By: Natalie Furniss
20/20 vision: The ability to see clearly, with perfect eyesight, toward something in the distance. The implication is astounding as we quickly approach the new year. For most of 2019, the leadership team at Hickory Nut Gap combed through all of the intricacies of the business to develop what we feel is the path forward. We decided on a mission statement, a set of core values, and a vision for the future. This was no easy feat considering that we have a legacy of 100+ years to uphold, but we did it.
Our Mission: To Build Community Through Agriculture
Although simple in concept, this mission now infiltrates every decision we make moving forward. Does this build community? Are we improving the land? Are we helping the economy? Does this benefit the consumer? All of these questions have to be asked, and we have to check the box before moving forward. But this is a good thing. It keeps us transparent, authentic, and accountable.
Our Core Values: Adaptable, Work Excellence, Reliable, Connection Building, Helpful/Positive
The exercise was to picture current employees who we felt exemplified qualities that spoke to the brand we want to build and be proud of. Although everyone brings something special and unique to the table, there were two individuals that stood out; Hallie and Jenn. What set them apart was their can-do attitude and commitment to doing their best every time. They care no matter how menial the task may seem to be, and they put their all into it with a positive attitude aimed at doing better and being better. When you view our core values list above, know that these values came from actual people who embody these traits, and not just a list of ideals. Now our task is to spread that message to everyone and encourage others to live up to their standard.
Our 10 Year Vision: To be the brand that scaled pasture-based agriculture right.
A key word to focus on is the word “right.” Scaling a business, creating a brand, growing and meeting objectives is all part of the plan. Doing those things ‘right’ is the challenge. Making the tough decision to turn down opportunities because they don’t align with our values, that’s what starts to set us apart from the pack. Does this mean we don’t make mistakes? Heck, no. It means that when we fail, we fix. We are venturing down a road less traveled, so mistakes are bound to occur. We are actively trying to innovate and scale in an industry that prides itself on taking short-cuts to be more competitive in the marketplace. When you truly care about the environment, the animals, the people, and the economy, you can’t take short-cuts.
Our 2020 Vision
Now we are approaching the year 2020 with a road map of where we want to go. It is certainly no easy task to get there, but we are in the midst of the planning stages to outline the next 12 months. What our followers will begin to notice is that we are going to focus on the bigger picture. Education, environment, innovation, and health will rise to the surface as we use each month as an opportunity to fully dive into a big and important topic. Follow our social platforms and encourage others to get involved as we take our community on a journey through agriculture.
We’ll introduce you to farmers who have been working the land for generations and those who have just started their careers. You will be able to learn about topics that directly affect human health and the land we live on. We will be introducing new community events and partnerships that aim to perpetuate our mission with a meaningful experience.
We hope you get involved and develop a passion for the full circle of our food system the way that we have. After all, everything we do starts and ends with you. It’s time to feel good about the meat you eat.