We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryanne Rothenberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryanne, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
At Ry’s Table we work to connect people through nourishing food for a stronger local food system. We create a space where farms, artisans and patrons alike can express common goals, share off the same plate, and transfer knowledge over a meal. Protecting food security is in the best interest of our local agricultural system, but also brings us closer to a more sustainable planet and more evolved humanity. We believe that food is medicine, and everyone should have equitable access to healthy food, as well as the tools to feel more confident to grow and cook it. By starting small with our community, we hope seasonal menus inspired by farm availability, may ignite some interest in consumers to think BIGGER about their choices when shopping. At events we are a resource for guests, who often ask where we source specific vegetables, how we grow unusual ingredients, and which farms are selling specialty items that week. While we love connecting with folks over a delicious plate, we are working to educate people on the larger impact of food security in our community and globally, and increase support to our local farmers.
What should our readers know about your business?
Ry’s Table began when I worked as an Executive Chef and Food Program Manager of a women’s youth non-profit organization in Seattle. I created a farm to table program for retreats catering 100+ attendees, by procuring donations from local farms and artisans depending on seasonal availability. The goal was always to provide healthy nourishing local food. I loved working with farmers and was already clicked into the local foodie scene and I was never picky about what we received. If it was 50lbs of kale we made kale pakoras! I recruited a team of 30+ volunteers, trained them to work a line and best of all we opened our doors to board members and youth alike to step into the kitchen and participate in the hands-on experience. This is where the learning exploded, over food, history, culture and life experiences. This job came after spending 3 years in Thailand obtaining an MPH while working in maternal and neonatal health and nutrition in a refugee community. My passion for food security, especially the impact on women’s and children’s health couldn’t have been stronger. Fast-forward to 2016 when I moved to Atlanta, I tried many different facets of my business; postpartum meals for moms, Ayurvedic consultations, gluten-free crackers, holistic catering, Pop-ups and Supanola granola. My world travels, specifically the flavors of Thailand stuck with me and I wanted to bridge it with my upbringing around Ayurveda and passion for health. I’m now working towards creating an event space to host classes and dinners, with guest farmers, fellow chefs and community members to transfer knowledge around food and wellness. To say it’s been easy would be a lie. I’ve had to stop many aspects of my business when realizing I was not loving my work. I’ve always wanted to get back to the place of making food security the center of discussion at the tables I serve food on. It’s taken many iterations of my business to get here but I couldn’t be happier about the new direction. I’m excited that this new event space revolves around a massive garden I’ve been nurturing and attendees will get to experience themselves when they come to the property. The biggest obstacle has been editing. Editing the number of services I can offer and the amount of time I can actually dedicate to my work away from my small children. I’ve learned to do less, but do it well and only do what I love.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When friends and family are visiting we always go the farmers markets! My routine spots are Freedom Farmers Markets, Peachtree Rd. and Grant Park Farmers Markets. We often will hit up El Tesoro, Arepa Mia, BoocaLupo and the Chop Shop for some provisions and a cook off on the green egg back at the house. At some point we may head North to the Chattahoochee National Forest for a hike or an overnight.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Grow Where You Are has been an inspiring farm partner and mentor throughout my growth in Atlanta. They work in a vast number of spaces, unlike most farms with permanent plots. They introduce noteworthy biodiversity, eliminate waste and have a greater social impact on food accessibility. They are incredibly generous with what they give back to the earth, the multiple communities they feed, and the continuous flow of knowledge they share with the world so people can grow their own food.
Other: Also follow @supanola on Instagram to receive your superfood granola!
Ry’s Table & Heather Novotny @Votnyphotography