I can’t remember exactly the first time the idea for Ripelist popped into my head, but I do remember it was during a time when my own ideas about food were dramatically changing.
Up until then my attitude towards food was pretty typical of a bachelor who thought cooking was a waste of time and changing your diet meant buying sugar free donuts. After all, with the invention of fast food why would anyone choose to devolve back into the kitchen to spend hours preparing something that would get consumed in few minutes? I even remember feeling sorry for people who did cook a lot, thinking of all the time they were wasting over a hot stove. I just didn’t understand why you would choose to do that when there were now so many modern convenient options!
There was no sudden revelation or health issue that propelled me to reconsider my eating habits but something, at some point, definitely clicked. Those conversations about health and food that previously caused me to look for an exit suddenly started to make sense. A few thought-provoking books and a documentary film or two later and I knew my life had to change. I continued to read and experiment with what I ate and, like any new convert, I found myself preaching the gospel of eating whole foods. Then something extraordinary happened. I began to cook… and I enjoyed it.
For my roommates at the time, my newfound hobby was largely a curiosity. Although it might have smelled good (most of the time), anything that required more than pouring hot water over noodles or milk over corn flakes belonged to vague memories of something their mothers did when they were still in high school. For me, cooking was not only a means of improving my diet but I found it often to be a sort of creative outlet especially after a long day of work. Who would of thought!?
It was while driving through Central Oregon, on our way to visit family in Bend, that my brother Aaron and I first discussed the possibility of a sort of Craigslist for food. I remember looking out the window at the passing rural landscape and thinking, if people would actually use it, it could turn the food industry upside down (you have to be at least a little delusional to start something like this). What I did know was that although “local” food was becoming more popular, it was still for many too costly or inconvenient. After 60 some odd years of America’s industrial food system providing cheep abundant options in one convenient location, it’s hard to justify abandoning that for something that looks the same minus the nice packaging or waxy sheen.
That drive through Central Oregon was around four or five years ago and the idea moved in and out of hibernation several times due to circumstances in both of our lives. Eventually though, we gave it a name; Ripelist, and we are now finally turning that idea into reality.
Turning the food industry upside down may be a bit of a stretch, but I am convinced of one thing. The closer to home we look for our sustenance, the stronger and healthier we and our local communities will become. Call it the trifecta of a local food diet. Less resources wasted on transporting food, more money kept within the community, and best of all, better quality food supporting happier, healthier lives!
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