PRESS RELEASE - Updated January 2017
NEW JERSEY-BASED STARTUP HELPS PEOPLE GROW THEIR OWN FOOD
ALFREA will strengthen the local food economy by connecting gardeners with land, help and experts, while creating a new platform for food producers and gardening professionals.
GALLOWAY, N.J. (January 5, 2017) – An ambitious New Jersey startup launched a pilot project in June 2016. The online platform is designed to build a stronger local food economy in South Jersey, the Philadelphia region and, eventually, across the nation.
Conceived and built right here in New Jersey, Alfrea is a revolutionary idea that brings the disruptive power of the sharing economy to food. The website makes homegrown food accessible to everyone – even people with no land, no gardening experience and no time to plant, grow or harvest food.
Alfrea connects would-be gardeners with people who have extra garden space, and with experts who can help a little or a lot. Gardeners who grow extra food can use the platform to sell surplus to neighbors. It's like Airbnb, Taskrabbit and Etsy all in one – for foodies.
"People want to know where their food comes from. They no longer trust industrial agriculture and corporate food producers," Alfrea Founder David Wagstaff said. "They are ready to get outside in the fresh air and get their hands dirty, grow their own food and share it with neighbors. Alfrea makes it easy to be part of the transition to a more sustainable world."
Patrick Mullin said Alfrea creates new business opportunities for people who want to earn money gardening or selling hyper-local food. "We want Alfrea to be the hub of a local food economy," he said. "It's a great way to earn money in your spare time."
Reporters were invited to join us for a launch event on Friday, June 17. We had Founder David Wagstaff on hand for interviews, along with local supporters who could speak to the importance of of this new initiative.
WHEN: Friday, June 17 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Parkside Learning Garden, 1221 Haddon Avenue, Camden, N.J.
CONTACT: David Wagstaff
David Wagstaff, Co-founder
David started his career as a financial analyst in alternative and green energy technologies and as a subcontractor to the Department of Energy. After spending many years working in financial consulting for the big four accounting firms, he joined senior management in a venture-backed startup that raised $15 million. Later, he became CFO of a social services agency with $5 million in annual revenue. He has twice started and sold consulting businesses, and most recently has worked as Director of Operations for one of the 500 largest CPA firms in the US. In addition to his business experience, David has had a lifetime interest in the environment and has held leadership positions in non-profit organizations, including both board positions and executive committee positions within those boards.
John Dynak, Chief Everything Else Officer
John joined Alfrea shortly after graduating with a degree in accounting from Stockton University and working for a mid-sized CPA firm. He was our first full time employee. So what's John doing now? While you see John is quiet but he's also really analytical and insightful. From his quiet space, he observes human behavior and he understands people. So now he not only leads everything else that other team members aren't assigned to including numerous internal initiatives such as managing finance, accounting, investor reporting, HR and operations, but where he really shines is he coaches our founder on things David might miss. . . and John is really good at it. He is efficient and provides solid insights and sound advice.
Lindsey Ricker, Customer Engagement Manager
She’s assisted Pennsylvania seniors in accessing more than $1.7 million in public benefits, and helped rescue 10 million pounds of food from the waste stream. But she joined Alfrea because she wants to expand the food she grows, beyond the one measly herb planter that isn’t currently doing so well. When she’s not working, you can find her eating her way through Philadelphia’s best restaurants, reading, hanging out with friends, or more likely, her cat.
Julie Pierre, In-House Farmer
Julie she is our resident in-house farmer and advocate. She is an enthusiastic advocate for Alfrea and is connecting us with customers and strategic partners. After studying biology in college she decided to pursue a career as a farmer and over the past couple of years has built a CSA feeding over 40 families using 12 non-contiguous suburban backyards as her farm. She is passionate about local food systems and sustainability.
Jonathan Wetstein, Community Organizer
Jonathan believes we all have the ability to reimagine our surroundings into new places that are better at making people better. An unrealized potential to improve every community socially, financially, environmentally, as well as physically. His professional background is in comprehensive land use planning ("Land Use Planner--Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand." -anonymous), community development, and graphic design. As an independent consultant, Jonathan's largest community-based project is a for-profit urban gardening initiative in Camden, New Jersey that operates from a demonstration gardening facility called Parkside Learning Garden. He is also a graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s Community and Economic Development Graduate Program and carries a long-standing commitment to urban revitalization related projects.
Patrick is an entrepreneur and with experience in SEO and marketing for his own businesses and for employers. He helped develop the original idea that has now become Alfrea. He is certified in nutrition and has experience in web technologies and entrepreneurship. Patrick has used his knowledge of nutrition, exercise, and digital marketing to build his own website, which he uses to coach men and women through the process of developing a healthier and more responsible lifestyle. He believes this comes down to consumption of good quality food and water, especially organic fruits and vegetables. This is what inspires him to educate people on the pitfalls of poor nutrition and the degradation of both one's body and the environment.