, Nick Weisman, recently started Roadside Organics, a communications firm focused on amplifying and harmonizing voices of leaders in the local food movement.
It all started with Nick’s partnership with Ras Rody, a Jamaican organic farmer, roadside philosopher, and vegan chef. Nick and Ras’ collaborative efforts to create a cookbook that illuminates a lifestyle and philosophy of organic agriculture eventually led to the birth of Roadside Organics with support from Seth. The goal of Roadside Organics is to encourage open access to local, healthy, sustainable food for everyone. “The system is broken,” says Seth, “and an alternative exists.” The challenge is to bring light to this alternative. The local, slow food movement is currently characterized by farmer’s markets and white table cloth restaurants, but Seth states that “social change [in the local food movement] will occur when everyone, regardless of income or social status, can gain access to healthy, local food.”
By illuminating clients who are moving food forward, like Bev Eggleston of EcoFriendly Foods and The Neigborhood Restaurant Group’s Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, Roadside Organics aims to shape the demand curve in order to bring down the price of healthy local food so that it is affordable to all. Seth acknowledges that big businesses hold much of the power in this country, so for the system to truly change, we need to get them on board. “If there is a big enough movement, big businesses will have to respond,” says Seth. He cites an example of Chipotle going to Bev Eggleston, who has been hailed the “patron saint of the local foods,” to find sustainable local pork, which Roadside Organics highlighted in a film (not yet released). “When organizations like Chipotle start sourcing pork legitimately, that’s how change happens,” Seth Explains.
On October 10th, 2010, Roadside Organics organized a local food block party in the streets of DC to raise awareness of food deserts in the city. Over 1,000 people attended the free event for speakers, performers, and locally sourced food cooked by DC chefs. The block party was Roadside Organic’s first event aimed at illuminating the intrinsic value of healthy, local food.
Seth knows the food system will not change overnight, but feels it is important to start working to fix it now. “It took fifty years to screw it up and it will take fifty years to fix it,” he says. It has a long way to go, but with continued efforts by people like Seth, such a change is possible.