FoodLab's Guiding Principles

Our Seed Statement

We call this our “seed statement” because it describes what FoodLab is at its core. No matter where you plant an acorn, no matter what fertilizer you use, that acorn will never grow into a cactus or a mango tree. Our organization will evolve as our community grows and our environment changes, but everything is guided by the DNA in our seed.

FoodLab is a community of food entrepreneurs committed to making the possibility of good food in Detroit a sustainable reality. We design, build, and maintain systems to grow a diverse ecosystem of triple-bottom-line food businesses as part of a good food movement that is accountable to all Detroiters.

Our Guiding Principles

If our seed is the “what” and “why” of who we are, our Guiding Principles are the “how.” These represent FoodLab’s core values as we go about our work.

Grow our community

We seek to create and share public resources in a culture of openness. We acknowledge the importance of taking care of ourselves, each other, and the broader public good.

Think in systems

While we are focused on Detroit good food businesses, we recognize we are a part of a local, regional, national, and international food system.  We see that change is complex and requires us to pay attention to how we are all connected.

Actively cultivate diversity

We work to develop a diverse FoodLab community that includes food businesses of different types and scales; as well as age, culture, and ethnicity of food business entrepreneurs. We believe diversity is an essential part of any just and resilient food system.  

Be humble to be great

We insist that we don’t have all the answers as individual businesses or as a collective.

Work with nature

We acknowledge and respect our earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems.

Recognize we’re on a path

We don’t expect perfection, but are committed to being open about our goals.  Not everyone will share or be able to meet all of our goals, but all are welcome to join in moving toward them.

Measure our success

We measure our growth by the things that really matter to us -- knowledge, creativity, relationships, health, consciousness and happiness -- rather than just financial goals.

Food as inspiration

For us, food’s more than just food -- it’s a tangible, joyful, creative way to promote a more healthy, just, resilient world.