Aloha in Waikiki

FOND Group had the honor of helping to produce the first annual Aha Kai Aloha Festival celebrating Hawaiian Surf and Cultural Heritage which took place in Waikiki this past fall. Alison Berman caught up with visionary pro surfer Rochelle Ballard to learn more about the memorable day and the inspiration behind the event.

All Photos by Kai Markell
In Hawaii, surfing is more than an activity or a pass time. It is more than a sport. Surfing goes deep into the heritage of Hawaii; it is embedded in the roots of Hawaiian culture. And, nodding to that deep significance was the first annual Aha Kai Aloha Festival, a one-day Hawaiian cultural surfing event that debuted in Kūhio Beach Park in Waikīkī on September 6th, 2014. The dawn-to-dusk festival was a celebration of traditional Hawaiian surfing and also so much more. It was an effort to bring together and nurture the many at-risk and homeless youth of Waikīkī and reconnect them with their Hawaiian heritage through surf sessions, workshops on Hawaiian traditional practices, and also educating youth on resources available within the community. “It was a really amazing shared day of Aloha, and that’s what Aha Kai Aloha is, it’s bringing earth into the ocean or valley into the sea using all of the elements for sustainability, bringing together the wisdom of perpetuating the land and sea through the love of surfing-Aha Kai Aloha. In Hawaiian culture it is called Ahupua’a -from the valley into the sea of Hawaiian cultural sustainability,” said Rochelle Ballard, professional world-class surfer, who first had the vision for the festival.

Pro surfer Rochelle Ballard (center) leads the opening ceremonies with 'Uncle' Bruce Keaulani of the Living Life Source Foundation.

Pro surfer Rochelle Ballard (center) leads the opening ceremonies with ‘Uncle’ Bruce Keaulani of the Living Life Source Foundation.

Rochelle moved to Kauai, Hawaii as a child, which is where she later took her first leap onto a surfboard. She is an accomplished professional female surfer and veteran of the Association of Surfing Professional’s (ASP) World Championship Tour, and also starred in the original Blue Crush film. After an inspiring professional career, Rochelle continues to cultivate her love for surfing, one way being through her deep involvement with Living Life Source Foundation (LLSF), the organization behind Aha Kai Aloha Festival. LLSF is a charitable non-profit located in Hawaii’s Manoa Valley and has a beautiful mission, “To restore a system of living by embracing all faiths and modern science; teach concepts vital to creating a life of greater meaning, purpose, and freedom; and, educate the people of Hawaii to become self-sustainable and to perpetuate the life-force spirit of Aloha.” Professor Bruce Keaulani, locally known as Uncle Bruce, is the founder of Living Life Source Foundation and asked Rochelle to create an event that would bring together the organization’s efforts with local youth and the healing aspect of what LLSF stands for. And from this sparked the inspiration for Aha Kai Aloha Festival.

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FOND Founder, Nicole Delma, honored to share a moment with legendary shaper Pohauku Stone.

The festival opened with a prayer chant, Oli. Rochelle recounts the moment, “A shower came through, and everyone was facing the ocean, listening to the water and the waves, as to bless the day with safety and the Aloha spirit.” The festival offered a mix of workshops that taught youth about Hawaiian traditions such as pounding Poi, which is the process of pounding taro root into a dough like consistency. A large focus of the day was also to show youth the connection between surfing and Hawaii’s ecology. Local Tom “Pohaku” Stone brought this to life through a hands-on workshop on papa he’e nalu, showing the kids how traditional Hawaiian wooden surfboards are carved. Through teaching these traditional methods it also continues that important aspect of Hawaiian culture, Rochelle explains, “When you stop doing these practices then the culture dies, and people are no longer fulfilling the Aloha, the spirit of where they came from.”

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Aiding at-risk and homeless youth can be a delicate undertaking. On the streets of Waikīkī, it isn’t always easy to identify which kids are homeless, even more so, each child has their own unique story and circumstances. Knowing this, the festival was designed to be as inviting as possible, acknowledging that whether teaching a surf lesson or introducing to a local charitable resource, a critical first step is to earn trust.

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Local groms prepare for the female longboard competition.

Youth Outreach (YO!), which provides medical and social services to homeless youth through YO! drop-in centers in partnership with Waikiki Health and Hale Kipa, Inc., was one of the resources available to the children, as well as Surfrider Spirit Sessions (SSS), a Hawaiian non-profit that serves at risk youth through ocean-based experiential education and mentoring programs.

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Commentator Kaipo Guerrero (left) lent his voice and surf expertise to the day’s events. Guerrero is a well-known announcer in the sport of surfing and a fan favorite.

Surf lessons and an eight-division surf competition open to the public also took place during the day. Competition entry fee was waved for canned food donations and divisions were bracketed by age, not gender, encouraging participating for the love of the sport, rather than for fierce competition.

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Local youth take turns experiencing outrigger canoe rides through the Waikiki surf.

With over 600 arriving for the festival, 100 participating in the surf competition, and 400 healthy breakfast and lunch meals shared, the impact of the first annual Aha Kai Aloha Festival was inspiring. The festival is committed to continuing to partner with existing organizations to enhance and support their efforts to aid local at-risk youth, both for next year’s event, and also with the possibility of building workshops throughout the year.

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Volunteers teach local youth how to make traditional Poi from locally grown Taro root.

Surfing holds a unique significance within Hawaiian culture, which Aha Kai Aloha Festival gracefully demonstrated by connecting at-risk youth with their heritage, its traditions, and community recourses, all through the shared love of surfing and Aloha.

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Special Thanks to Alison E. Berman for this recap of an amazing event and to the Elkes Foundation for helping to make it possible.

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Alison is a storyteller, marketer, and the founder of digital storytelling platform Anchor & Leap. She has a complex understanding of multi-channel storytelling and gained her roots working at prominent media companies Meredith Corporation as a Marketing Manager and previously at Rodale, Inc.’s in-house content marketing agency. While at Rodale, Alison also facilitated a company-wide social media think tank that was formed by CEO Maria Rodale.

As a consultant, Alison helps companies define and share their own stories through rich content marketing and strategy—all with a focus on aligning messaging with the core values of the organization. Some past clients include Nissan, Applegate, Norton by Symantec, Kraft Foods, and Energizer Holdings.

Alison is passionate about creative cultures, design thinking, and social enterprise. You can follow her on Twitter @DigitAlison

Coast 2 Coast

Coast 2 Coast is a participatory cross-cultural collection and evolving database of stories conceived by youth from diverse coastal communities around the world, shared and exchanged through their own photography, film, art, and words.

Students at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, Calif., will be exchanging their photography and personal narratives once a month with youth from Peru, New York, and Los Angeles over the course of the academic year. All youth participants will produce their own one-minute videos on a social topic of their choose to be screened for the local community in May 2015.

https://www.indiegogo.com/project/coast-2-coast–2/embedded

Funding raised through our Indiegogo Campaign successfully launched Coast 2 Coast through its first year!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/coast-2-coast–2/x/2110555

Coast 2 Coast’s online space provides a platform for youth to share their voices with a global audience. These stories are the shared experiences of adolescents growing up within different socio-economic contexts along diverse coastlines worldwide.

Participating youth hone multimedia skills to document their experiences, cultures and communities, and collaborate with youth around the world through the online platform in which they share and respond to one another’s creative works.

About BTSI:

Beyond the Surface International is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit platform for youth empowerment projects in marginalized communities worldwide using surfing and creative-learning initiatives as innovative mediums for positive social change. BTSI develops safe space learning environments where youth can enjoy the freedom to explore their talents, interests and capabilities. BTSI facilitates innovative learning projects utilizing a free-progress education model to empower individuals to question socio-cultural norms and be courageous agents of change in their communities and beyond.

Learn More about Coast 2 Coast:
https://coastcoast-project-swe2.squarespace.com/
Support the Coast 2 Coast project and other  Beyond the Surface International efforts, here:
http://www.beyondthesurfaceinternational.org/#!get_involved/c8k2
By Emi Koch
Emi Koch, Founder of Beyond the Surface International

Emi Koch, Founder of Beyond the Surface International

About Emi

Beyond The Surface International Founder / Humanitarian As the daughter of a lifeguard, Emi Koch was introduced to the ocean at an early age.  Her dad pushed her into her first wave when she was two years old.  All she wanted to be was a professional surfer. But one day in her senior year in high school everything changed.  Her teacher pointed out a statistic:  “If the world’s population was condensed into a village of 100 people only one of that 100 would have a chance at a college education and (own) a computer.”  Upon hearing that statistic, Koch felt that she was that one person in the village, and that she needed to fight for the rights of the other 99 people so that they would have the same opportunities that she had.Emi enrolled at Georgetown University upon graduating from high school.  She started out as an International Politics Major with her career goal to be a US Diplomat.  The summer after her freshman year in college she went to Nepal and lived with Buddhist monks and taught street children in the monastery school.  This was when she realized what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
Emi still had the passion for surfing inside her and tried to figure out a way to combine that passion with her passion for social justice.  While volunteering in Nepal she heard about a non-profit founded by a professional skateboarder.  He combined his passion for skateboarding with his passion for helping kids in Afghanistan.  When Emi came back home she bought “How to Form a Non-Profit in California” and “Beyond The Surface” was born.Beyond The Surface is a non-profit organization started by Koch.  Their mission is to eradicate youth homelessness in global coastal regions worldwide and empower street children through the sport of surfing.BTS is her dream, she chose to start a non-profit and devote her life to helping it grow into an even greater agent of change.

http://www.beyondthesurfaceinternational.org/


 

Montauk celebrates Rell Sunn

By Moira Bailey
When legendary surfer Rell Sunn died of cancer in 1998, Montauk surfer and businessman Roger Feit was inspired to organize a surf competition to both celebrate her life and raise money for cancer awareness. On Aug. 2, the 16th Annual Rell Sunn Surf Contest will draw surfers of all ages to Ditch Plains beach in Montauk to continue the tradition, one that’s evolved to help local families navigate the financial rip tides of cancer and serious illness. The funds are disbursed through the East End Foundation, co-founded by Feit, often in modest amounts that can still make a “huge difference,” whether to bridge a mortgage payment or cushion the loss of a job.

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And because it’s a local effort, Feit can describe exactly who the money raised this year will help: a widow whose husband recently died of brain cancer;  a man out of work for a stretch while his wife’s been fighting cancer; two children who’ve just lost their father; a single mom whose son’s battling cancer.  Feit works with Alice Houseknecht, an East End Foundation director,  on “due diligence” to assess each situation, often brought to their attention by friends or neighbors. Through the years, Feit guesses they’ve raised some $300,000.

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“Montauk is a special place for a lot of reasons,” says Feit, 68, who credits a connected community for the event’s success. “There’s a lot of goodness in the people,”  he says. “The community has been coming together for years and years.” For kids in the annual surf competition, especially, Feit says there’s fun but also a reminder “it’s really benefiting somebody.” That, plus they see family and friends working on the event, from selling T-shirts and raffle tickets to cleaning up the beach after. And Feit’s seen some happy outcomes: one boy, a cancer patient whose family home was saved by donations years ago, is now “completely healthy.”

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This year’s surf contest starts at 8 a.m.  and features events in various categories  (long boards to paddle boards to “whatever you want to ride or wear”) for both children and adults. “The little kids get into it,” says Feit , who guesses some 60 to 70 surfers will take to the waves this year. Activities on dry land include a raffle (with prizes donated by local merchants including The Atlantic Terrace, Gosman’s Dock and Yoga Lila), T-shirt sales,  and an auction featuring works by local artists.  “It’s a celebration of surfing,” says Feit. “It’s a celebration of life.”

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For more information: http://www.gofundme.com/Rell-Sun-Surf-Benefit or https://www.facebook.com/rellsunsurfcontestbenefit.

TO ENTER, DOWNLOAD THE ENTRY FORM HERE

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Special thanks to Jesse Anthony Spooner and Tyler Brueur for announcing this year’s event!

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Jesse Anthony Spooner with surf student Logan Tarlow, @spoonsurf

 

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Tyler Breuer of Smashsurf @smashsurf

 

 

 

 

Killing Fast Fashion

A panel of insiders debate solutions to ensure a brave new future for fashion.

Killing fashion is an ambitious endeavor, not for the faint of heart. It is fitting, then, that the people leading the charge are those who immerse themselves in that cutthroat world of brands and big personalities, public relations and creative complications. Tomorrow night, Refashioner founder Kate Sekules has gathered a panel of insiders to discuss the future of fashion. No one wants fashion to die, but perhaps it should cease to exist in its current form.

Sekules, a champion of sustainable fashion, will also moderate the panel, making sure to keep the discussion lively and “nonboring.” “It’s essential that we get solutions rather than just complaints,” she says. Sekules will limit each panelist’s contribution to a certain amount of time and, she says, “As soon as someone says something really predictable, I’m going to encourage the next thought.”

 

With the right encouragement, this group of panelists may just end up saving fashion instead of slaying it. Alexandra Jacobs, fashion critic at The New York Times, will contribute a maintstream media perspective, while Elisa Goodkind brings tidings from new media as the co-founder of StyleLikeU, a video-centric online platform representing authentic personal style. Sekules describes Simon Collins, Dean of Fashion at Parsons, as “someone with great gravitas in academia—as well as deep experience on the coal face of fashion.” His expertise extends to the global fashion industry and sustainability in fashion. Finally, Julie Gilhart will provide perspective from her extensive experience as a top level fashion consultant and as the former fashion director of Barneys New York.

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Sekules will first ask panelists to define fashion. Then, they’ll address fast fashion—the constant cycling of trends to push masses of disposable clothes. “I want to get their opinions on what use it has, and whether and how it should survive and change,” Sekules says. Brands like H&M and Zara have paid lip service to conscious consumerism, but does that really mean anything?

Sekules believes much of the responsibility lies in the hands of the consumer. Audience members at the panel will get more advice on how to personally kill fashion, but Sekules offers everyone a starting point: “I think we can all be braver. We can all mix up old and new and we can all definitely invest in better quality, whether it’s pre-owned or not. We can make it last and value what we own.”

An audience of consultants, designers and stylists will gather at NeueHouse on Tuesday at 6:30 to incite the fashion revolution alongside the panel’s experts. Ensure your place by emailing rsvp@neuehouse.com. In addition to conversation and creatives, the after-party will include cocktails.

Gathered’s Elizabeth Kairys Allspaw

Gathered brings personality to buying art online.

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Elizabeth Kairys Allspaw

Even as art becomes more accessible online, the gap grows between people who can afford to buy and those who pin feverishly to their “Someday” Pinterest board. To help bridge the two, Elizabeth Kairys Allspaw founded Gathered.com, a site that aims to connect artists with art lovers at an affordable price. Elizabeth curates the entire site, choosing artists who sell one-of-a-kind works, not prints. Prices range from $60 to $5400 (for a 40 by 60” watercolor), though most works fall under $1000. The Gathered shop currently hosts eleven artists whose talents range from illustration to watercolor, collage to predetermined systems. Dave Eggers’ selection includes a naked man in a lake (ink on paper), part of a series: “Lost Panels From a Weekly Cartoon Never Seriously Attempted.” Many of Svetlana Rabey’s watercolors resemble giant dripping ice cream scoops, while Helen Booth’s snowy paintings are inspired by the winter light in Wales. Elizabeth trusts her instincts when it comes to selecting the right artists for Gathered. “If I want this piece for myself, I’ll put it on the site,” she says. “It’s that simple.” Basing the site on her own tastes results in a smaller selection. Elizabeth recognizes that might mean a narrower audience, but she thinks that’s the draw of Gathered. “I’m really trying to stick to the advantages of a highly curated experience,” she says. “I think that goes hand in hand with having a small group.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 6.04.46 PM Gathered features a small selection of artists, but their work spans a variety of genres.

Elizabeth sees the site as an extension of herself both artistically and charitably. When Elizabeth left her world of art directing and design in order to pursue entrepreneurship, she thought hard about the ideal direction for her new company. Curating art was front and center, but “it felt kind of empty and soulless in a way to just be selling art online and making a profit,” Elizabeth says. “Something was missing, and I really wanted it to feel more meaningful.” She created the charitable component of Gathered to include an element of generosity in her business. A percentage of each Gathered sale goes to an arts-related non-profit organization, depending on the collector’s preference. In addition to doing her own research, Elizabeth asks Gathered artists if they feel passionate about a particular non-profit. Materials for the Arts, CUE Art Foundation and Chashama all came recommended by artists.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 6.05.13 PM An artist profile on Gathered.

Besides benefitting the larger creative community, buying art becomes more than a transaction when artists and collectors feel connected. Elizabeth facilitates camaraderie by asking each artist to include a note to the collector when they send off a piece. When Elizabeth was posting new work by Helen Booth, she couldn’t resist buying one of the paintings for herself. The art arrived with a letter, pictures of Helen’s studio, and a photo of Helen holding the package on the beach in Wales. It’s that kind of tender personality that Elizabeth wants to instill throughout Gathered. “That’s what really gets me excited,” she says. “This piece is one-of-a-kind. The passion and personal experience which the artist puts into each piece gets transferred to the collector, who gets to live with it and love it forever.” Gathered’s blog also features studio tours and notes on Elizabeth’s inspiration so collectors can learn more about each artists’ process online. Her business may rely on technology, but the quality Elizabeth hopes to convey is an authentic humanness. Gathered isn’t just art online, it’s a place where artists and collectors find home.  

by Ella Riley-Adams

KITCHEN CAM FOR A CAUSE

An intimate look at the culinary creativity of the world’s most famous chefs. 

This week the FOND Group unveiled the JBF Kitchen Cam, a real-time video feed streaming the fast-paced culinary action from the James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The project aims to capture creative cuisine in progress, introducing an intimate, unscripted look at gastronomic excellence.

Stepping into this historic culinary enclave means entering the home of the man who can be regarded as the original Celebrity Chef. James Beard may be the original Celebrity Chef, paving the confit-laden path to cooking-show stardom for accomplished cooks whose careers may have stagnated in restaurant kitchens without his trailblazing appetite. Whether you’re a food freak or just someone who likes to eat well, it’s easy to appreciate the amount of edible history steeped into the walls of the Beard House.

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The menu for the evening.

Until now, an inside look at this illustrious kitchen was reserved for James Beard Foundation members or those lucky enough to grab a sought-after seat at a special dinner. With the launch of the JBF Kitchen Cam, the entire world can view the preparation of over 200 dinners a year, crafted by a rotating cast of innovative chefs.

On Monday night, I attended a cocktail party to celebrate the unveiling of the JBF Kitchen Cam. Daniel Boulud helmed the kitchen as the Cam streamed the sights and sounds across the Internet.

Walking into the House, I was hit with an immediate wave of enticing lemony herb-infused aroma and the clamor of the kitchen clanging through the small lobby area. Conducting his focused team like a maestro, the cool and collected Boulud talked to observers while laying down greens that would nest a Citrus-Cured Fluke with Shiso Bavarois and Ponzu Gelée. Pots of thick stock simmered like liquid gold and uniformly chopped herbs and vegetables stood neatly piled, waiting for plates.

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Boulud at work.

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Boulud shows the Kitchen Cam a recipe from his new book.

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The team poses for a celebratory selfie.

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It was truly impressive to see such controlled chaos in the cramped confines of the historically seasoned kitchen. A dozen of Boulud’s sous chefs toiled feverishly – press and general food fanatics filled the tight space while diners ambled through on their way to the cocktail area to enjoy appetizers and sip champagne.

Servers made rounds with trays of Duck Pâté en Croûte, Wild Mushroom Tarte Flambée and Watercress Velouté with Louisiana Crayfish, all drawn from Boulud’s new book DANIEL: My French Cuisine. The dishes both sparked appetites and fueled conversation about the inaugural night of the JBF Kitchen Cam; Boulud perfectly curated the start of this innovative culinary experience.

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As the cocktail hour wound down and guests were seated, Boulud took the floor. He spoke about the inspiration for his latest book and his deep appreciation for the James Beard Foundation. Then he noticed a diner watching the first-course plating via the JBF Kitchen Cam on her phone; he chuckled with delight. The evening lives on, online.  

 

The Modern Kale Debacle: Bo’s Fight

The man behind the t-shirts that started a war with fast food giant Chick-Fil-A

Bo Muller-Moore is attempting to trademark “Eat More Kale,” a slogan that he has been printing one-at-a-time on t-shirts for over a decade. Chick-Fil-A, a fast-food company that sells over 800 chicken sandwiches a minute, has sent Bo a cease and desist letter and is also attempting to block Bo’s application for a trademark, claiming he is harming their Eat Mor Chikin campaign.
Steven Roux is an organic farmer/writer who works by day for acclaimed Microgreens grower Good Water Farms.

Steven: You’ve described yourself as a “Neolithic stencil artist.” Since I first ordered a shirt from you and received a signed photo along with it, I’ve thought of you as a chill dude living in Vermont who designed an Eat More Kale t-shirt that evolved from a comical decree to eat more nutritious super foods into a mantra for conscious living.  The signed photo of you, Bo, genuinely beaming with a hand written thank-you, was great personal touch that resonated with me—I was living in Brooklyn at the time and everywhere I wore the shirt, complete strangers complimented or made funny remarks to me, in which I would retort with a question: “Have you heard of these shirts before? And the debacle the designer is having with Chick-Fil-A?” For every time this happened, for every time I explained the Cease and Desist letter and Chick-Fil-A’s claim that your harming the intellectual property of their Eat Mor Chikin campaign, I not only made whomever stranger I was talking interested in your case, I made them visibly upset by the ordeal.

Bo: It’s a universal thing. I’m grinning because I’m lucky to hear stories like yours all the time. Last week it was my friend telling me how he was down in Miami where everyone was more beautiful than the next person, and he was walking along the boardwalk, getting more looks than he’s ever had, and he starts wondering—“Wow is it my hair? Is it my tan?” Then he realized—“Oh it’s my goddamn shirt!”

Steven: The Kickstarter campaign for Jim Lance’s film about your case,  “A Defiant Dude,” raised almost $15,000 more than its goal of $75,000 back in March. How has production been? Are we basically waiting for the outcome of the case?

Bo: Yes. Some might think he could have the film three quarters of the way finished, but the filmmaker—Jim, it’s his film—assures me that he needs to have an ending before he can craft the rest of the film. He does have over 300 hours worth of footage, he literally crossed the United States twice last summer with a film crew interviewing everyone from lawyers and intellectual property specialists to moms and pops, real people in various businesses being affected by corporate bullies. I haven’t seen too much of the footage, but it’s real American heartland stuff, you know, not left wing rebellious hippie stuff. The trademark office is supposed to come up with a ruling this month. They’ve had six months to respond to our final argument that we submitted on September 26th.

Bo hard at work screening in his Vermont shop.

Bo hard at work screening in his Vermont shop.

Steven: And you’ll receive the trademark?

Bo: I’m not fighting at this point to win a trademark. For the last two and a half years I’ve simply been fighting to get my application in the game, to be considered for a trademark. In this case, before I even make it to the public arena for debate, Chick-Fil-A sent a letter of protest saying, ‘Hey trademark office, this trademark is so egregious he doesn’t deserve the due process.’ They don’t want a public debate; they’re trying to stop me at the starting line.

Steven: And they’ve stopped others before.

Bo: They sent me a list of 40 businesses that they’ve shut down.

Steven: Eat more goat, eat more broccoli…

Bo: One was a race car team call Eat More Gas… When you get that cease and desist letter, it looks so official most people’s first thought is either to shut it down or go talk to a lawyer for $400 an hour. If it wasn’t for our local lawyer agreeing to do it for free and immediately soliciting the help of the University of New Hampshire’s law school, I wouldn’t have been able to do this for a minute.

Visiting the Good Water Farms Team (FOND Client and Day Job of the Writer, Steven Roux)

Visiting the Good Water Farms Team | From Left: Isaac Algarin (Good Water Farms Grower), Brendan Davison (Good Water Farms Founder), Nicole Delma (FOND Founder), Steven Roux (Writer and Good Water Farms Grower)

Steven: In the trailer for the film you acknowledge your awareness of Chick-Fil-A’s aggressive and victorious history with like-minded trademark seekers in the past, but you clearly remain undaunted toward their corporate advantage. Perhaps it’s because you have an enormous amount of support by Team Kale devotees from State Governors to Anderson Cooper that believe this is corporate bullying and that Chick-Fil-A should try eating more kale-slaw.

Bo: I was kind of in the perfect storm; I think I’m the perfect character to fight back. I grew up on the south, the way the Chick-Fil-A family did… I don’t know them personally but I’m from the same cut of fabric as them. On the face of this, everyone sees a chubby hippie from Vermont fighting God-fearing southern folks but in reality we know the same language, we wrestled at the same schools, water skied in the same lakes… I’m not that different from them, we grew up within miles of each other.

Steven: The first t-shirt you ever designed was your classic “Cheese” print you made on a silk screen you received from your wife as a gift….

Bo: Yup, it was Valentines Day, 1999.

Steven: How did you first become interested in printing shirts?

Bo: I was working at a high school in Montpelier, I had just moved to Vermont and was working in the Learning Services Department, the Special Education Department, and this was when Gap and Old Navy were huge, and all the kids had shirts with brands across the front, and the individual in me started to go crazy…. it was also the time we started to learn about sweat shops and conscientious shopping. That and I used to doodle in my notebook during meetings and my wife saw them and said that’d be cool tattoos or shirts.

The screen that started it all. Shop Eatmorekale.com for these and other styles, stickers and to donate to Bo's legal fund.

The screen that started it all. Shop Eatmorekale.com for these and other styles, stickers and to donate to Bo’s legal fund.

Steven: Along with working on the film, you’ve just launched a new website with sweet new merch like aprons, beanies, even Eat More Kale yoga mats. Also new to Eatmorekale.com is a wholesale section, where you can order larger quantities of shirts or hoodies for entire families of veg-heads or even to sell at a local farmers markets. There’s also a “Design of the Week” now, will these designs be exclusively by you, Bo, or will other local artists be involved?

Bo: My family will make them, the one that’s up this week my 8-year-old daughter made, and the one I’m posting next week my wife made. In the past ten years I’ve cut 450 stencils and people used to really respond to them at my booth, but when I made the site it wasn’t practical to have so many in addition to the popular EMK shirt. So I whittled it down to some best sellers, but it dawned on me to have a design of the week for some deeper cuts. Variation is fun.

Steven: You’ve also described yourself as a folk artist. Have these last two and a half years of legal distress tarnished the lyrics from Willie Dixon’s’ ‘Back Door Man’ for you? The song later covered by The Doors…  In both songs the lyrics: “I eat more chicken, Than any man ever seen” are bellowed.

Bo: I hasn’t ruined the song, but you know what is has kind of ruined? I used to like a good fried chicken sandwich, at a nice southern diner. Maybe a local chicken breast fried up would be okay… But the EMK guy doesn’t eat chicken sandwiches anymore.

Steven: Has your struggle been worth it so far? Would make that first Eat More Kale shirt all over again if you had the chance?

Bo: A typical thing I hear from people—and it really hits the spot—is, and I’m paraphrasing: “It must feel all encompassing sometimes, and we’re here to remind you that this is a fight that’s really worth fighting.” So on the days when I wish I’d never heard of Eat More Kale, and that doesn’t happen very often, but just when you start thinking that, that’s when you get an 80-year-old in a nursing home in Kentucky sending you a check for your legal fund…. I’d for sure make that first shirt over again.  When we were at Bush gardens last week, I had 5-10 people approach me while I was wearing the shirt, and most knew of the shirt but didn’t recognize me as the maker, but 2-3 people knew who I was and my 8 year old was thrilled. To be a rock star in the eyes of your daughter is worth it right there… I’ll be a real zero to her in a few years when she’s a teenager, but that night I tucked her in she was still talking about the people who knew me.

 

A special thanks to both Bo and Steven who put a substantial amount of time and heart into bringing us inside this perplexing story. Your hard work is appreciated.   –Nicole Delma, FOND Founder
 
Support Bo’s Cause and SHOP or DONATE NOW: 
Kale Sale

SHOP OR DONATE AT EATMOREKALE.COM

 
 

Animoto’s Stevie Clifton on Success & The Art of Giving Back

FOND Group catches up with an old by friend by way of a new one. 

People of Purpose | Stevie Clifton

By Hillary Kaylor

What do we talk about when we talk about social media in 2013? With teens fleeing Facebook, heated Twitter stock debates, and marketers looking at monetizing every possible digital moment, it’s no wonder that most people are fatigued on the topic. But when really investigating social media’s landscape and some of the recent backlash behind it, we’ve found it’s because the connectivity and community that makes virtual sharing so important has increased while the thoughtfulness behind that community has decreased. Certainly selfies have a time and a place; so long as they’re countered with an output of real purpose, expression, and art.

Enter Animoto: a bicoastal-based video creation service where users can upload their pictures and video clips, and, with the help of some very high-level production technology, turn those clips into a gorgeous, cinematic work of sharable art. A natural fit for consumers who want to share their thoughts in a more compelling way, but as co-creator Stevie Clifton found, Animoto is also making a difference by bringing literally millions of unlikely artists, photographers, schools, humanitarians, and non-profits together.

How was Animoto founded? Did you see a need not being filled in the community?

My good friend Jason (Hsiao) and I both moved to NYC to work in the film and television industry over 10 years ago.  After working for a few years (he in production and me in motion graphics work), we started to get a bit antsy, and began meeting weekly to brainstorm fun ways to bring production-quality video to “normal” people. We both had backgrounds in computer science, and we knew there had to be way to make beautiful video creation accessible to more people.  After hitting on the idea of Animoto, we looped in my brother Tom (Clifton) and our friend Brad (Jefferson), worked on prototyping the concept for awhile, and had our first working version of the site in early 2007.

Can you walk us through the process of a project like this from inception to delivery?

After coming up with the initial idea, Jason and I created a founding team with a diverse set of strengths.  In addition to complementing each others’ skill sets, we also trusted each other. This allowed each of us to focus on the things we were good at and get a lot done quickly.

Once we all had conviction about the idea, we committed.  At the beginning, most of us were working part-time on the project, but if you stay in that mode too long, you’ll never make the progress you need to make.  Once we realized this, we quit our jobs and dove in.

We then focused on getting a working concept as quickly as possible so that we could get feedback from real people.  Without that, I think we could have made a lot of missteps along the way, or spent a lot of time working on things of little value to our users.

How did you realize that Animoto could serve the philanthropic community as a whole? Once you did, how did you change your product?

When we first launched Animoto, we thought that it was going to be a great fit for consumers who wanted to share their memories. But we noticed that photographers, businesses, nonprofits, and schools were pretty active too. It makes a lot of sense. Video is a powerful medium for communicating a message, so when you make it easy for people to create video to share their message, you open up the doors to a lot of different people.

When we noticed that a lot of nonprofits were using Animoto to try to spread the message about their cause, we decided to give them free access to our Pro features with our Animoto for a Cause initiative, which we launched in 2009.

Over the years I’ve spoken at various nonprofit and humanitarian organizations to help them understand how to share their message more effectively using video and Animoto (e.g. at the UN and Rising Tide Capital), and it’s been really fun to see the ways in which people are using it.

 “…With Animoto for a Cause we have the potential to help real causes and real people, which is satisfying.  I was tempted to give you guys major props based on the famous partners we’re working with, or the amount of press/exposure we’ll get through this, but even more important is the fact that we’ve found a way to use our product, a fun video creation platform, for real humanitarian work.” 

 –Tom Clifton, Co-Founder, Animoto

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t know where to start in terms of becoming mindful and starting consistent charitable work?

There are three things that helped me get involved and stay consistent.

1) Just start.

I think the most important thing is just show up. There are a ton of opportunities, and many are probably closer than people think. Don’t try to find the best opportunity; just find one that’s close and start showing up.

Nine years ago I started volunteering at the breakfast program my church puts on for the local hungry and homeless, and I’ve been doing it ever since.  At the time, all I knew is that I wanted to find a local volunteering opportunity because if it was far away, I’d be too lazy to stick with it.  Finding something local is great because it helps open your eyes to some of the pain that’s right in front of you, but invisible until you know where to look.  I bump into people who come to get breakfast at our church frequently in our neighborhood, and being confronted with need keeps me from getting too comfortable.

2) Commit to something

I think the longer you wait to commit to doing charitable work, the less likely you’ll ever do it.  You only get busier and take on more responsibilities as you get older, so it’s not going to get any easier.

My wife and I have committed to giving away a minimum of 10% of our income to charitable causes, and we’ve been doing it since we got married nine years ago.  We didn’t make much money back then, but we both had a strong conviction that it was the right thing to do.  Since then we now have a lot more financial commitments–we have two kids, more bills, a mortgage, school tuition to pay, etc.  If we hadn’t committed to doing this together, we wouldn’t still be doing it.

3) Know your reason

Knowing why you want to be charitable is an important part of continuing to do it long term.  There’s no right answer here, but I think without feeling a sense of purpose behind what you’re doing, it’s going to be really hard to give money away when you have a big credit card bill one month, or to show up at 6am on a Sunday morning to serve people breakfast when your kids kept you up the night before.

Were you involved in philanthropy as a kid? Family? Religion? Community?

I wasn’t involved in philanthropy in the typical sense growing up, but I was exposed to it in its more traditional sense of “hospitality” throughout my childhood.  I was brought up with my five siblings in a pretty devout Christian family, with parents who demonstrated a sacrificial hospitality to anyone who came across our doorstep.  They are rare people who care more about relationship than dogma and are some of the most generous and empathetic people I know.  Even though it must have been crazy raising six kids, they always had an open door policy for anyone that needed help.  We constantly had people from all walks of life living with us when they needed a safe place to stay.

As an aside, I think it’s sometimes easier to be “philanthropic” these days than hospitable, especially with how much more isolated we are. To a lot of people, philanthropy is giving money away to organizations that need it, or going out and volunteering at an event.  This is important stuff, but I think true philanthropy is welcoming people into your life, especially people that are different from you.  It’s easier to sacrifice money or a little time than to sacrifice comfort by really engaging with people.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running your business today?

The people. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true. I look forward to going to work every day because I like the people I work with and respect them.

How would you like your legacy on this earth to be defined?

One of my favorite quotes is from Peter Maurin, a founder of the Catholic Worker movement.  His goal was “to make that kind of society where it is easier for men to be good.”  That’s such a wonderfully practical formulation. I’d be pretty happy if I felt I had somehow made the world a place where it’s easier for people to be good. I think it’s getting awfully hard to be good in the world.

Why does doing good feel good for the world and for you? 

I think it’s because it reminds me that the boundaries between me and other people are porous. We’re actually all connected in really tangible ways, if we let ourselves see it. It’s both extremely comforting for me, but also a call to action.

If there is just one thing readers of this should take away from your project and your personal mission statement—what is it?

Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. The most important thing is to recognize your desire to be philanthropic and then just start somewhere!

About Animoto

Animoto

In the works since 2005, Animoto was founded with the vision of inspiring people to share their lives through the magic and power of video. Animoto’s founders include veterans of the entertainment industry and have produced shows for MTV, Comedy Central, & ABC, studied music in London, and played in indie rock bands in Seattle.

Today, Animoto is a video creation service (online and mobile) that makes it easy and fun for anyone to create and share extraordinary videos using their own pictures, video clips, words and music.

Simply upload your pictures and video clips, choose your style, add words and music, and click the “produce video” button. Then, Animoto’s cinematic technology does its magic and in minutes brings it all to life with a beautifully orchestrated production you can share with family and friends.

Millions of people actively use Animoto for everything from special occasions like birthdays, weddings and trips, to sending a quick special greeting, or just to share everyday moments.

Based in New York City with an office in San Francisco, The entire Animoto team is a passionate and innovative group devoted to helping more people experience the power of video for sharing their lives.

Is Altruism the Real Key to Success?

Peer to Peer Tutoring: What’s In It For You When You’re Not In It For You

By Michael Tringe, Co-Founder of CreatorUp!

Let’s take a look back at our learning experiences – who did you really learn the most from?  Was it your professors, or your classmates?

Professors and teachers are important.  They hold the knowledge.  And often times, they know it all to well.  Sometimes the lectures are insightful, boring, brilliant, or inspiring.  But when it gets down to the nitty gritty of learning the stuff – how does it really actually happen?

Often times – we work together to help each other learn, without even knowing that we do.  Do we charge each other?  Of course not.  That would ruin the whole concept of I’ll help you if you help me.  Peer to peer tutoring is a clunky way of saying, let’s help each other learn.

While there are a slew of sites that focus on peer to peer tutoring and more are being added each day (see below for a list), it’s a concept that happens naturally all the time.  While alumni groups, networking functions and conferences all aim to serve this purpose, there is a contrived element to each of these formal groups that immediately puts people on guard and can inhibit true sharing.  On the other hand, if you observe the way people interact when they are not seeking to gain but are genuinely interested in helping each other without all of the formality, you will see that it is  arguably quite a bit more effective at inspiring sharing and growth.

“I’ve noticed that those who embrace the concept of making the time to help others without asking or expecting anything in return tend to be better off themselves. I believe this is because intention is everything and people genuinely want to help those who want to help them. It’s amazing how often those who are always focused on their own needs are also those who struggle finding the right job, right apartment, right resources,” said Nicole Delma, Founder of FOND and The Usual Crew, a NY-based ‘Non-Networking’ Group.

For the altruistic few who help others regularly without a formal negotiation as to what they expect to receive in return, there is a broad net of peers surrounding them and ready to pitch in when the need arises.  This net of supporters is effortless and constant and is at the core of the advantage an altruistic person has over a counterpart who has led a life/career of constantly putting his or her own needs first. You can be selfish short term but long term, it only pays off for a very select few.

MikeClass1

Michael Tringe works with attendees interested in learning about content production and strategy at CreatorUp!

While the notion of helping others, especially our peers (potential competition)  is somewhat counter-intuitive for those of us who were raised in a culture of competition, I’ve also seen it work time and time again in some of the most cutthroat environments where not collaborating means not succeeding. When I was undergrad and pre-med – there was a whole lot of study grouping going on after dinner in the cafeteria.  It was a ritual.  If I hadn’t had my classmates there to help me out – I wouldn’t have made it through the class.  Harvard pre-meds weren’t all as cutthroat as they were made out to be – there was a group of us that were, well – down right collaborative.

In the world of arts education too – filmmaking almost never happens entirely with one person.  There’s lots of feedback from classmates about what’s working in a story, and what’s not.  Of course – in an arts setting where everything is relative – we tend to take some classmates’ feedback more seriously than others, but there’s a general rule that the consensus is usually helpful around helping to clarify story, plot, emotion, and character.

Online education gets a bad wrap for sometimes not being collaborative at all.  Isolating.  Unmotivating.  Or even downright depressing.  But the solution to all of this is each other.  We can become invested in one another’s education by sharing our educational experience – learning from each other’s questions – and getting deep into the problems that are stumping us and the solutions that are really working.

One of the reasons I love education is because it is so much about sharing and communication of ideas.  Debate.  Analysis.  All of these things can happen online at no cost once we create the community and the ecosystem to have these interactions.  So my challenge to you is to create a small community for some good old peer to peer tutoring (or whatever you want to call it) around a topic you care about – teach each other, share your knowledge, and not just good – but great things will happen.

Here are few of our favorite Peer to Peer learning sites to help get you started:
https://creatorup.com/
http://www.tioki.com/
https://www.schooltube.com/
http://www.easybib.com/
http://www.wevideo.com/
Here is to successful learning!
Michael Tringe
Click to View CreatorUp Video Tutorials

Click to View CreatorUp Video Tutorials

Michael Tringe

Mike Tringe is the co-founder of CreatorUp, the e-learning platform to make and market video content.  He is passionate about making an excellent arts education accessible to everyone. You can reach Mike at Mike@creatorup.com to learn more about courses or inquire about teaching one yourself.

The Healing Initiative|Travel + Leisure’s Jimmy Farren Hickey

“So much of the news media today is fear based. When I watch it I find myself saddened at the condition of our planet. It all starts to look so hopeless.”

So starts the unlikely but entirely salient mission statement of The Healing Initiative, an online project from Jimmy Farren Hickey, the Digital Creative Services Director at Travel + Leisure. After many years of doing both design and wholeness work, Jimmy found that there wasn’t an outlet within our 24-hour news cycle that spoke to him in an engaging and positive way. News coverage, as we all know, tends to focus on only the bad, pushing human-interest stories to the backburner, often turning them into silly puff pieces. With Jimmy at the helm, The Healing Initiative flips the script. As he states, “I wanted to celebrate the goodness and divinity in people.” And he does.

TheHealingInitiative

The Healing Initiative is a visual catalog showcasing the works of healers, literary and anti-bullying activists, teachers, mediums, and more. Updated bi-monthly, The Healing Initiative is a digital domain of actionable optimism. The well-designed site reads less like a feed and more like a coffee table book. Visit.

Hillary Kaylor: What was your a-ha moment to start your project?

Jimmy Farren Hickey: Sometimes it seems as though the world is full of fear and hatred. When I watch the news I find myself saddened at the condition of our planet. It all starts to look so bleak. But I’ve met some amazing people in this lifetime, people who are making a difference in my life and the lives of countless others. I am so grateful to be in the world with these men and woman, and grateful for the impact they have in healing the planet.

At the beginning of this year I felt a calling to do something. I too wanted to be a part of this healing movement. So I went to the dictionary and looked up the word “heal” and found this definition: “to restore to wholeness”, which somehow seemed like an easier job than mending bones or curing cancer. When using this definition I immediately understood that inside of me I had the potential to heal. Then this summer while traveling through Ireland I discovered that my last name means “one who heals”. So this just had to happen.
Can you explain the mission statement of your project and how you go about finding subjects for it?

The mission of The Healing Initiative is to highlight the faces and stories of compassionate individuals who have made it their life’s work to restore the Earth and all its inhabitants to wholeness. I find subjects by looking through my own friends and by word of mouth. There’s nothing I love more than having someone tell me about someone doing amazing work. Those are the stories I long to hear. I am so grateful to have found a project that’s all about meeting and photographing amazing people.

HK: Have you been involved in philanthropic efforts before and why? Family, friends, church?

JFH: I grew up doing volunteer work in the church and in the community with my mother. There were times we had nothing, but we still helped others. It was a given. It might be something as simple as making a plate of cookies or it might mean devoting several hours or a weekend of our time, but my mother understood the importance of compassionate acts.

HK: Why do you think most people are not involved in philanthropic efforts on a regular basis?

JFH: I would guess that most people aren’t involved in philanthropic efforts because they don’t know how it good it makes you feel to help others. The feeling you get when helping others is unbeatable. I think people probably also have this idea that they have to do something really big in order to change the world, but the truth is that the smallest acts can add up to a world of difference.

HK: Do you think that spirituality and the so-called meaning of life can be achieved through helping others?

JFH: Absolutely. I would go as far to say that helping others is a spiritual act. It might be nice to live alone in a cave in India and meditate toward enlightenment, but I think the biggest spiritual growth happens as a result of our interactions with others on this planet. It’s through walking into difficult and challenging situations that we grow the most. When we look deep we often discover that the challenging situation is our own fear, our own ego. Helping others is a way of doing battle with our fears. When you’re feeling alone, in need of help or just stuck in fear… that’s the best time to help someone else.

HK: What would you like your legacy in this world to be?

JFH: I would hope that I could live every day on this planet with love and integrity and that I always remember to express gratitude for the blessing and tremendous challenges of being human. If other people learned this from watching me, then that would be a life well lived.

HK: How can someone who is just starting out pick and join a cause?

JFH: I highly recommend sites like nycares.com, where you can search through hundreds of volunteer opportunities and find one that you have an affinity with. I would also say that we can do service every day through acts of compassion, love and kindness with the people who are in our lives every day. Do something good for your friends and family today. Send love to the people who challenge you most. All of these acts add up quickly and can change the world. And if you don’t see the impact these acts have on the world, I promise you that you will feel the impact they have on you.

jimmy-farren-hickey-healing-initiative-1.jpg

Jimmy Farren Hickey

Raised in rural Nebraska, Jimmy grew up dividing his time between working cattle with his father and doing craft projects with his mother. At age 4 he announced to the world that he would one day move to New York City, which he did at age 26.

Jimmy has enjoyed a diverse work history that includes time spent as: a cowboy, a waiter, a cook, an art consultant, a web designer, an illustrator, a creative consultant for reality TV, an editor, an editorial director, and a creative director. He is currently the digital creative services director for Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine and Departures at American Express Publishing (the views expressed on this website are his own). Prior to that he served as the digital creative director for Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., working on the websites of ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home, Car and Driver, Woman’s Day, and many others.

Jimmy is a long-time yogi, a reiki practitioner, a world traveler, and a pretty decent ukulele player.

Jimmy is available for photo shoots and design projects, so feel free to drop him a line at info@thehealinginitiative.com.

HIllary

Hillary Kaylor

A regular FOND Group contributor, Hillary Kaylor is a writer living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, The FADER, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Vice, and Gawker. She once drove a tractor on an Australian banana farm where they paid her in bananas. Kaylor is currently working on a non-fiction book based on the three months she spent volunteering in the slums of Cambodia earlier this year.

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