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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640
USA

773.271.1990

We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.

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Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

Native Nutrition?

Peter Nicholson

From Akron to Duluth
The food isn’t the reason. I search the internet for “family restaurants” during my travels and see what comes up. There isn't a hard definition, but the 8-10 I’ve recently patronized had common traits: “vintage" decor; decent, but not stellar food; a local, generally older clientele; reasonable prices; and a cashier near the door. Contentedly ensconced in a booth, I try to temper my innate urban elitism. Often working at a long-term, heady, systems level on issues like water, agriculture and climate, it’s easy to become divorced from more immediate concerns. I casually eavesdrop, waiting for my food, watching the muted football game on the flat panel television mounted toward the back, tuning in to the local vibe. People are kind, but not necessarily forthcoming. It’s obvious I’m a stranger here. I eat my omelette or pie or chicken wrap immersed in the provincialism of my native region, culture, country. Epicenters of a certain type, “family restaurants” provide a different kind of consistent predictability in which the point is the experience, not necessarily the cuisine. I love their eclectic warmth but also, if I’m to be honest, am disturbed by the comfortable, cultural insularity, and its often implicit white, patriarchal undertones. I try not to judge, but rather just experience, allow the sight, smell, sounds and taste remind me of where I come from, and what the other half of the equation I spend my days trying to solve looks like. Can I freshen your coffee?