Over Coffee® Podcasts

Here are our current Over Coffee® podcasts!

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  • Local Roots Farms: Where Agriculture Meets the Future April 22, 2017

    Local Roots founder and CEO Eric Ellestad

    Local Roots Farms founder and CEO Eric Ellestad says vertical indoor farming isn’t a new idea.

    “(Ancient) Babylon discovered (indoor farming) as one of the seven wonders of the world,” he explained, during his presentation at Make in LA’s March Toolbox LA lunchtime event.

    Eric Ellestad onstage with Local Roots slide

    Historic idea or not, vertical indoor farming is gaining traction as world population grows.  And with Los Angeles-based Local Roots Farms, Eric is using twenty-first century technology to develop produce to specifications.

    LED lights, sensors and irrigation systems allow Eric and his team to adjust the plants’ environment.   The controlled climate enable them to change crops’ flavor, texture or durability.

    Local Roots Farms has the goal of developing a worldwide network of indoor farms which grow crops sustainably.   Their current markets include universities, community centers, mass-market grocers and the hospitality industry.

    Eric talked about creating his startup, explained how some of the technology works and shared his vision for the future.

    On this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Eric developed Local Roots Farms to meet the challenges of modern farming with cutting-edge technology;
    • How this technology works to give plants the optimum growing environment;
    • Some of the research Eric did, in developing his indoor farming systems;
    • The story of Local Roots Farms, which Eric founded in 2013;
    • A good “learning mistake” Eric and his team made, while developing their startup;
    • The resources that worked well for him, in developing Local Roots Farms;
    • The direction Eric wants to take his company, globally, in the future.

    Would you like to attend one of hardware accelerator Make in LA’s “Toolbox LA” lunchtime presentations–which are all about innovating to support the Los Angeles ecosystem?   Their May 3 event,  “Health Tech Challenges”, is happening in Pasadena.  Then, on June 1, they’ll host “Social Justice and Tech” in downtown Los Angeles.  Here’s the link to RSVP for these free events.

  • The Makings of Magic April 15, 2017

    Vocademy General Manager Dylan Harter

    Dylan Harter has an extraordinarily cool job.

    As General Manager at Vocademy: The Makerspace, Dylan oversees a unique program.

    Vocademy, which opened in Riverside in 2013, is a maker space with a difference.  Their program focuses on education–for everyone.  And they’re teaching real-world skills that most schools no longer offer.Vocademy General Manager Dylan Harter displays laser-cut plaques

    “We are makers,” says Vocademy’s website.   They’re sharing those making skills  by offering training in 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking and a host of other hands-on areas.    With employee-training programs for companies, as well as students and the general public, they’re bringing the “fun” element back to learning.

    Batman costume near sewing machines

    Oh, and they’re creating some fantastic cosplay, LED signs, and go-carts, too.

    "I'm not a complete idiot" LED sign

    gocart made by Vocademy students

    In March, we met Dylan at Vocademy for a tour of the fifteen-hundred-square-foot facility.   Like the maker culture itself, Vocademy is continuing to grow and evolve.  Vpro 3D printer

    These 3D printers were made specifically for Vocademy!

    Laser cutting cutting wood

    This massive laser cutter has a three-foot-by-four-foot cutting area.  It can cut anything that burns.

    Electronics station with LED light circuit

    The day we visited, Vocademy had eight electronics stations, were adding features to their finishing room, and were continuing to explore the possibilities for a second Southern California location, sometime within, approximately, the next two years.

    They were also planning a maker faire, this autumn, in Riverside!  We’ll give you more details when they announce the date.

    Dylan Harter with 3D printed and molded masks

    Dylan talked about his experiences with Vocademy, showcased some of the facility’s features (a high school actually teaches shop classes onsite, due to Vocademy’s high-end equipment and safety procedures) and offered a preview of what’s next.

    On this edition of Over Coffee®, you’ll hear:
    • How Dylan and founder Gene Sherman first came up with the concept of Vocademy;
    • How a local charter high school is using Vocademy for onsite curricula;
    • Some of the maker skills students and members can learn;
    • Dylan’s recommendations for favorite resources for makers;
    • Where Vocademy is heading, in the future;



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