It’s a classic tale of beginnings: Two students studying abroad in Gabon decide to combine seemingly disparate interests into a business concept. The students are LSA junior Kay Feker and Business junior Dan Morse, and as they explained in the campaign video on their group’s website, these seemingly disparate interests were food and helping others realize their full potential.

The result was The Beet Box, a Kickstarter project headed by Morse and Feker and assisted by LSA juniors Alex Perlman, Peter Ward and Kendra Hall. The Beet Box is a health-empowerment food cart that opened shop in the Mark’s Carts collective on March 30.

Residents of the Ann Arbor area may have noticed a group of students walking around this past December handing out samples of baked cauliflower with a yogurt feta sauce, topped with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves — what they would call “healthy fast food.” This is just one of the many “strong food” dishes to be tasted at The Beet Box. “Strong food” is a term coined by these entrepreneurs for the contents of a one-of-a-kind menu including such features as baked kale chips, an East-meets-West taco featuring a traditional Mexican style with Indian seasoning and roasted beet quinoa.

“The biggest angle on our menu is that we’re only serving food that betters you,” Morse said. “By eating it, the cauliflower will help you think clearer, the kale chips will help build your body, the pomegranate will improve your mood, and it’s all these different components that improve the way you live.”

In addition to the health benefits of these foods, The Beet Box will also be sourcing all their foods locally, through either the Ann Arbor Food Co-op or the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, which has become an increasingly popular trend due to the benefits of sustaining the local economy and the added nutritional benefits of fresh produce free of preservatives. Both of these benefits tie into the philosophy behind The Beet Box, where the health food initiative, already a strong theme in the Ann Arbor community, is only one part of the revolutionary whole.

“I think that (sourcing local food) also ties into our greater concept,” Morse said. “Being a restaurant that not only serves the community, but completely engages and creates the community.”

To do this, The Beet Box synthesizes the approaches to the individual and the community. Along with the benefits of sustaining the local economy through local produce, The Beet Box also plans to create an alliance of local health causes and health-promoting non-profits by donating a portion of the price of each meal to these organizations.

“We declare that our mission is empowering people to be healthy,” Morse said. “And every single business or non-profit in the community becomes our partner because they agree with that mission.”

Another edification of this alliance and its resulting community is a twist on an old formula: Instead of giving a recurring customer a free meal after so many purchases, they’ll receive a free pass to a yoga or dance class within the community.

“We’re transforming the relation between the person behind the counter and you,” Morse said.
“You’re giving them channels to be healthy, and you’re giving them influence to be healthy.”

The Beet Box is a place where students can not only eat a quick, healthy meal to the sweet sounds of Motown, but also meet others with a similar passion and together join this vertex to a community founded on the celebration of health and empowerment.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.