This month we’ve been looking at how Hub LA members are innovating in the food sector. When we heard about Chris Maloney’s startup real foods farmacy, we were instantly excited. Real foods farmacy develops small healthy grocery stores in fitness centers. We sent Chris some questions to learn more about his interest in healthy lifestyles and doing socially conscious work.
Describe your company, real foods farmacy, and how you got the idea to start it up.
The idea for real foods farmacy came from my family’s (my wife, 3 kids & yours truly) not so easy transition to a healthy & sustainable lifestyle. The transition was really hard work, and at some point in the journey we realized that you can’t buy health in one location and thought it would be great if you could.
Given where we are as a society – global obesity epidemic, at least 60% of us in the U.S. are overweight, etc. – we thought there was value in making living, or transitioning to, a healthy lifestyle simple. So we set out to create a place that folks could go and buy health.
After looking at a few models, we decided to develop real foods farmacy, a small footprint natural & organic grocery store for fitness centers. The thought being that if real food and smart exercise are the major components of health, why don’t we just put them together and make living – or transitioning to – a healthy lifestyle simple.
Our beta store has been open over a year, has done exceptionally well and as a result, we are taking the concept to the next level and expanding.
You have been involved in 8 other start-ups – how is this one different or related to your other projects?
The major difference is that this business, from the beginning, was developed as a social enterprise with the tenets of Conscious Capitalism baked into it.
Did your other work have a “conscious capitalism” focus as well? Why is that important in your current project?
To a certain extent, yes, but in many respects, no.
I think operating with a higher purpose, aligning stakeholder interests, etc. is slowly becoming more common simply because entrepreneurs (me included)/some established corporations/more investors are awakening to the fact that it is a better way (really the right way) to do business.
It is important for real foods farmacy to operate this way because it is the best way for us to create value in the world and execute on our purpose.
I highly recommend Conscious Capitalism, Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey & Raj Sisodia. It is a great, enlightening read.
Why “real foods farmacy”? Our intention is to help spread the word that food is, in fact, a drug and it’s legal everywhere! Real food is one of the best medicines we have.
The quality of food we eat determines how we look, how we feel and how we function (or don’t function) – the awareness of the importance of how much eating quality, real food, matters has been lost along the way.
Junk food in: obesity epidemic, almost 70% overweight, disease out.
Real food in: healthy, vibrant, full of energy out.
What kinds of collaborations are you looking for at Hub LA?
There is a tremendous opportunity to use this “place where you can buy health” to inform, inspire and enable folks via storytelling. We are collaborating with Hub LA members to help tell those stories. We are also partnering with a company at the Hub up in Oakland on another project.