Entrepreneur Judy Wicks to Speak April 17

Can sustainable, environmentally-friendly businesses succeed? Entrepreneur and author Judy Wicks believes they can, and she'll discuss her new book, Good Morning Beautiful Business, Wednesday, April 17, at 7 pm in the Art Building’s Gamble Auditorium.

In this memoir, Wicks recounts her life as a girl coming of age in the sixties, her accidental entry into the restaurant business, her creation in 1983 of Philadelphia’s landmark White Dog Café, and her eventual role as a pioneer in the localization movement.

As founder of the White Dog Café, Wicks helped to save her block of Victorian brownstones from demolition to make way for a proposed mall of chain stores, then grew what she began as a tiny muffin shop in her own home into a 200-seat restaurant featuring fresh local food. Over the years, White Dog built a national reputation for community engagement, environmental stewardship, and responsible business practices. In running the restaurant, Wicks became a leader in the local food movement, purchasing sustainably-grown produce from local family farmers and only humanely- and naturally-raised meat, poultry, and eggs, sustainably-harvested fish, and fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon. While with White Dog, she also implemented programs and policies to pay a living wage; mentor inner-city high school students; recycle and compost; use solar heated hot water, eco-friendly soaps, and office supplies; and purchase 100 percent of the restaurant’s electricity from renewable sources.

Good Morning, Beautiful Business (Chelsea Green, 2013) explores the way entrepreneurs, as well as consumers, can follow both mind and heart, cultivate lasting relationships with each other and the planet, and build a new, compassionate economy that will bring us greater security, as well as happiness. The book is a memoir about the evolution of an entrepreneur who would not only change her neighborhood, but would also change her world—helping communities far and wide create local living economies that value people, nature, and place more than money.

Wicks is the recipient of many local and national awards, including the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Lifetime Achievement Award, International Association of Culinary Professionals Humanitarian Award, and the Philadelphia Sustainability Award for Life Time Achievement.

This event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, the Odyssey Bookshop, and Pioneer Valley Local First.