Calling all dreamers and visionaries

Beyond the Curb


Brian Pidgeon-Flanagan, owner of Real Food Cafe in Viera, switched from polystyrene to-go containers to biodegradable compostable containers.I took my family to see “Tomorrowland,” the Disney movie. Wow, was I in for a surprise. Despite the slightly cumbersome story and development, the movie carries a very important message: We create our own future based on whatever we envision for it. The future is what each one of us dreams it to be, what each one of us starts now. 

That made me look at what is being done locally to contribute to a better future for all of us.

In May, a rally was put together by various local organizations to demand our legislators to respect Florida constitutional Amendment 1 approved by 75 percent of voters to allocate appropriate funds toward water and land conservation projects (go to ( Water is a crucial resource for everyone, but legislators don’t seem to want to listen. Further action will be needed.

Schools are also pushing the boundaries. 

In Brevard County, two schools — Manatee Elementary in Viera and Odyssey Charter in Palm Bay — received the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School award. The award is presented to schools reducing carbon footprint, offering a healthy learning environment and creating environmentally responsible students — and communities — by teaching and promoting sustainable practices. We realize that investing in our children is the best way to invest in a better future.

As one last example, Brian Pidgeon-Flanagan, chef and owner of Real Food Café — — serves only organic, non-GMO and made-from-scratch foods. A former chef at NASA and Northrop Grumman, he wanted to change his future and opened the café in November of last year. At first, to keep costs down, Brian used Styrofoam containers for his to-go orders, which now average eight to 10 orders a day. 

Styrofoam, an expanded form of polystyrene, is made of toxic chemicals that may leach into foods and drinks. Cities like New York, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, as well as Washington, D.C., have banned polystyrene food containers. Polystyrene is non-biodegradable, unsustainable and a great air and water pollutant; in other words, it is bad for us and for the environment.

That always bothered Brian and his wife, Lisa Beatty, so last month they decided to invest in a better solution and switched to biodegradable, compostable containers. 

“Yes, it costs more,” Brian said, “but we know it is a better option.”

These are only a few examples of our locals doing something to create a better tomorrow. They live by the saying “be the change you want to see in the world” and they understand that today is the right moment to start creating the future we want to see. 

The future starts now. Dreamers and visionaries are welcome.

If you would like to help build a better future, send an email to We would love to hear from you.