The heatwave didn’t hinder the celebration of localism and social entrepreneurship last week in the Hudson Valley, and Judy Wicks kept things cookin’. Judy’s first stop in one of many places across the country to promote her new memoir, Good Morning Beautiful Business, The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer, was Hawthorne Valley Farm in Columbia County on Tuesday evening, July 16th. It was a great night, celebrating Judy with the Hawthorne Valley community, new friends, amazing local food, live music and dancing.
On Wednesday, July 17th, Re>Think Local was delighted to host Judy in the Barn at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa in Milton, NY, where we held a beautiful business lunch in her honor. The room was full as guests mingled and enjoyed a meal of local food, much of it from the farm at Buttermilk Falls. Judy shared experiences from her life, read excerpts from her memoir, signed copies of her book and chatted with guests. It was an inspiring afternoon…and cool.
As an entrepreneur Judy is best known for Philadelphia’s landmark White Dog Cafe, which she founded in 1983 on the first floor of her house and managed for 26 years. After helping to save her block of Victorian brownstones from demolition to make way for a proposed mall of chain stores, she grew what she began as a tiny muffin shop into a 200-seat restaurant featuring fresh local food. Over the years White Dog grew a national reputation for community engagement, environmental stewardship, and responsible business practices. Inspiring.
Judy is also a co-founder of BALLE, the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies, of which Re>Think Local is a member.
Re>Think Local created the Hudson Valley Beautiful Business Award for Social Entrepreneurship in honor of Judy Wicks, and after lunch, our Executive Director, Ajax Greene and Judy presented the award to Diane Reeder, for building community through the service of locally-sourced food, and socially conscious and sustainable business practices.
Diane is the founder and CEO of The Queen’s Galley Food Insecurity Resource Center in Kingston NY, administrator of the Stockade Foundation and owner of the Kingston Candy Bar. Diane, a former restaurateur and Executive Chef, now develops the culinary and nutrition education programs at Queen’s Galley, including operations of the soup kitchen, serving over 9,000 meals each month. She also oversees the operation of a 50-bed facility that offers housing to adults living at or below the poverty line through the Stockade Foundation, and the recently opened Kingston Candy Bar – with profits going to support Queen’s Galley. She’s not busy or anything… Congratulations, Diane!
It was a great afternoon with new faces, shared ideas and connections made. Thanks to all who took time from their busy schedules to join us. Special thanks to Judy Wicks, our event sponsors, Handpicked Nation, promotional sponsor, Hawethorne Valley Farm, Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa and Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz. Thanks to our partner, Chronogram, and sponsor, Country Wisdom News.