In this Web 2.0 age of “new commerce,” I like to think that websites like Kickstarter prove that their is still goodness in people, even if they are pissed that gas is $4/gallon and would rather eat fast food than buy produce. Saving money is crucial, but so is helping out a worthy cause. I love sites like Kiva, who let us make micro-loans to those in need, often in third-world countries (not to mention the top group is the atheist/freethought one!). Kickstarter, on the other hand, seems a bit more upscale and trendy, but not without its meritus projects. I’d like to highlight a few I found particularly interesting:
Coffee Joulies! Man, these look awesome (the pic is directly from their Kickstarter page). You know how your coffee starts out too hot, and then gets too cold? These apparently solve that problem, once and for all.
Coffee Joulies work with your coffee to achieve two goals. First, they absorb extra thermal energy in your coffee when it’s served too hot, cooling it down to a drinkable temperature three times faster than normal. Next, they release that stored energy back into your coffee keeping it in the right temperature range twice as long.
The minimum backing level is a little steep ($30), but you get your own Joulie set with it, so I guess that makes sense. They are already well beyond the required amount, so I’m guessing this is gonna go big and possibly get marketed in coffee shops around the country. Some of the update videos talk about the manufacturing process and how, since they have so much money backing them, they’re going to start up this factory in New York to produce all the Joulies (instead of outsourcing it to Mexico). Neat!
Heidi Ho Organics wants to make hazelnut cheeses! The idea to keep things local, as “[t]he macadamia nut is to Hawaii what the hazelnut is to us here in Oregon.” Cool! Here’s what they plan to offer:
…a range of plant-based vegan cheeze products that are made from all natural, organic ingredients without any additives, fillers or preservatives. Our initial line of cheeze includes four varieties, including a soy-based Feta and hazelnut-based Chipotle Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Monterey Jack. […] [O]ur goal is to stimulate local economies around the globe by building small sub-production facilities that source their ingredients locally and only distribute within a local radius.
Too bad for those with soy allergies, but I’m still excited to try this one day (provided their funding succeeds). I do plan to be in Portland for the Vida Vegan Con (stoked!) so hopefully I can get hazelnut-crazy then!
Lastly is Peter Bauer’s (aka Urban Scout) “rewilding” campaign, wherein he is attempting to take the book he wrote by the same name on the road. Book tour or not, this is worth checking out for what the idea is. A review states it as thus:
…the philosophy of the emerging rewilding renaissance, in which civilized humans are thought to be “domesticated” through thousands of years of sedentary, agrarian life. This way of life is believed to be the root of all environmental destruction and social injustice. Rewilding is the process of undoing this domestication, and restoring healthy, biologically diverse communities. Using thoughtful, humorously cynical and at times angry prose, Urban Scout explores how the ideology of civilization clashes with the wild and wild peoples, and how thinking, feeling and most importantly living wild is the only way to reach true sustainability.
Okay, so, I screwed up, and this project is already over. So are most of the totally awesome ones I found (like this one, or this one). Whatever. Go back the first two! And check out Kickstarter, because it’s rad. There may be more with Kickstarter and TNTSU in the future…stay tuned, and get excited!
Two shout-outs to two more special Kickstarter projects: Morels Vegan Food Truck, which I’m very proud to say Louisville funded, and the Music Coming Back Tour, which I helped produce and set up. If you like rock ‘n roll, check it out!