Originally inspired by the CSA model (Community Supported Agriculture), in which customers support a farm by committing in advance to a share of their produce, our customers support the kitchen by pre-ordering online, thus limiting speculation, risk and waste.
Most of our foods (and tallow-beeswax candles and deodorant), and many other products we carry, are packaged in mason jars, and we devote considerable resources to their reuse. Involving other vendors, and our customers in that cycle of return and reuse is another way we build community around our shared values of sustainability, and the material actions it takes to “walk the talk.”
Education and community participation have always been part of the fabric of Three Stone Hearth. Over the years, hundreds of students, apprentices, interns, externs and volunteers have brought their knowledge and spirit to our work. Some experimented with bread baking, some with the alchemy of fermented beverages, and others brought traditional recipes and culinary knowledge from their families and native cultures. Some have become staff members and worker-owners, while others have gone on to start similar or related businesses around the country, or pursued advanced degrees in nutrition and public health.
As we have grown and taken on more employees, our organizational development has been guided by the vision of a vibrant community workplace. We have expanded worker-ownership in our cooperatively run company from the five founders, three of whom are still with us, to nineteen worker-owners. We have adopted an innovative organizing system called Holacracy, which aims to distribute authority and encourage a self-directed and cooperative work environment where each person’s sense of purpose aligns and energizes around our organizational purpose.
Our community is also rooted in relationships with many local farmers, ranchers, food producers and artisans who provide the ingredients we trust to put in our foods, and the other retail products we sell. Where would we be without Marin Sun Farms’ commitment to pasture-raised meats and local sourcing, Riverdog Farm’s awesome and affordable veggies, or the extraordinary work of F.E.E.D. Sonoma, which has connected us with more than 50 local family farms? And where would we be without Alexandra Hudson’s broth-based kale chips, Alice Rosenthal’s East Bay neighborhood honey, or the wonderful goat milk and duck eggs from Mike and Jane at Evergreen Acres? This community of mutual support is at the heart of a resilient and regenerative “integrity food system” (Joel Salatin).
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