Judy Wicks

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Judy Wicks "is owner and founder of Philadelphia’s 25-year-old White Dog Cafe, and is a national leader in the local, living economies movement. She is co-founder of the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and founder of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN). She is also president of White Dog Community Enterprises, a non-profit 501c3 dedicated to building a local living economy in the Philadelphia region.

"Judy has won numerous awards, including the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2005, and the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards Life Time Achievement in 2007. Other accolades include Oprah Magazine’s “5 Amazingly Gifted and Giving Food Professionals,” and Inc. Magazine's 25 favorite entrepreneurs. Judy co-authored The White Dog Cafe Cookbook: Multicultural Recipes and Tales of Adventure from Philadelphia’s Revolutionary Restaurant, and is currently working on a book about her business and the local living economy movement to be published by Chelsea Green.

"With a four-part mission of serving customers, community, employees, and the natural environment, the White Dog Cafe has created numerous educational and community-building programs which focus on topics such as economic & social justice, environmental protection, peace & non-violence, drug policy reform and community arts. Through “Table for Six Billion, Please!” the international “sister restaurant” project Judy began in 1986, she has organized trips to Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Vietnam, and Israel / Palestine in order to understand the effects of US policy. A local sister restaurant program promotes minority-owned restaurants in Philadelphia and Camden. In 1992, Judy began the White Dog mentoring program, which introduces inner-city high school students to the restaurant business through internships at the Cafe. Her adjacent gift store, the Black Cat, founded in 1989, features local and fair trade crafts. White Dog Enterprises, which includes White Dog Cafe and Black Cat, employs over 100 people and grosses approximately $5 million annually, demonstrating the concept of “doing well by doing good.”

"The Cafe sources all produce in season from local organic family farms. All meat and poultry is humanely raised, and fish and seafood are sourced from sustainable fisheries. One hundred percent of electricity is purchased from wind power sources, the first business in Pennsylvania to do so. Entry-level employees make a minimum “living wage” of $9/hour. Twenty percent of profits are contributed to White Dog Community Enterprises and other non-profits. Community Enterprise projects have included Fair Food, which connects local family farms with urban markets, and SBN, which was spun off in 2006.

"Judy has appeared on Nightline, MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, CNN, and numerous local TV and radio shows. She and the Cafe have been featured in Oprah Magazine, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Fortune Small Business, Washington Post, Whole Earth Magazine, Utne Reader, Yes Magazine, Fast Company, Healthy Living Magazine, Business Ethics Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Chronicle of Higher Education, Resurgence Magazine, Hope Magazine, Sojourner Magazine, In Business, Orion Magazine, The Other Side, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Judy’s business career is featured in several books including Making a Life, Making a Living: Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and Life by Mark Albion, Good News for a Chance: How Everyday People Are Helping the Planet by David Suzuki and Holly Dressel, and Aiming Higher: 25 Stories of How Companies Prosper by Combining Sound Management and Social Vision by David Bollier.

"Judy was co-founder of the Free People's Store, now called Urban Outfitters, in 1970, and general manager and co-proprietor of Restaurant LaTerrasse from 1974 to 1984.

"She was also co-founder and President of Synapse, Inc. a non-profit publishing company, and editor and art director of its publications, the Whole City Catalog in 1972 and 1974, and the Philadelphia Resource Guide in 1982." [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Judy Wicks, White Dog Cafe, accessed February 23, 2009.
  2. Schumacher Center for a New Economics Board, organizational web page, accessed May 31, 2013.
  3. Slow Money People, organizational web page, accessed February 6, 2012.
  4. American Sustainable Business Council Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed December 27, 2013.