Award: $20,000 and mentorship
Amount distributed to date: $10,000.02
Entrepreneur: Brent Buffington
“Hey Brent, how has Growing Orlando changed in the last six months while working with the Rally Makers?”
Growing Orlando has changed immensely in the last six months. Since January we have formed as an official entity in Florida, received our Federal Tax Exempt ID, and begun working on a series of projects. We completed a self-watering raised bed project. It helps act as a visible way to get our name out there and get people talking about us, and acts as a model to teach out. 4 completed beds, 2 at the Credo College Park shop and 2 in front of Rusty Spoon down on Church St. The fun fact about these beds is they are mobile, contain a tank of water in the bottom, and run off a rechargeable battery and Arduino board that run the water twice daily. We will be showing them off at the Orlando Maker Faire in September.
Right now we’re moving into a focus on our big Fall projects. Including our first in ground farm site on a quarter acre piece of city owned property on South St. We still have some permitting, planning, and fundraising. We’re also preparing our plant subscription and workshops that will be available for those interested in learning how to grow for themselves.
“What have you learned about yourself working alongside your mentor team?”
Working with Doug Brown and Ben Hoyer has been great. Doug has opened up the doors of Factur and allowed us to utilize the space to build our raised beds and even build relationships with other makers. Ben has continuously acted as a guiding mentor in areas that are new for us.
All in all I’d say I’ve learned a great deal about myself in this process. Where my strengths are, and where I have some opportunity for growth. People are excited about our story and mission and it helps fuel daily strides.
“Hey Doug, imagine that [Growing Orlando] is the cover story for Fast Company in Spring 2016. What are you most exited to read about their progress as a result of their time with Rally Makers?
I’m looking forward to seeing Growing Orlando obtain land in the downtown corridor, and plant their first high yield crops. The beginning step with any businesses is just to do the impossible, just to plant that first seed. I hope my time with Brent has helped Growing Orlando move from an idea to an action.
“As we approach the fall round of new enterprises, what do you look for most in a social enterprise/leader?”
I look for the dreamers that do. It is not hard to come up with an idea; it is very hard to bring that idea out to the world. A social enterprise leader must understand that these ideas are not hobbies to be done in their spare time, these ideas require insane amounts of nurturing, persistence, and time.