For fans of Etsy (the online marketplace for all things handmade, vintage and unique), you might imagine their headquarters to be a reflection of their eclectic and fun aesthetic — and you'd be right.
I visited Etsy's whimsical offices in Brooklyn, for their twice weekly company-hosted luncheon, called Eatsy. This event happens every Tuesday and Thursday at all nine of their offices across the globe.
I was lucky enough to sit down and eat (a delicious vegan burrito) with Katie Rose Crosswhite, Etsy's talented Brooklyn Food Program Coordinator.
Katie takes the needs of the company, its employees and the visiting caterers very seriously. She can often be found serving food, chatting with staff and helping out in the small exposed kitchen area.
After lunch, I found myself inspired by both the positivity and realistic attitude surrounding the event. Here are seven ideas we can all implement — for ourselves and the planet — that Etsy practices regularly.
1. Minimize waste.
Etsy has a minimal waste goal for their offices. They use custom designed bins for recycling and composting, in addition to biodegradable and reusable flatware.
They challenge their guest caterers to create as little waste as possible when cooking in the Etsy offices by providing them with a single waste basket.
In addition to recycling, try seeking out composting programs and compostable materials and use reusable containers and utensils whenever possible.
2. Get personal.
The core of this lunch program is about fostering a sense of community. They invite local food businesses to cook for the staff, and employees gather to share their meal together. It's about taking that pause in your day to connect to other people and your environment.
Set aside time in your week to have lunch with a friend and check out a small cafe in your neighborhood.
3. Support local businesses.
There's a roster of food vendors that's regularly added to. They welcome a combination of brick and mortar restaurants, caterers and food market vendors.
An important aspect of these businesses is that they must have a commitment to using local and sustainable produce and materials whenever possible.
Seek out businesses in your area that share the same values as you. Chances are if they care about the quality and origin of the food they use, the meals they make will be tastier.
4. Source sustainable goods.
Transparency on where the food is coming from is key when Katie is considering a new vendor.
What's cool about this is that a lot of the businesses that cook for Eatsy end up improving their sustainability practices. Often vendors introduce other vendors to new farmers, reinforcing that sense of community.
Yup, I'm going to tell you to visit your local farmer's market. A connection to the seasons and the farmers who grow the food you eat is a great way to practice mindfulness.
5. Go vegetarian.
For the day ... or a few days. Because this program promotes sustainability, it's a natural progression that the majority of the food they serve is plant-based.
They want to encourage healthy, whole foods that will sustain their employees, so vegetarian fare is a typical go-to (although, it's not a strict rule).
6. Be grateful.
Eatsy is a special event and doesn't occur every day, which highlights that it's a privilege to have someone cook you a nice meal, not necessarily a right.
Genuinely feeling gratitude for your food is easy if you take a moment to consider who made it for you and where it came from.
7. Keep it real.
They know the world isn't all crocheted butterflies and handcrafted furniture — that's why it's important to think about the bigger issues and what we can do to help.
Really, the message of Eatsy is: eat food that nourishes you, be honest about where it comes from, and get to know the people you're sharing it with — and have some fun while doing it.
Photo courtesy of Etsy