One of the largest of the many crises facing our nation is the epidemic of obesity. There is a paradox that we are now the most overfed and undernourished society in the history of mankind. The current generation of children are likely to be the first in U.S. history to not live longer than their parents due to the impact of chronic diseases linked causally to obesity. Health care costs due to obesity related diseases now exceed those due to smoking. Obesity rates have simply exploded in the past 20 years. According to the CDC:
During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more.
The factors that contribute are complex but ultimately come down to the balance of caloric intake and expenditure. We eat too much of the wrong kinds of food and we don’t exercise. Moreover we live in ways that are fundamentally unhealthful and sedentary in cities and developments that make getting outside and moving unpleasant, dangerous and increasingly unlikely. Check out this brilliant article from the The Atlantic Cities: The True Cost of Unwalkable Streets
Two young entrepreneurs in Greenville are doing more than their part to bring awareness to the solution. The Swamp Rabbit Cafe, is an organic grocery and cafe on a bike path! Open since September 2011, the Swamp Rabbit Cafe acts as a key node on the wildly successful rail-trail of the same name. According to owners Mary Walsh and Jacqueline Oliver, the idea for the business came up while sitting by the pool one summer afternoon. Jacqueline was expecting and while loving her job at Upstate Forever on the front lines of sustainable living, they both longed to find another way to contribute to the life of the community.
“Our intention with the business is to provide a convenient place for people to enjoy local food.”
“Most of our customers ride their bikes here, eat, shop and then ride home. ”
“We carry local and organically produced dairy (milk, raw milk, goats milk, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese”.
Local organic produce as well as beef, pork, chicken,goat and lamb as well as specialty items such as mustard, crackers and chocolate round out the offerings on the grocery side. In the cafe the menu features seasonal offerings designed to nourish as well as satiate the hungry cyclist or runner. My favorite is the cider of the day.
In one delicious and fortuitous combination of inspiration and mindfulness the solution to this national health crisis is evident. Selling great food is one thing. But it sounds to me like Macy and Jacqueline also want to make the world a better place
Thanks for reading.