Williams-Sonoma Agrarian, Friend or Foe?

April 18, 2012

Williams-Sonoma recently released a new product line targeted at those who want to go beyond cooking and learn where their food comes from; but are there risks?

Williams-Sonoma's new product line, Agrarian, a collection of nearly 300 DIY tools and supplies, caters to those who "want to go beyond cooking by cultivating a healthy awareness of where their food comes from,” according to a company press release. Head to Williams-Sonoma to understand where food comes from? For the Lempert Report and others, that sounds pretty pricy! And indeed it is. Go online or in the stores for a $900 handcrafted chicken coop, red or green, you choose.

The line also includes window boxes, copper gardening tools, a shittake mushroom log, kits for making kombucha and cheese, and even a beekeeping starter kit that comes with a fashionable veiled helmet. The company will also deliver live fruit trees, organic herbs and heirloom vegetables to customers' homes for planting.

The Lempert Report applauds the movement towards knowing where your food comes from, but is hesitant about Americans weekends turning into food experiments where food safety poses a huge risk. Making food is a full time profession, and we’re at risk if we are going to be doing it our selves.

Another worry is that a high-end store like Williams-Sonoma is perpetuating the myth that the idea of growing your own and the local farmers market shopping culture is untouchable for most because of its high price. As pointed out by Canaccord Genuity Securities analyst Laura Champine, “The new line will appeal to the surprising number of six-figure earners with second homes who are open to beekeeping.”

We need to encourage Americans to continue to pursue an interest around food and improving their health through fresh fruit, vegetables and things like local eggs, but we need to draw the line somewhere.