Field of Greens


Assembly required: Sweetgreen’s hexagonal, compostable bowls have become status markers. Rozette Rago for The New York Times


Illustration by Gluekit; Photographs by Philip Cheung for The New York Time

It is not the first time we are linking out to a story on this company, but thanks to the New York Times for In a Burger World, Can Sweetgreen Scale Up?for a more in depth look at them.

And for that matter, for a theme we care deeply about, which is that we should all be putting more thought into the food we eat, and how it is packaged.

The market is rewarding those companies paying attention to these themes:

Squashing the competition: A worker preparing zucchini.  Rozette Rago for The New York Times

The chain that made salads chic, modular and ecologically conscious now wants to sell you a lot of other stuff.

On a Wednesday morning last fall, several executives at Sweetgreen, the fast-casual salad chain, gathered around a conference table at their headquarters here. They were discussing a new store format, called Sweetgreen 3.0, that had recently been introduced in New York City after two years of planning. At Sweetgreen’s other 102 locations, customers brave queues that, at peak lunch, can make T.S.A. lines look tame. Up front, employees assemble Harvest Bowls, Kale Caesars and infinite customized variants from a spread of freshly prepared ingredients, in a ritual that has become a hallmark of the modern midday meal.

At 3.0, to increase efficiency, the action had been moved offstage, to a kitchen in the rear. Customers give orders to a tablet-wielding “ambassador,” if they haven’t done so ahead of time with their smartphones, retrieving their salads from alphabetized shelves. While they wait they can mull adding one of the Sweetgreen baseball caps or $37 bottles of olive oil on display to the tab.

Many of the changes being tested at 3.0 seem crucial to realizing the ambitious plans of Sweetgreen’s co-founder and chief executive, Jonathan Neman. With its prescient mobile technology strategy, the company hopes to become something bigger — much, much bigger — than a boutique urban chain serving arugula to health nuts and yoga moms. Continue reading

Get Your Copy Of The 2017 World Happiness Report

Not to overgeneralize or stereotype, but what is it with Scandinavians? We have barely noted, certainly not enough in these pages, how remarkably adept they are at navigating in the right direction. They seem to know something about how to live life, with very happy outcomes, that the rest of us might well learn from. And with all the unhappy news, from time to time we must ponder happiness itself. HR17_3_cover_small-232x300.pngClick the image of the report to the right to get a copy of the report, summarized on the website of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) as follows:

The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. In June 2016 the OECD committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts”. Continue reading

The Nature Fix, Interview & Links

LopateNature.jpgThis is 20 minutes well spent if you share our interest in the links between nature and wellbeing; one hypothesis on this topic we favor being biophilia. But science is the realm of the nonstop quest, so the author’s explanation in this interview, of her motivations and her methodology, are worth hearing.

lopatenat2We have a preference for supporting independent bookstores so if this book goes onto your shopping list, before you otherwise get pulled in the direction of an online superstore, Powell’s is a great option; see what they have to say about the book:

9780393242713_198An intrepid investigation into nature’s restorative benefits by a prize-winning author.

For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; and Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Continue reading

Fly-Fishing In The Rockies


Scott Tarrant is the fly-fishing manager at the Broadmoor resort and hotel in Colorado Springs. Credit Ryan David Brown for The New York Times

We always think we have the best occupations, but occasionally we see what someone else is doing and start having second thoughts. But, as we know, there is a reason why it is called work:

The Curative Power of Water, Waders and a Fly Rod

 As told to

Scott Tarrant, 46, is manager of fly-fishing at the Broadmoor, a resort and hotel in Colorado Springs. Continue reading