We at Urban Pharm are interested in playing around with the idea of “good for you.” Our shrubs celebrate ingredients, food as medicine, and are actually good for your gut. And, there's all of the other stuff: Color. Flavor. Creativity. Community. Taste. Appetite.
Our shrub is not Transformational, and Transformation is not something Urban Pharm aspires to pursue or deliver. We love the everyday, the small moments, rituals, glimpses.
Urban Pharm shrubs embody, intentionally, a lot about our understanding of “good for you.” Apple cider vinegar supports gut health with natural probiotics and healthy bacterias. Raw honey is immune boosting, but mostly it is in there because it makes everything taste better. It takes the harsh edge off of a shot of straight vinegar—suffering in service of health doesn’t so much go along with our understanding of “good for you.” Sweet brings out flavor. In choosing a local honey supplier, we not only get localized allergy support, but we also get to connect with the human beings behind our honey at Carlisle Honey. Same is true of the wonderful people that are the family farmers of Sewell Orchard. Our bottles are beautiful and feel good in your hand. Our labels are full of color. Our flavors are unexpected, creative, and delicious, and the ingredients chosen for their beauty, interesting-ness, and health supporting attributes.
What “good for you” means to me:
Broadly speaking, I tend to understand “good for you” as what nourishes, and what nourishes as what helps one feel connected and alive. At the moment, my "good for you" things gather around two themes:
- Rhythm, beat, and body: Leading the way here are West African drumming and dance. Especially in the ways my teachers invite loosening, listening for unfamiliar patterns and rhythms, and celebrate joyful enthusiasm over getting it right. I’m loving learning something new, a sense of freedom and playfulness that seems to go along with being and knowing I am a beginner, and the liveliness that walks hand in hand with feeling like there is something stretchy happening.
- Making: Putting random things together in interesting ways to make something beautiful lights me up. Especially for others. I love the foraged flower arrangement, especially if it includes herbs and smells amazing. Kitchen witching and coming up with new combinations. Creativity and color are a one-two punch in the “good for me” zone apparently.
In a more meta way, I understand what is “good for you” is to care and take care. I was recently at a college graduation. During a cab ride the driver and I were chatting, as one does, and he dropped this simple and profound piece of wisdom: “I tell my kids, be nice–to everyone, including and maybe especially yourself. Just do that. That is how you create a full and happy life.” Several hours later the commencement speaker invited graduating members of the class of 2022 to “love your enemy” in service of healing a fractured and grieving nation. To be up to this urgent and important task, he continued, it is important to practice opening your heart. To practice caring, and taking care, every single day.
Taking care with is a way of taking care of, either self or others. This taking care with as a way of taking care of, and taking care of as a form of self-care, was there as a motivation and inspiration for Urban Pharm from the beginning. It was as happy-making for us to take care—with ingredients, color, presentation in creating our wooden boxes of “good for you” treats—as it was for our Urban Pharm experimentees to receive them. As soul-feeding for us to hear how taken care of our people felt as it was for them to be taken care of. This principle of care is an on-going north star for Urban Pharm, and we hope it feels as “good for you” as it does to us. xoxoxo