Improved Audio Conferences – FreeConferenceCall.com

These days there are many ways to connect virtually.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Google +, and much more.  Personally, I use Skype when I have willing participants.  When I don’t know who I’m dealing with, or what kind of technology they have, I go for simplicity.  A simple phone number for people to call in to, at no cost, and it’s called FreeConferenceCall.com.  I’ve been using it for years and highly recommend it for organizing on any level.

In Maine, where food activism is spread out in a state that is half the size of the north east, we have to think virtually if we are to have any chance of getting the majority at the table.

A couple days ago they sent an email announcing their improved service.  Basically, it still gives me a phone number to call in to for a large group.  More than that, it seems there’s a really great toolset for managing a call and I wanted to share it with you.

Here is a brief video introduction that will get you more excited than I will by blabbing on…

http://youtu.be/e7yIBIh20OE

Happy Organizing!

Exciting Technology – Convo.com

A private Facebook for discussions with collegues.  A task and project manager.  Does anyone need much more? :)

It’s called Convo.com and I encourage using it to organize and work with people.

Seriously, this is an awesome tool.  It is unfortunate that to prove this point we need to get all of us on there, or at least a handful to get the conversation going, for anyone to actually “see” that it is as awesome as I see it.

I started with a simple thought… Facebook + Project/Task Management.  Here’s how that breaks down…

It’s facebook in the sense of “like” and how you have conversations.  The interface is the same.  It’s awesome and easy.  Think about it… ongoing discussions about work, or in this case ‘food organizing’ that you can keep going back to and reference.  People love facebook because it merges email, chat and photos and lots more all in to one spot.  This is a bit dryer, but the same idea.  It’s just easier than managing tons of emails, chats with no meaning or history, and discussions that are often good but trail off to never be seen again.

The Project/Task Management is a simple added piece.  By making a group, like maybe the folks I work with at the Portland Food Council, we could all talk on our own schedules as well as manage the projects we work on together.  And all in a separate place than our private lives on Facebook.

For the record, Facebook is annoying to me.  It’s cool and really brings up interesting social ideas, but it’s just another thing to sit and look at on the computer that is often less important than being outside or talking with a friend or reading a book.  But I digress as I usually do… Convo.com is a tool, not a place to hang out.

It is the combination of these two things that make it work oriented.  It’s free for us organizers and I encourage at least trying it out.  And if you do, let’s work together!  I’m chomping at the bit to see if this gets any legs in a world where we organizers have to look at 50 other sites for 20 different reasons.  I certainly don’t want it to be yet another site to deal with.  I’d like to see it be “the” site for exchange of ideas.

Please share your thoughts and I hope you enjoy the brain stretch.

Making Local Food Easier

We wanted to let everyone know that recently our handy work was featured in a Portland Press Herald article.

The piece, titled Soup to Nuts: In Maine, eating local just keeps getting easier, discusses several ways people can get local foods onto their dinner table. Among them are a new business called Clara Burke Kitchen and none other than our client, Cape Farms’ Market.

Cape Farms’ Market is currently utilizing our Zen Cart for Farmers product which allows them to sell farm-fresh produce online and organize distrobution to several locations. While the article makes no direct mention of Internet Farmer as a business, we’re content knowing that we’re making it easier for farmers and customers to connect.

In the end, it’s all about fostering and bolstering the local food system and we’re excited to be a part of it.

A New Internet Farmer

I am excited to announce a big change at Internet Farmer.  As of today, the company goes from me, Jeremy Bloom, the Internet Farmer, to an official partnership. The new addition is Matt Hokanson (aka Hoke), a friend,  excellent programmer, and, in general, good guy.

Over the past couple of years we’ve been developing a software business called BuyingClubSoftware.com.  Originally an independent venture, we’ve decided to bring it under the umbrella of Internet farmer.

After working on my own for the last 20 years, contracting my programming work out along the way, having Matt as the go-to-guy for Internet Farmer is going to be great.

You can learn more about Matt at his website, h0ke.com.

A Demonstration of Zen Cart Shopping Cart for Farmers

The following is a basic demonstration of a local-food-oriented shopping system for online ordering followed by in-person pickup.  An add-on module is available if you manage multiple pickup locations.

The design may be different on your shopping cart, but these functions are basically the same.

First we setup your products and categories and producers through simple forms like this in the shopping cart manager

edit-product

If you have added our Multi-Location module,
you’ll setup all of your pickup locations

location

When you are open for shopping, people easily
browse the site and add products to their cart as they go.

add-to-cart

As they shop, things are added to their shopping cart

shopping-cart

While the customer goes through the checkout process,
they are asked for a pickup location (if you use that module)

billing-pickup

After confirming their order, a shopper gets an email receipt

email-receipt

After the order is closed, you can easily
view and edit customer’s orders if you need to

edit-order

Print paper receipts for customers or you use
them as part of your order distribution process

invoice

With a special add-on for Zen Cart from Apsona, you can access all the information you need for operations.  Pick sheets, order sheets, and the ability to import/export of all your data (customers,products, etc)

apson

CapeSopo Market Makes Press Herald – And so did the Internet Farmer

A couple days ago, a new client of the Internet Farmer made news for the work we are doing together.  Yay for them, and yay for us!

Enjoy…

http://www.pressherald.com/news/group-grows-winter-business-with-online-farmers-market_2010-12-27.html

If you are interested in our system that does this, please see our E-Commerce service page.

Common Ground Radio DEBUT

After getting their recent newsletter I found MOFGA to be doing a weekly radio show up in Blue Hill, ME.  You can hear it online if you are not in the listening area.

For me, this is very exciting to hear people I see at the big events, and who organize many of the events I go to where I have learned about food and farm.  I’m so happy to see them moving in to new ways of activism and communication.

Enjoy!

http://archives.weru.org/common-ground-radio

I am Krazy for Kombucha

Meridith Goad, food writer for the Portland Press Herald, wrote an article on Kombucha a few days ago and it inspired me to share this food.

Kombucha, a fermented tea, is new for me, and I love it. Tea and water are great, but Kombucha goes the extra mile.  Sweet, tart, a little fizz, and heathy drink for your insides.  And it’s becoming popular here in Portland to the point where a few local brewers are popping up.

For me, the best part of liking this drink is learning to make it myself.  You can make gallons of it yourself at home quite easily, instead of paying $4/8oz jar in the store.

It has been a fun science experiment to learn how to make it to my specific taste, and my replacement to the many commercial soft drinks I used to drink.  And lately it always comes up in conversation, so it’s great for parties. (insert bad joke)

For even more detail, check out Wikipedia.

Happy Fermenting!

Do you brew?  What and how do you brew?  Please share by leaving comments.

MOFGA Annual Meeting

At the 2010 Dept. of Ag Show in Augusta, MOFGA held their annual member meeting.  For those who missed it, here you are…

 

Download MP3

2010 Maine Departement of Agriculture – Growing Grains in Maine

I attended the show on the first day and sat in on this discussion about addressing “what’s happening in Maine with growing our own grains”, the session was full of people doing great things with grains.

Enjoy!

 

Download MP3