Businessperson, Activist : b. 1947
In 2004, Inc. magazine named Judy Wicks one of America's 25 most fascinating entrepreneurs, "because she's put in place more progressive business practices per square foot than any other entrepreneur." Founder and CEO of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia, she is also co-founder and chair of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBA).
"Wicks started the White Dog Cafe as a simple muffin shop on the first floor of her house in 1983 and grew it into a “Philly institution," with over 100 employees including the adjacent retail store, the Black Cat. Best known for buying organic produce, and pastured meat and poultry from local family farmers (to whom she occasionally lends money to help expand their operations), the Cafe also acts as a center for dialogue on progressive issues with frequent speakers, storytelling, film series, and local and international tours. The company contributes 20% of its profits to the White Dog Cafe Foundation with programs aimed at growing a local living economy in the Philadelphia region. The café also supports alternative energy by investing in wind-generated power to replace the electricity it uses.
The recipient of many local and national awards and contributor to several publications, Judy Wicks is a frequent guest on lecture platforms as well as on radio and television. She learned from Gandhi that "Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good." As she expresses it, "Non-cooperation began for me by refusing to be part of the factory farm system. This motivated me to create an alternative system. What came first though was the moral obligation to non-cooperate with a system I saw as evil."