Natalie Chanin, owner and creative director of Alabama Chanin, puts the emphasis on sustainable food and clothing in Florence, Alabama. In the shop's cafe, she focuses on the freshest local offerings, pulling food inspiration from her childhood years. She joined our friends at Health to talk about her passion for eating local and the importance of supporting community businesses.
[MUSIC]. My name is Natalie Chanin. I'm the owner and creative director of Alabama Chanin. We're a lifestyle and clothing company. We have a store and a cafe in the Shoals community in northwest Alabama. It really did. Began when I was a child. Both my grandparents had farms, and both of my grandparents raised their own cattle, and had vegetable gardens. In the summer my grandmothers put up pretty much all the food that we ate, peas and tomatoes, and things like that. And I really grew up around fresh food. [MUSIC] From this time that I grew up, things changed a lot in the way people ate. I had been living in Europe for a little while and I moved back to North Alabama in the year 2000. And the food, when I got home, just didn't taste like the food of my childhood. And so I put in a garden and started growing my own food. It's just been a Decades long process now of learning to eat healthy. [MUSIC] We opened the store and the cafe in November of 2013. While there are many, many restaurants in this community, there's really only a few that are really committed to serving local fresh food. So, we're really proud that we're able to offer that. My son Zack is the chef of the cafe. We have such a great team that's really committed themselves to this. Not so easy task of sourcing food locally and being able to translate that into beautiful dishes every day. We have a daily special that reflects what's growing and what's available in our community at that time of year. We have southern specials like pimento cheese sandwiches, we make all of our bread fresh here Our cafe is really a reflection of the farmers, of contemporary takes on kind of old classic recipes that would have been made in this community for generations. I'm much more aware today of nutrition and what that means. And I think that's why people are hungry for it. They're hungry for knowledge, they're hungry to meet their farmers, they're hungry for the food that tastes rich, and like it is of the earth of their community. I think there's a great beauty in that. And once you can taste the difference between the two things it's a no brainer. [MUSIC]