Artisan hours and artisanal rewards

This guy runs a food cart in Portland. (My apologies, I never got his name.) Let’s call him Peter.

Peter was candid about the demands of food cart life. Listen to the video for the details.

Peter is cheerful about it, but there’s no mistaking that his hours are grueling: 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. No time for a kids or a family.  Peter is open Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It reminds me of an op ed by Bren Smith in the New York Times entitled Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers.

But Peter implies that the money is good. If you can get an operation up and running, rewards materialize.

But this raises a question: how do we define and weigh intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

For some people, an artisanal operation has so much going for it, very small rewards are tolerable. You are doing something good for the planet, the community and your consumer. You are your own boss. You are helping create a revolution in the way Americans eat, in farming, in the supply chain. You are a soldier in a mighty cause.

For others, a calculation is called for. How much can I expect to make? How far will this be above subsistence? What will artisanal enterprise take out of me, my private life, my family, my kids.

Everyone will run the calculation for themselves. But it would be great to talk to someone who has could take us through their thinking and share how they figured out how to define and weigh the various benefits.

Please call us if you would be prepared to share your thinking.

Grant McCracken

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