Friday, January 29, 2016

Feel Good Friday - La Cocina

Two things I enjoy are hearing stories of people doing what they love and food. (Mmmm, food.) That's why today's Feel Good Friday organization is La Cocina!

Formed in San Francisco's Mission District in 2005, La Cocina's mission "is to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities."

Rental rates at La Conina's kitchen are $15/hour, versus a more typical $45, and provide people who are running informal businesses out of their homes an opportunity to scale up. As they explain on their website, "We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape."

Kitchen space isn't the only thing La Cocina has to offer. There is also an incubator program that helps women create self-suffcient businesses in the food industry. Participants go through a 4-step process:

  1. Application and enrollment.
  2. Pre-incubation, focusing on business areas such as marketing and finances as well as the product.
  3. Incubation, which includes technical assistance and mentorship for their business along with access to the kitchen.
  4. Graduation.

The program works! Statistics from the video below state that, "In 2013, La Cocina businesses generated 4.1 million dollars in revenue and created 155 jobs."

Those of you in the Bay Area may recognize some of the current participants and graduates. You can check this map to find a La Cocina business near you or visit their kiosk in the Ferry Building.

No matter where you live, you can learn more and meet some of the women involved by watching this SFGovTV video Quick Bites: La Cocina or visiting their press page. They also have a Facebook page to like and you can follow them on Twitter @lacocinasf. As for me, I'm inspired to go eat some food from the La Cocina participants. See you next week!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Feel Good Friday - ArtTEK Tanna

One of the things that makes me feel good no matter what the day of the week, is the fact that I know so many people involved in Feel Good Friday activities! Today, we take a look at an organization run by my friend Janna Olson - ArtTEK Tanna!

TEK stands for Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Tanna, Vanuatu may sound familiar because in March, 2015 the island was hit by cyclone Pam, one of the worst in recent history. The people of Tanna are working to rebuild their communities and TEK Tanna - a presence before and after the cyclone - is helping.

As explained on the website, "TEK Tanna is a non-profit based in New York City working with the Lume Rural Training Center and five South Pacific tribes to build and operate a Resilient Societies Center located on Tanna, Vanuatu in the Melanesia. Its mission joins traditional and modern solutions from the world's most sustainable communities to fortify climate and cultural resilience."

Two of the community members are in the United Arab Emirates right now because one of their projects, a youth and community training lab, was a finalist in the Zayed Future Energy Prize! Although the team didn't win the cash prize this year, TEK Tanna still has the goal of creating the Naihné Resilient Societies Center (named after the founding tribe). It will offer youth programing which includes:

  • Renewable energy systems
  • Permaculture for food security
  • Construction with rapidly renewing materials
  • Cultural perpetuation in a country with 110 languages

All of the projects at the Lume Rural Training Center focus on developing cultural skills, renewable energy skills and professional skills for global citizens. The group really embodies their motto, "Creativity is the ultimate renewable resource."

To learn more about TEK Tanna and stay current on their activities, sign up for the email newsletter here or Tweet your heart out! #TEKTanna

Friday, January 15, 2016

Feel Good Friday - One Warm Coat

It's raining in California, which is great news for the state but not so great if you don't have the proper attire. Today's Feel Good Friday highlights One Warm Coat, a San Francisco based organization whose mission is in their name.

Nearly 15% of people in the US live in poverty and for people struggling to get by, a warm winter coat is often considered an extra expense. To address this problem, people in San Francisco held a coat drive in 1992 and One Warm Coat was born. Their mission, as stated on their website, is "to provide anyone in need with a warm coat, free of charge.

They facilitate this goal by providing instructions and materials for anyone who wants to hold a coat drive, and partnering with organizations to get them the needed coats.

Since their inception the coat drives have expanded to all 50 states and 10 countries and they've collected over 4,000,000,000 coats! Yes, you counted the zeros correctly, 4 million coats.

There are a number of ways you can help: host a coat drive, donate a coat, donate cash, volunteer and spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter @onewarmcoat

If you're short on time but want to support the work One Warm Coat is doing, text "COAT" to 80100 to give a $5 donation - enough to provide 10 coats. If you're not in a rush, why not spend some time cleaning out your coat closet to see if you've got any coats you can donate. What else are you going to do on a rainy day?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Feel Good Friday - KIOO Project

Happy Feel Good Friday! It's a new year and no doubt you took some photos during this holiday season to document your experience and create a memory for your future self. Today we're going to talk about an organization that teaches photography to vulnerable children around the world.

The KIOO Project was founded by photographer Babita Patel after a trip to Haiti brought her in contact with children who had never seen photographs of themselves before. The mission, as stated on their website is a simple one, "to teach photography to children from communities with limited creative resources."

Right now KIOO Project offers workshops in Kenya, India and Haiti and their vision is "for every child to develop self-confidence by discovering who they are through photography."

You can hear and see how this is affecting the children by watching this video of students in Kenya or this video of students in Haiti. In their workshop in India, girls were taught about photography during the first week of the program. They then developed leadership and presentation skills by teaching photography the boys who came in the second week of the program.

If you like the work KIOO Project is doing you can support them by buying some of the student photos, straight up donating money, or liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @kiooproject.

Now get out there and do something with those photos of yours!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Feel Good Friday - New Year's Manifesto

Happy Feel Good Friday!

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous 12 months and to set goals for the future. Many people do this in the form of New Year's resolutions but I'm recommending writing a manifesto!

Wikipedia defines a manifesto as "a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government" and links to a ton of examples
as only Wikipedia can.

January 1st is a great time to declare your intentions and it's easy to get started. This article from the Huffington Post gives details on what to consider when writing a manifesto and breaks it down to five simple steps:

  1. Get inspired.
  2. Make notes.
  3. Write a rough draft.
  4. Put it away, then proofread.
  5. Live it.
If you're too busy at the gym to write an original manifesto, there are plenty already out there that can provide you with some inspiration. One of my favorites comes from a company called Holstee whose mission is "to help people live a reflective and intentional life" and I've included the picture below.

Happy writing and happy new year!