Since our first year summary, much work has gone into advancing our mission by many of our team members who so far have been working on their own dime. I thank you all, especially Robert Eden, Margo Morris, and John Charlton. John is managing our website; Margo is organizing our teacher assistant program; and Bob has been putting together our resource development plan among other things.
I have been promoting our organization and its mission to any open ears and hearts. Recently I have developed contacts at St. Joseph College in Standish, Maine. I have a winter lease near the college to get me closer to important contacts in New England.
Recently, I visited Freight Farms in Boston that has manufactured more than 200 40’ container conversions into high tech hydroponic gardens. Please visit their website for more info. We hope to order one soon to supplement Healthy Harvest Community Garden on the former Mirror Lakes Golf Course, in Lehigh Acres, Florida.
I have also spoken twice to Mr. Franchi, owner of the retail development on the corner of Homestead Road S and Milwaukee Blvd., about the possibility of us acquiring it for our headquarters while leasing space to related organizations in both the profit and non-profit fields.
Our conversations continue with Mr. Gaurav Kumar at Eunomia Partners about building a large aquaponic facility in Lehigh. Working under the leadership of Ambassador Andrew Young, his organization includes Andrew Young III, and Rawson Haverty, a co-founder of Serenbe, an agriculture based residential development near Atlanta, Georgia. Please check out Serenbe on the internet in that it has many of the same characteristics that our organization would like to create on the re-purposed golf club at Mirror Lakes.
In a recent discussion with the assistant superintendent of schools in Portsmouth, NH, he mentioned how important the “grandparent effect” is in transforming the dynamics in the classroom and said he was ready to help implement our program whenever we are ready. Our proposed program to place an assistant teachers in the classrooms has a powerful potential to improve the learning experience where “the rubber meets the road” as it were. We are all very excited about launching this program as soon as possible, beginning in Lehigh in January. Margo Morris is working hard on the logistics of this program which she will be supervising.
For every part time assistant teacher we place in the public school, we need to have $25,000 in the bank to insure their remuneration in the area of $20-25 per hour. Please help us think through how we can raise this money, even in smaller denominations such as $2,000 per month. It could be a good project for crowd funding. We intend to pay anyone who helps us in the area of fundraising which is so critical to our mission. Remember as we scale up, the numbers become huge: 10 teachers = $250,000; 100 = $2.5 million, 1000 = $25 million, etc. We are convinced, as most teachers will tell you, that having another adult in the classroom can make all the difference in the world. We do not intend to get entangled in other issues, such as curriculum and technology, or to make the mistakes of previous and current attempts at reform that involve high priced consultants and more charter schools. We intend to keep our eye on the ball and give teachers what they so desperately need: another adult in the classroom.
My own enthusiasm about the worker co-op model for our organization I hope will become contagious as everyone comes to realize what a powerful business model it is. It has been called Democracy in the Workplace, WSDE’s (worker self-directed enterprises) and is the epitome of collaboration and transparency. Please visit our resource page on this website for more information on how worker co-ops are becoming the wave of the future and an antidote to the problems presented by the typical multinational publicly traded companies.
Let this serve as an invitation to join us as a volunteer, or as a part-time or full time team member. As our resources grow, we intend to pay those who share our commitment to our mission. But in the meantime, we need help getting to that place, which at this point in time must focus on funding. We have carefully thought through the plan. Now is the time to begin implementation. We’d love to have your help.
Will Bronson, President and Founder 239 940 6080