Speak the Small ‘t’ Truths

At Food + Future we have a mantra called, ‘Speak the Small ‘t’ Truths’ (hashtag-able as #smalltruths). Within the basement of our food collaborative, this statement encapsulates our mission, and why we as an organization behave the way we do.

The way we see it, there are two truths: large truths and small truths. large truths are absolute and universal: “Apples are good for you.” Small truths, however, acknowledge variability: “Apples are good for you, unless they’re 12+ months old and the nutrients have degraded.”

As Food + Future evolved over the past year, we have grown to learn that when it comes to food, there are no large truths. What we mean by this is that there’s no one way to eat, nor one perfect food. Neither is there one organization, one solution, nor one person that can solve the world’s food problems. Not every apple is nutritious. And because we don’t believe in food ‘silver bullets’, our team isn’t betting on anything that claims to be one. Said otherwise: we don’t subscribe to the myth of big ‘T’ truths. We’re betting on the small truths — truths so small, they remain almost invisible.

The combination of small ‘t’ truths exposes the myth of big ‘T’ truths

Clinging only to these small truths, our approach to problem-solving and venture-building is necessarily open and collaborative. And we foster this open and collaborative environment by inviting as many perspectives to the table as possible.

Bringing small ‘t’ truths into once space

Betting on small truths in the food system is similar to how we bet on the people we work with. We’re not looking for the people and the institutions promising to have the answer; instead, we’re looking for the folks trying to find an answer. And finding all the small truths will require answers from a enormous range of fields. Mechanical engineer? Social worker? Coder? Farmer? Economist? Artist? Writer? Analytical Chemist? Multidisciplinary? Undefinable? Chances are, each one of you have your own #smalltruth. So we have a place for you. In fact — we most likely need you.

Bringing diverse skills into one space

Finally, our small truths mantra reminds our team that it’s not always the large and loud actions that have the most-positive impact. It’s almost always the smaller actions happening every day, by every person, that build and push change — figuring out ways to make farm tools better-suited for medium-scale farms; crossbreeding a new variety of wheat that better suits a regional climate. It’s these small, persistent changes like this that we hope to amplify.

We rely on our diverse team to capture small ‘t’ truths in order to make food more transparent and understandable

It’s our belief that, in aggregate, these small ‘t’ truths form a much larger ‘truth quilt’. In a sense, small ‘t’ truths are the lego bricks we use for making decisions with consistently positive impacts.

To listen to some #smalltruths, check out the soon-to-be Small Truths podcast, coming out February 2017!

And if you have any #smalltruths — any side of the food story that should be told, email me: hcunningham@foodfuturecolab.com