Grounds for Gathering

Thanks to the generosity of our coffee partners―Zeitgeist, Caffe Umbria, and Starbucks―we saved 40 pounds of spent coffee grounds from the waste stream last week. With this first draw, we’re nearly halfway to our goal of 100 pounds! 

This coming week, we hope to recover at least that much, if not more (a few buckets “disappeared” from one of our collection sites, an unforeseen set-back.) 

While those buckets of grounds multiply, we’ll set the efforts of the past three years into motion, beginning with a team meeting on Monday afternoon. Chris and Gab will gather at Olson Kundig’s office to discuss space planning and design parameters with Michael Picard, project manager for [storefront] Olson Kundig Architects, and Jim Dow of Schuchart/Dow, who has offered to donate much-needed construction services. 

When our concepts are cooked enough to receive feedback, we’ll share them at another Olson Kundig crit session, likely on Thursday, January 26. Will our design include a wall or maze of mushrooms? What will the window display look like? Will we dine in the front, middle or back? Will we counterweight bags of mushrooms with reclaimed grounds? Which parts and pieces will move and morph and change, now that engineer impresario Phil Turner is working with us? 

Whatever ideas come to fruition, we’ll leave that evening with a design and a plan for building out the [storefront] Mushroom Farm installation. Until then, there’s much to be done as the coffee levels rise... 

This week, we’ll design a logo mark, update our website and Facebook page, confirm speakers for our hosted events, consult with Alex of Cascadia Mushrooms (our mushroom farmer) and Ethan Schaffer of GrowFood.org (our fiscal sponsor), and test options for our loyalty program.

At some point, we’ll need to buy the lab coats we’ve always dreamed of wearing and hire interns to help us staff the [storefront] Mushroom Farm during lunch hours (yes, Stephen, we’ll finally have interns!) 

As this comes together, it’s been fun to consider another kind of loyalty program: the one we committed to in January 2009 when we came together as CityLab7 hoping to work differently―and work together―to change the world. We’ve met many challenges along the way, both internal and external, as our lives have changed dramatically in three years.

Yet, the fact that we’re still here and more energized than ever says something important about our dedication to this idea and each other. As the saying goes, therein lies the value of membership.