We had the good fortune of connecting with Ed Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ed, so many of the folks we connect with are focused on having a positive social impact on their community or the world at large. Can you talk to us about how you are helping the community?
Enjoy Handplanes is a filter for the surf industry to remove waste from the landfill while creating jobs and useful products out of that waste. We upcycle surfboards, production waste, packaging, wetsuits and fabrics from our community to make our handplanes. We also work with Patagonia to upcycle their post consumer luggage, fabrics and ambassador kite surfing string to make upcycled luggage tags. By doing this we create products that inspire others to see the world in a new way. A way that uses trash to create beautifully designed useful items.
What should our readers know about your business?
I started my first business in 1996 right out of college and since then my goals have changed significantly. In the beginning it was all about me and making a living. I was in my twenties and I couldn’t see to far past myself. In 2005 I watched my daughter be born into the world and something shifted for me. I suddenly had a view of the world that was less about me and more about others. In 2010 I cofounded Enjoy Handplanes making products from other peoples trash. We collected old surfboards, wetsuits, and other items we used to make our products. It was an awakening moment for me that got me thinking seriously about our environment and how me doing business could be a positive impact on my community, local or global. In the process of doing business we became a filter for our community and became a place for people to drop off their waste so they didn’t have to throw it away. At the time broken surfboards were destine for the landfill. But our business created a demand for them in our community and ultimately they became valuable. Over the past 10 years I’ve been a pioneer in the space of converting trash to beautiful, functional products. My business became a lab for me to think more and more outside the box. In doing that I’ve learned valuable lessons and shared my journey along the way which helped to inspired others around the world to do the same. Now with my latest venture, Enjoy the Farm, I’m combining my passion for upcycling, eco product design and regenerative farming to create a space for others in our community to come learn how to incorporate upcycling and holistic land management into their own lives and businesses.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I split my time between North County Coastal and North County Rural. When friends come to town we spend a lot of time in Encinitas as well as at Enjoy The Farm in Valley Center. In Valley Center one of my favorite spots to take people for lunch is the Yellow Deli. It’s outdoor seating, beautiful atmosphere and yummy food is a guaranteed good time. I also love a good hike on Palomar Mt. Once on the coast we’ll get take out (now with Covid rules) from our favorite local restaurants like Himalayan Kitchen, Birds Eye and Lotus Cafe and eat family style or pick fruits and vegetables from our food forest and make a meal at home. I am a huge plant lover so I love taking people to Exotica in Vista which is the oldest 100% organic rare fruit nursery in San Diego. It’s filled with mature fruit trees dripping with fruit so you can try before you buy. The beaches in Encinitas can’t be beat as well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love and support of my family, friends, community and fellow businesses who believed in me. In particular my mate Karen Winter who has supported my journey in eco entrepreneurship from day one, my Mom and my Aunt who have partnered with me, my daughter who’s birth changed my world and businesses like Patagonia who have let my little sampling grow next to their old growth redwood. I also give a huge thanks to my mentor and eco artist Rodrigo McCoubrey who inspired me to view the world of trash as treasure. And then there are the countless supporters who see what I do as valuable enough to want to call it their own.
(Ed in Patagoina, Ed Grinding, Ed looking at Surfboards. Nate Peraccini The rest Ed Lewis