Renee Watley knows that when you become aware of a certain issue, you begin noticing it more in your daily life.
For example, when Watley started thinking about where her food came from, she began noticing a lack of local and organic food available to her.
“It became apparent that the access to good food was limited and definitely not convenient, which—in our fast-paced lives—is key,” said the graduate who lives in Riverview.
So, the 27 year old took matters into her own hands. Last fall, she created A Simpler Place in Time, a business that delivers locally-grown, organic food to homes in Temple Terrace and areas close-by.
“The reason for A Simpler Place in Time stemmed from this desire to help others understand that food—‘diet’ food, ‘natural’ food—isn't always what it seems,” Watley said, adding she wants to help educate community residents on where their food comes from and how it’s produced.
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Watley started the business with the help of Temple Terrace residents John and Lorrie Nertney. Watley and John Nertney work together for a Tampa building company. He encouraged Watley to pursue what interested her.
“She’s just someone who you want to see do well,” he explained.
Watley began delivering to the Nertney’s family and friends in Temple Terrace. She has about a dozen or so customers here and averages 10-15 deliveries throughout the Tampa area each Saturday.
How It Works
Watley teams up with King Family Farm in Bradenton, My Mother’s Garden in Wiamauma, Sunset Ranch in Dover, Geraldson Community Farm in Bradenton, and JAVA Planet in Tampa to find out what foods are in season and available and updates the website weekly. The farmers grow food the way nature intended, with no synthetic chemicals or preservatives. Meats come from animals that have been raised humanely, Watley said.
Customers visit the site at some point between Tuesday morning and Thursday at 9 p.m. and choose which foods they’d like Watley to deliver to them. A customer must spend at least $25.
Watley delivers the food on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and noon in an insulated reusable bag with an ice pack inside. If a customer isn’t home, the ice pack helps keep the delivery fresh for one hour.
“It’s like Christmas every Saturday,” Lorrie Nertney said.
Why Local and Organic?
Supermarkets typically offer food from non-local sources that has been mass-produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
“By chemically trying to mold food and grow it unnaturally, we’re doing a disservice to the environment and ourselves,” Watley said.
On the flipside, local food is fresher, and food that is grown using sustainable methods (without the use of synthetic pesticides, artificial hormones or antibiotics) is healthier for you and the environment, Watley explained. She urged the community to think back to how farmers produced food before the industrialized system: They used natural methods, grew what was in season, and ate local.
“There is this cute little saying that goes something like, ‘Eat organic, or as your grandparents called it: food,’” she said.
That’s where her company name comes from.
Additionally, eating local and organic food helps the community.
“You’re supporting the local farmers,” Watley said. “And by supporting local farmers, you’re supporting your local community.”
Dream for the Future
Watley admits that the variety of food she offers on her site is limited because her business is so new.
“We’re still really, really small,” she said. “The physical labor and everything is my mother and I.”
So, her customers usually have to supplement what she delivers by buying additional food at the grocery store.
But Watley said she hopes that changes as she gains more customers and finds more local growers.
“My dream would be that we could be the source for all your grocery items,” she said.