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I became obsessed with learning everything I could about natural foods.  To me now the idea of changing one’s diet for the better was about much more than diet alone.  There seemed to me to be a spiritual aspect to all of this that I couldn’t yet explain.  I was still dodging that gospel reference.

Bill and I stayed with Scot for three days and then it was time to move on.  We had one more stop to make before the long drive back to Hinsdale.  Bill’s older half brother Chuck Thayer lived in Topanga Canyon with his wife Liz and their two young children.  They hosted us for two days then we headed home.

I talked Bill’s ear off about “this thing” that was happening to me.  I was certain it all had something to do with our destiny and I couldn’t stop thinking about the vision and my new found interest in natural foods.  When we got back home I began to read everything I could find about natural foods.  I told all my friends about the vision and my plans to build a natural foods store which was to be the first of many businesses I hoped would ultimately result in this “self sufficient city” I was convinced was to be our destiny. 

At first everyone embraced the idea and wanted to be part of it.  Dozens of my friends joined me in hosting big spaghetti dinners in our homes where we served up as natural a feast as we knew how to prepare.  All sorts of people joined us to hear about the vision I had for building this city and of my plans to start it by opening a natural foods store. 

Natural foods was something very new to us in the Midwest.  We all knew about health food stores where you could buy vitamin pills and dietetic foods.  The idea of a natural foods grocery store was different.  Everyone I talked to thought it was a good idea for me to open one here.  I was encouraged by the positive reception.

That vision of a self sufficient community sharing commerce exchanging goods and services ultimately would be fulfilled 20 years later in the form of Art of Barter, the business I have operated since 1992 with 1,000 small business owners participating generating a volume of business in excess of $150,000,000.00!.


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