When Lee Zukor started Simple, Good and Tasty a year ago, he had a straightforward goal: He planned to chronicle his quest to eat better and teach his kids about good organic food.
The project has since evolved into something much more than a blog and has turned into full-time work for Zukor, who is on a campaign with his cohorts at Simple, Good and Tasty to raise awareness about the many benefits of eating local and organic food.
In addition to a blog, the Simple, Good and Tasty website now boasts a directory of businesses and organizations that favor local food and support fair trade practices and an events calendar of interest to local foodies.
Zukor’s group also organizes monthly dinners at area restaurants that embody the values they are working to promote. They just launched a book club, too, in partnership with the Mississippi Market in St. Paul. The first book they’ve chosen to read is Michael Pollan’s new book, “Food Rules.”
Simple, Good and Tasty also has a Local Food Lover Loyalty Program. Members get discounts at participating restaurants. Some of the businesses are on the list include Brasa, Local D’Lish, Barbette, Galactic Pizza, Grand Café, the Linden Hills and Wedge co-ops, among others.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is think of food as more than fuel — food as a way to connect to our families, our friends, ourselves, our jobs and our health,” Zukor said.
Another important mission of Simple, Good and Tasty is to make the local and organic food community more accessible and less intimidating to people who aren’t “insiders” in the movement.
“It’s not about preaching to the choir,” he said. “It’s about encouraging people who are maybe considering making good choices to do it.”
Zukor comes from a corporate background. He has worked for Best Buy and Target.com.
His key partners on the project are Scott Danielson and David Nichols, co-founders and principals of the consulting group Healthy Heartland Inc.
Danielson and Nichols both recently had strategic roles at UnitedHealth Group. They noted that the healthcare system often focuses on defect-management. Diseases and healthcare problems get more attention than effective ways to prevent them.
“What became very compelling to the three of us is that Simple, Good and Tasty is not about defects or about fixing things that are broken. It’s about helping and enabling you to do things you already want to do that will make you healthier,” Nichols said.
Danielson, who has also worked at AOL and been a filmmaker, said the movement is about returning to away a life more common a couple of generations ago, referencing his grandmother back on the farm who would spend entire Sundays making homemade meals for the entire family.
“It’s about rediscovering the roots of what food was like for ancestors that we kind of lost along the way,” he said.
All three agreed, too, that becoming parents made them pay more attention to their eating habits so they could be good role models for the children.
The Simple, Good and Tasty team has already been approached by other cities all across the country to setup similar websites.
Simple, Good and Tasty
Next monthly dinner: March 23 at Sen Yai Sen Lek in Northeast