Our team efforts in planning, organizing, and training for our main event of the semester have paid off! On March 20th we took the mobile RedEye cafe coffee truck to Cascades Park as an official vendor for the 2nd annual North Florida VegFest. We met at Element3 church where the truck lives around 8am to prepare for departure and make sure the truck was fully stocked. After assuring that we had all the necessary supplies on board for the event, we hit the road. We arrived at our designated parking lot in Cascades Park around 9am at the same time our neighbor vendor, The Backpackers’ Box food truck was arriving. They were very friendly and we coordinated effectively on how to best situate our vehicles in the parking lot. We got set up in a prime spot along the main row where the festival was taking place and had an electrical outlet directly behind the truck so we didn’t have to worry about setting up the generators.
Shortly after getting the RedEye coffee signs and flags up around the truck, brewing some fresh coffee and setting up the cash register/credit card system we got our first customers. They were actually vendors at the festival too and seemed very grateful for the product and service we provided. When the event actually started at 11am, many customers began lining up and we got into a good rhythm of taking orders, preparing the drink and processing the payments. It was great customer service experience and I felt like all of our interactions with customers were very positive. Some people wanted to know more about RedEye and where the main coffee shop was located so we shared with them some brochures that are kept on the truck about RedEye’s mission and background.
In the middle of the afternoon we actually sold out of the cold brew coffee which was by far the most popular choice, and so one of us had to go pick up some more from RedEye. Business died down more toward the end of the day, with occasional customers coming by. However, overall it was a successful day and we sold a total of $540.50 in product. Next week we will work out all of our expenses and figure out our exact net earnings and where that money will go. I am very happy with the outcome of this internship experience so far and look forward to synthesizing it into a final paper and presentation.
MuniMod has provided plot twist after plot twist, but this time, we will be completely changing our entire idea with less than a month until it is time to present. We had been working on a social media platform to connect cities with their constituents. As time went on, a couple group members started having doubts, our instructor suggested it may be a little too broad, and we lost our only programmer.
That’s when a teammate had a great idea! We could build a system to help in emergency situations, like when hurricanes destroy some of the coastal areas. The idea consists of drones finding trapped civilians and delivering GPS/radios that would allow emergency personnel to find and communicate with them. An added benefit of communicating with those in need of help is the ability to establish which cases are more urgent. (e.g. If someone gets a beacon but already has plenty of supplies to wait a while longer, he can tell the emergency personnel to go save his neighbor who is out of food and has a broken leg.)
Though I was against this change of plans at first, I think it will be exactly what we need to reinvigorate our team and get us back on track. Also, when the competition is over, we might have a chance to improve our idea and sell it to the coast guard or some other emergency group.
March 20th was the day! All member of the RedEye intern team went ready head on over to Vegfest at Cascades Park by 8am. It was a chilly morning but that just made it even better to sell coffee. Our day started off slow, with Britt driving the Truck and us following him close behind hoping that none of our materials would flop around as we unsupervisedly drove across town to finally show off our espresso making skills and customer service.
Everyone was very eager to see what was on our menu for the day and if they knew any familiar faces in the truck.We proceeded to explain that that we were only there temporary for our internship but we were loving every minute of it. Lots of people also asked about all the great values that Redeye had to offer since they saw the advertising on the truck–“Drink coffee locally, change lives globally”.
The whole event went very smoothly but I think our biggest challenge that I believe we over came was the fact that we couldn’t bring normal coffee fix-ins that you would normally have at Redeye Midtown(your basic cream, sugar, whole milk). These ingredients weren’t allowed at the festival seeing as we were only allowed to bring vegan products and nothing more. This made it slightly difficult to foam the milk for the latte’s and hot drinks, but most people seemed to like it anyway.
Over all the day turned out a great success and we were able to exceed our Predicted earnings as we ran out of cold brew and other ingredients to sell!!
As the months go on here at iGrow we are continuing to learn how to grow and harvest vegetables. Cabbages, potatoes, arugula, and many others are only some of the few that we are currently working on.
The home garden program is progressing nicely. We are going to be installing our first few gardens within the next week and we will hopefully be able to keep them flourishing within the neighborhood. We hope to gain more residents who are willing to participate, but one or two is definitely a great starting point. It will give us a great chance to work out any kinks before we can fully implement it and start branching out to other neighborhoods.
There have also been a few trips to the farmers market to sell some of the produce that we are growing. Taking the time to learn how to grow and to nourish these vegetables is a very inspiring experience. Finally being able to pull them out of the ground after months of watching them grow is very fulfilling. I am also learning about a lot of vegetables and fruits that I didn’t even know existed. And teaching this to my friends is fun as well. I hope to continue learning as I finish up my internship here at iGrow.
The past few weeks at The Sharing Tree have been really busy. March came and along with the gloomy weather it brought Leon County’s Spring Break to the Tree. The Sharing Tree organized a Spring Break Camp that was made up of two separate workshops a day for kids! It was a lot of fun to help Carly set up with that although I mostly helped by watching over the store and help customers. I learned a very valuable lesson in that week.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
Carly laughed at me when she saw me helping a woman with one of her crafting projects. The woman had these visions for her project but with limited staff, Carly can only do so much. She chooses her time and energy very carefully. This is a crucial lesson to learn especially when dealing with such limited resources. I immediately realized my mistake but followed through with my commitments anyway. By the end of it, the customer was happy with what I could do for her, although I’m sure she hoped for more of an expert’s aid.
Upcycle in Uptown had a better turn out this past week. We still didn’t have the turn out that I had hoped for, but I’m currently thinking of different ways to make this a sustainable project that could continuously bring revenue to the Tree. Something that I did differently was share the event with my friends and family through Facebook. Carly stays pretty up to date with the Facebook of the Tree so that helps as well. The kind of people who usually go there are mostly mothers with children. I wonder if we should prepare crafting kits for sale for children. This would eliminate having to have someone host the workshop at the Tree and the price of having the site’s utilities operating an extra two hours. Maybe creating kits including the materials and instructions for crafts like the Bots could prove beneficial. Will discuss this with Carly and hopefully have a better idea next time I write!
Executing the home garden program is going into full effect now. Going into the surrounding community we have asked residents who live around the garden if they would be interested in the program and asked if they know about the services and products that we have to offer. Once we are finished with this side of the program we will begin to make an informational pamphlet that will be helpful to those who are just learning how to garden.
The pamphlet will offer tips on what the best seeds are to plant during certain times of the year. It will also offer some more information on the products and services that iGrow has to offer. With the survey we have realized that many people are aware of the garden and what we are growing, but they aren’t very informed on the opportunities that iGrow has to offer. This is where I come in. Our overall goal is to get as many people involved in the home garden program as possible. But we would also like to get more involvement on the main site as well.
To encourage involvement we asked the people around the community what they would like to see being grown in the garden and have received an overwhelming response for more fruits. So we are looking forward to implementing that as soon as the season allows. We are always looking for more volunteers who can come out and work consistently, so we will engage and talk with the surrounding residents as much as possible.
The weeks that have passed have been filled with introductions, a lot of learning, and much brainstorming. The focus for this semester is community outreach. My main focus for this project is to engage with the immediate residents in the area and to educate them more on what products and services we are offering at iGrow. In addition to this we are also attempting to implement a home garden program. In this program we are going to give out free equipment and supplies to anyone who is interested in learning how to garden. We will provide assistance to those who need it as well as encourage them to come out on the work days and learn more about what they are growing so that they can continue to grow different plants as well as pass on what they know to other people.
In doing this we would really like to establish a bartering system between the people of the community to bring it back together and revitalize Frenchtown into what it used to be. We’re beginning with a survey to get a grasp of the different types of things that the residents of the community want to see being grown in the garden as well as to see how many people would be interested in the home garden program. As soon as we implement the survey, we will be getting a head start on the program.