Our One Year Anniversary
Thank you for being part of our Alfrea beta for the past year.
We launched June 17th 2016 At Parkside Community Garden in Camden, NJ.
A lot of exciting things have happened since then.
We clarified our Vision:
- A world in which everyone has access to Good Food, locally grown and sustainably
We found consumers and organizations love the idea of the sharing economy meets local food production.
- I’ve had a consumer hug me in the grocery store
- People have told us this will change the world
- We have had dozens of non-profits express excitement about what Alfrea offers
- Hundreds of people have told us they love the idea or think it’s brilliant
- We had 100 people subscribe to our platform in a single day during the Philly Farm and Food Fest
- We have had over 650 people subscribe to our platform and have over 900 people receiving newsletters or updates from Alfrea.
- We have over 10,000 followers on our social platforms
- We have built over 100 relationships with apartment and property managers who see Alfrea as an innovative amenity for their residents
- We have built more than a dozen relationships with people in corporations interested in the health of their employees and see Alfrea as a potential innovative solution
- We have had hundreds of investors express interest. We have over 100 who are actively following our progress and we have several active funders.
- We have applied:
- For many pitch competitions and been selected into nearly all of those in which we applied over hundreds of competitors
- Over $800k in grants to help build the local food movement (We don’t anticipate hearing back until Fall)
- Alfrea has earned the honor of numerous publications writing our story. We have been invited to present our business to audiences of thousands of people. We have been selected into business mentoring programs and in turn have had opportunities to mentor other business owners and business students.
- We have developed an extraordinary team of bright, passionate advocates for what we do
- We found a co-founder who cares about sustainability, has a Ph.D in horticulture and who managed a $15 billion portfolio of food product R&D
- We have a digital marketing expert
- A charismatic intern who has helped engage customers
- A passionate and effective strategic partnership and customer engagement manager who is doing a great job building relationships with property managers and corporations
- We found a talented urban farmer who works with us offseason and helps write our newsletter and create our video’s
- We have a garden designer who is an urban planner, community organizer and who has helped connect us to many relevant organizations
- We have a software engineering team that makes the process of communicating technical changes easy and works efficiently to implement them
- We found a talented graphic designer in South America that makes our work look awesome
- And our first employee, who is our Chief Everything Else Officer, proves time and again he can do just about anything and do it well
- We have had many dozen informal advisors and connectors help guide us and connect us with people
- We have over a dozen advisors we call our advisory council who are advocates for us, help answer many specific questions and connect us with people
- As for me, I love what we do at Alfrea. Over the course of the year I have come to understand the enormous potential for triple bottom line impact. Through helping people grow and eat fresh tasty local and sustainable foods:
- Alfrea can have a positive impact on the environment not only through food miles traveled but also through encouraging sustainable growing practices
- Alfrea can have social impact, not only through local jobs created, but also by bringing local fresh foods to communities that don’t have easy access. Alfrea can provide benefits to a person’s physical and mental health through the act of gardening and understanding from where food comes in both physical health and mental health through gardening and understanding from where food comes
- As Alfrea grows as a for-profit social enterprise, provides the potential for healthy returns for those who have investing in its success
- And . . . my garden is looking a lot healthier than last year. Nearly all the meals I have eaten at home for the past month have had food grown in my own garden
We have learned a lot through this journey (I could probably write a whole book)
- We have learned an enormous amount about the local food movement
- Larger scale farmers are concerned with selling in small quantities. To them it is not worth it to sell one tomato at a time. Due to this, we are implementing a feature to allow the seller to offer bulk selling only.
- People want a one stop shop. Buyers of food do not want to travel to several locations for their desired products. To solve this problem, we have implemented the ability for users to select delivery options such as a drop off/ pick-up location to get all of their local food needs in one location.
- Our messaging on our website was not clear and it was difficult to understand what we do. We have made some adjustments but still believe there is progress to be made in this area.
- Investors are amazingly understanding of the pivots start-up make
- We have learned that as the largest industry on the face of the planet, food is fundamental to human health, the health of the planet and represents an enormous business opportunity to both feed people and solve very complex problems including health care.
If you’d like to provide input on some of our current business questions feel free to reach out, we’d love insights. Its part of our version of focus groups.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see significant changes and enhancements to our website to reflect many of our learnings from the past year.
With enormous appreciation and gratitude for your subscribing to Alfrea, for your advice, feedback and patience as we been on this journey to make Good Food locally and sustainably grown available to all.