What would you eat if you were a student and had only $4 to spend on food a day? Most of us will think of ramen and pizza, but for Leanne Brown, it can be easily done.
Brown, a New York author and social entrepreneur, came to Algonquin on March 21 to provide a solution to tight student budgets and the need for nutrition.
“It’s the same advice I’d give to other groups of people: get to know cooking, embrace it and know that it’s possible,” said Brown.
“There’s a myth that you can’t eat healthy if you don’t have a lot of money,” explained Brown. “(You can eat healthily) so long as you’re thinking about shopping in a smart way and not letting things get wasted.”
Her book, which titled Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day, not only offers numerous recipes for food that are made from cheap ingredients but still provides sufficient nutrients for our body, but also strategies to cook economically and buy smart.
But perhaps the greatest thing about Brown’s book is that it’s free to be downloaded from her website. It had been downloaded more than 900,000 times as of January 2016.
Although Brown’s idea, which was at first geared towards people who were living on food stamps in America, is extremely relevant to students, few attended the event.
“My original intention for participating in this event was to learn about what she did to create such a successful campaign on Kickstarter,” said Dave D’Aoust, a business management student.
“I think her book is very relevant for students who need to save as much as possible,” said D’Aoust. “But as a student of business, I have also learned about how she has enjoyed success from providing value first, and building a business second.”
With her book going viral on the Internet, Brown launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to print physical copies. Her initial aim was only $10,000, but to her surprise, it was reached within 36 hours after the launching.
In the end her campaign raised $144,681, which gave her a huge shock.
“I lived in a small apartment and have absolutely no experience in distributing things,” said Brown. “But eventually, we managed to get it done.”
Her success caught the attention of Kevin Holmes, project manager at Algonquin’s Health and Wellness Research Centre, who hosted the lunch event.
“Her experience in running a successful Kickstarter campaign fits well with the current focus at the college on entrepreneurship,” said Holmes. “She is an inspiring example of a social entrepreneur.”
Altogether, the event has helped AC Food Cupboard raise $1,217, according to Holmes.
But her real impact will rest on the knowledge she teaches all of us about food.
“I already have begun referring her book to friends and family,” said D’Aoust. “Today I am meeting with Carley Schelck, the founder of Urban Element, a culinary establishment designed to teach people how to cook meals. I will be talking to her about my experience with Leanne Brown and will be showing her the book.”