We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Field Piette and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what matters most to you?
As a Certified B Corp for several years now, it has been fundamental that we consider all of our stakeholders, not just shareholders, for every decision we make. Each decision carefully considers our customers, our suppliers, our community, our environment, and our shareholders, and how we can make a positive and equitable impact on all these stakeholders. In our particular case, we see the fundamental connection between the health of our soil, the health of our community, and our personal health. And the foods we deliver must always be sourced with soil health, community health and personal health top of mind. We choose certified organic, bio-dynamic, or regenerative organic produce as much as we possibly can. We choose pasture-raised meats from animals who are grazing and improving soil health wherever possible. We choose women and minority owned suppliers as much as we possibly can. We choose nutrient-dense, healthy foods as much as we possibly can. We share the stories of where these foods are from, how they have been used across different communities and cultures, and even how our own customers have incorporated these foods into their lives. It is this purpose which matters most to Narrative Food, in particular at the present time where health is such an important issue for our entire community, and California is faced with so many environmental challenges.
What should our readers know about your business?
I founded Narrative Food 10 years ago under the name Out of the Box Collective. Because the heart of what sets us apart from other companies is our love of story telling, we felt that changing our name to Narrative Food was more representative of what really excites us about what we do. For many years I was a screenwriter and so story telling has always been a passion of mine. Now, instead of telling stories to make into films, we tell stories with, and around, food. From the stories of our suppliers, to stories which shine a light on the diverse cultures represented in LA, to the stories of how regenerative agriculture can help mitigate climate change. As a self-funded business with a skeletal team, we have gone through many challenges, and continue to problem-solve daily as what we do involves so many stakeholders. What I have realized over the years is that there is always a solution: the challenge is to find it. So far, knock on wood, in the past ten years we have dealt with disruptions due to fires, mud slides, a pandemic, human error, and more, but for every issue we have always come up with a solution, and we have been blessed with the good will of all of our stake holders, who understand the human element that is behind every bite of food that we deliver. This is a community, and these boxes of food we produce connects us in a deep, nourishing way we are all very proud of.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The heart of every city is the famers market, and this is where I always start, when I travel. Whether I took my bestie to the Wednesday Santa Monica market or the Sunday Hollywood market, or even the Saturday market in Santa Barbara, I would introduce them to my maker and grower friends, taste their foods, and collect a beautiful basket of ingredients to make a feast we could enjoy in our garden. I would probably also drive up the PCH and take them to the outlook at Point Dume, to look out for whales. From there I would drive into the Santa Monica mountains, where I lived for years, and take a picnic into the trails off Mulholland Highway or near Malibou Lake. Afterwards we could stop by at the Old Place, which feels like an old saloon, for a drink or a cup of coffee. If Covid conditions improve, I would then explore some of the amazing and diverse eateries in neighborhoods which feel like you have travelled to Korea, Central America, Ethiopia, or Japan. It is the diversity of LA that I find most interesting and inspiring.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Our community includes dozens of local growers and makers we have worked with for years, and to whom we are eternally grateful. Bakers like Bub and Grandmas, Bakers Kneaded, Pagnol Bakery, butchers like Electric City Butcher, Watkins Butcher Shop, organic growers like County Line, Givens, Sunrise, Ken’s Top Notch, Fair Hills, Sycamore, rock stars developing a new local grains system like Sherry Mandell of Tehachapi Grain Project, coffee roaster Earth Bean Coffee, Pizza Dough maker Lupa Cotta Pizza, prepared foods maker Smart Simple Gourmet, and dozens more. We are a hub for all these amazing suppliers, curating their products into weekly food experiences. We would have no purpose without them!
B. Evy-Marie Harris