City Fresh & Sustainability

Mr. Glynn Lloyd contributed the following questions in an interview with QuestionsForLiving® February 10, 2011. His interview focuses on the creation and growth of City Fresh, a sustainable and community centered business.

QuestionsforLiving: What were the primary questions that you asked yourself when creating and building City Fresh?

Glynn Lloyd - It was a multi-part question because there are a lot of resources or nonprofits that are doing a lot of great work in our neighborhood and the urban community, so one of the questions was "Why can't we put ourselves to work by providing the services ourselves?" So it is really more about self-determination and self community economic building. The other question was: "How do we set up businesses,  that takes into account our ecological habitat and our environment?" When we started providing food services, we asked "How can we do this without continuing to destroy the planet?" The third question addresses the historical inequity from an economic point of view, "How can we use business to help level the playing field?"

QuestionsforLiving: What questions led you toward your focus / commitment to community development and sustainability?

Glynn Lloyd - It's interesting because rather than starting with questions, it’s almost as though I backed into it. City Fresh was built from a perspective of self-determination, from the ground up. It started as  community development initiative in terms of the inequity issue; but as I started peeling back the onion around the topic matter of food and the whole food system, of how food is grown, distributed, shipped, I came to understand , that we’re basically in trouble - It is a very fragile system; and it is not sustainable. In working in the food service industry, I realized that we were building something that already had fundamental issues, so addressing or fixing those issues became part of my energy and directive around the whole sustainability of our food system. Based on that, I now ask myself, "What is the next stage?", "What is the most appropriate, effective, and sustainable system for us as a population, here in the US and globally, to produce and distribute our food?" I started asking these questions early on, but as time passed, it has gotten more pertinent.

QuestionsforLiving: Now that City Fresh is a successful and established business, what questions are you asking to guide and create City Fresh's direction, vision and future?

Glynn Lloyd - We are at a stage now where I am asking: "Can City Fresh be a truly community and worker run, owned and operated, entity?” That was our original mission as well as  being able to re-circulate the wealth and resources back to the community through that mechanism. That is one question that I am dabbling with as an owner and operator.

A bigger question that led me to realize that this could be a model for other opportunities outside of food services is, "How do we create more City Freshes?", and "What is a City Fresh?" It is a community owned and operated entity, that offers quality services, without destroying the planet.

To me, it is connecting the right resources to be successful. When you look at business or community enterprises there are different pockets of needs - one of them is capital. There is a lot of capital out there, so there are specific questions around capital such as, "How do we move more capital into the urban economic development arena?", "How do we match that capital with the right talent?" We have a lot of great talent here. "How do we support that talent in matching it with the right opportunities and timing?"

QuestionsforLiving: What are some questions that you would advise others to ask when thinking about starting, and building, a successful sustainable business?

Glynn Lloyd - There are a whole host of questions, including: "Do you have the right idea?", "Is the idea marketable?", "Is there a business formula that can sustain it?", and "Do you have the right team?" “Do you know what you know, and do you know what talent you need to bring on to be successful?” The questions include everything from "Do you have the right capital structure?" to "What is your ultimate goal?" and "What is your ultimate exit strategy?"

I believe that we should be creating businesses that have a long reach and looking well out into the future. There are different levels when you talk about social responsibility, so there are questions such as "How do you treat your co-workers?", "How do you pay your staff?", "What kind of environment are your creating?", "Is your process environmental?", "Is your product important?". I believe, as a culture, we have lost touch with what our needs are. One big questions is “What is necessary and what is not?" We create a lot of things that are not necessary. "What are you creating,  and is it useful and purposeful?", "Is it helping yourself or your fellow mankind?". These are the questions I asked, but not everybody may ask the same questions or follow the same high standards.

QuestionsforLiving: What questions have you asked in the building and growth of City Fresh that has enabled its success over the years?

"Is your customer/end-user satisfied?", "Are you giving people what they desire, and what they want?". We are in a business where we are not just providing a product, we are providing a service around that product. Part of our service and offering is peace of mind – We've got it covered. We will take of all your food service needs. We will make it very easy for you. The core of our product/ service is a fresh healthy meal that the kids will enjoy.

Other questions include, "Are my people happy and content at the job?" That's a constant question that I ask. If you do not have happy workers, then you don’t have a happy product. "Do I have the right talent on my team?", "Do we have the right people in the right positions?", "Do we have the right tools?", "Do we have the right capital structure and the right facility?" As our business has matured and evolved it's really now about the systems. "Do we have the right systems in place?”, "Are our current systems efficient and effective?"

QuestionsforLiving: Independent of the work environment, what questions do you believe that people should/could ask themselves to make our world a happier and healthier place?

Glynn Lloyd - "Is my behavior, and the way I use my individual resources (time, money, and energy) aligned with the long-term survival of our species?"


Glynn Lloyd can be contacted at:

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