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Building a Model for Good Food + Good Jobs

FoodLab Detroit Strategy Council Co-Lab #3

Story by FoodLab Detroit August 8th, 2017

good food + good jobs

Throughout the first two collaborative work sessions, FoodLab Detroit's community of good food entrepreneurs, with the help of The Work Department, was able to develop a set of guiding principles and expectations for food businesses who wish to contribute to the creation of good food and good jobs. We opened our final co-lab by reviewing these principles, and ensuring that this tool truly reflected our community's values prior to publication.

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holding ourselves accountable

In this third and final co-lab, we turned to the question: How do we use these principles to hold ourselves accountable and measure our progress?

In order to determine what variables would be assessed in our co-created measurement tool, we asked our strategy council essential questions regarding how they lived out the guiding principles as Good Food, Good Job providers.

Principle: The values associated with Good Food, Good Jobs can be taught and learned.

In what ways do you educate people about values associated with Good Food and Good Jobs?

Principle: Employers and employees deserve to earn living wages.

What forms of compensation do you offer your employees?

Principle: We recognize that providing good food and good food jobs is a journey.

What steps do you take to measure and share your progress on the Good Food, Good Jobs journey?

Principle: We can make greater progress along the Good Food, Good Job journey together.

What professional development opportunities do you partake in and provide for your employees?

Principle: Good food jobs bring employers and employees opportunities for growth.

In what ways do you and your employees learn, grow, and advance?

Principle: Create workplaces where employers and employees treat each other with respect.

What actions do you take to foster a workplace culture of respect, appreciation, and open communication?

developing key indicators

One of the primary objectives of FoodLab Detroit's Strategy Council co-labs was to develop a measurement tool that would provide good-food businesses the opportunity to reflect on their business's capacity to adhere to triple bottom line principles. Our strategy council's answers to the questions below were used to develop the key indicators used in our triple bottom line measurement tool, and evaluate businesses in three major fields: people, planet, and profit.

In what ways do you educate people about the values associated with good food and good jobs?

tell our story well; share story face-to-face with customers; share our story on social media; promote the farmers we work with; tell our story to employees; tell our story to partner organizations.

What forms of compensation do you offer employees?

salaried wage; living wages; tips; food; family meals; grocery discounts; loans for staff; free brick and mortar space usage; commission for transactions over a particular dollar amount.

What professional development opportunities do you and your employees partake in?

engage other professionals to share their skills hands-on; ServSafe; SWOT City; Zingerman's training; FoodLab training workshops; Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business program; local seminars, workshops; regular open discourse about interests, strengths; collaborations within the community.

In what ways do you and your employees learn, grow, and advance?

training opportunities; involving employees in the development of changes; process improvement system in place; promoting from within; regular check-ins; cross training employees; work with people from different skill sets.

What actions do you take to foster a workplace culture of respect, appreciation, and open communication?

open door policies; engage with employees about their lives, follow-up; regular team meetings; seasonal surveys; encourage open questions by asking staff questions; monthly employee town hall meetings; "circle of appreciation" exercises; saying thank you everyday; idea board (i.e. low barrier, white board); surprise with food and treats; use mistakes as learning opportunities, not punishment.

What steps are you taking to measure and share your progress on the Good Food, Good Jobs journey?

Participating in FoodLab events; research what others good-food businesses are doing; learn from employees strengths, weaknesses; communicating with and listening to staff; creating goals with the triple bottom line in mind; continuous reevaluation of business journey; developing systems for hiring, promotion, and disciplinary actions.

a triple bottom line measurement tool: people, planet, profit

After developing key indicators based on strategy council feedback, the council had the opportunity to test the measurement tool for usability. By rating themselves on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 indicating that they rarely engage in a practice and 5 indicating that they regularly engage with a practice, employers can reflect on how their business is facilitating the creation of good food and good jobs. Upon completion of the assessment, users receive a summed score that correlates with how well their business adheres to triple-bottom line values.

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help us build a more equitable detroit

Join us in lifting up FoodLab Detroit member businesses who are providing opportunities for growth in their neighborhoods, and who are working to make good food and good jobs in Detroit a sustainable reality.

Footnote: This work was generously supported by the New Economy Initiative. We are also grateful for The Work Department, who facilitated this series of co-labs, and designed with our community's voice in mind.
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