Vendor Spotlight: The Fillery
“Vendor Spotlights” are a recurring blog theme, where we highlight different artists and businesses who will be attending Lightfoot Market, focusing on their background, connection to sustainability, and what products they will be bringing.
Modeled after our brick and mortar store (coming soon to Brooklyn!) our bulk refill bar will feature ingredients for crafting your own Zero Waste staples - from granola to home and body products.
What are your environmental / social initiatives?
I look at The Fillery as a place that is at the intersection of the Zero Waste and Slow Food movements. Our main objective is to reduce packaging and food waste, and we believe good goods should be accessible to all. As a business we strive to minimize unnecessary packaging and waste, thereby reducing our impact on our environment, and we aim to enable our customers to do the same. We want to provide our community not just with the tools to live more sustainably and more healthily, but also with the understanding of how to do so effectively. To support this mission, we’ll be hosting community workshops on everything from waste management (recycling and compost) to making your own products to cooking for health benefits.
When and why did you start your business?
When I moved to Brooklyn in 2006, I was immediately confronted with the very visible and seemingly insurmountable waste problem in New York City. (On average, Americans generate about four and a half pounds of waste per day, and a significant portion of that waste is tied to food.) There is no obvious solution for this global problem, so I began to brainstorm ideas for how to make an impact at a local level, and tackling the food and packaging waste problem seemed like a good place to start. I recalled a shop called By the Pound, a fantastic bulk store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I shopped a number of years ago. There’s really nothing comparable in Brooklyn, and for many years I’ve wondered why this concept hasn’t shown up here. I’ve always wanted to live near such a store, and was certain that others felt the same void. After 10 years of living in Brooklyn, it still doesn’t exist, so I decided to do it myself. I began to research the concept in 2013. Two years later, The Fillery was born.
What does sustainability mean to you?
To me, sustainability is the compass that should guide the choices we make about the things we consume, in whatever manner that might be. It's a quality in the things we eat, purchase, create, utilize -- they must not cause harm, but instead hold lasting value and overall goodness…for our bodies and for the environment.
What were some of the challenges you faced incorporating sustainability into your business?
One of our biggest challenges so far has been assessing the complete environmental impact of our prospective products. When considering the items we will sell in our store, we are looking not only at the products themselves, but also all of the variables in the supply chain. Even when a product itself is very eco-friendly, things like shipping materials and transport methods must also be considered, not to mention cost. The challenge comes in finding a balance between providing truly environmentally sustainable products and maintaining a financially sustainable business.
What is one thing readers can do to lighten their footprint?
Work to make ecoconciousness (and responsiveness to it) become second nature.