February 2012 ALAP Mtg Recap

February ALAP Meeting Recap

We are an informal group of Northern Michigan citizens seeking to have more local impact and connectedness with our money.  We gather once a month for a potluck and to meet local entrepreneurs and learn about their projects.  During our meetings, we also share ideas for how we might keep more of our money locally and invested for triple-bottom-line returns (financial, social, and environmental). This is an experiment of sorts with exciting offshoot possibilities, including the spawning of a more formal local investing club.  For now, though, those interested in pursuing local investments with other group members or presenting entrepreneurs may do so independently of this ALAP group.  Our meetings are open to any individual, although we request that you RSVP so that we can assure sufficient meeting space.
February 9 was the date for another inspiring and thought-provoking As Local As Possible (ALAP) meeting!  We gathered at Michigan Land Use Institute HQ (thank you MLUI!) with several newbies in attendance and potluck quality that was once again tip-top. 
Towards the end of our opening potluck hour, we heard five-minute talks from both Paul Murray and Andrea Maio.  Paul is heavily involved in the local raw foods movement and shared some ideas he is working on related to a housing concept that combines healthy living options with green design and construction (dubbed the LifeHouse Eco-Health Living System).  Paul also shared his green smoothies made from local ingredients he grows in his home year-round.  Andrea, a film-maker exploring new online media formats and crowd-funding platforms, shared her latest project titled Back to Your Senses.  Andrea successfully raised initial capital with crowd-funding platform Mobcaster.com to fund the first episode in her series which she describes as “an episodic video series about people who leave the safety of what they know for the sake of what they love…”  Cinematographer Jeff Morgan joined Andrea and gave our group a sneak peak of the first mini-episode which can also be viewed here.
After Paul and Andrea, we turned the floor over to our main speaker/entrepreneur for the evening, Mark Moseler.  Mark, introduced to ALAP by Andrea who is featuring him in her Back to Your Senses project noted above, is in the process of opening Northern Latitudes Distillery, a craft distillery in Lake Leelanau.  He hopes to be open by Memorial Day after three years of planning.  Mark’s business model calls for “hitting as many palates with local ingredients as possible” and will utilize a custom still from Christian Carl, one of Europe’s oldest still manufactures, that can produce any distilled spirit.  Mark enthusiastically communicated many of the ideas he hopes to deploy as his distillery opens for business and the positive impact he expects to bring to the Lake Leelanau community.  To date, Mark has raised money for the project from personal resources, friends, and family and expects to finalize his initial funding needs in the next few months.  For those interested in following up with Mark, he can be reached at 231-352-4895 or mark@nldistillery.com.
During our final hour, the group discussed the evening’s speakers and planned for our next meeting.  Ruth Smith of Selestial Soapwas chosen as our next speaker, but a conflict in her schedule will push her back to our April meeting.  For March 8, Scotty Bruce of Ellsworth-based MiFarmMarket.comhas agreed to present to us.  I heard his “pitch” at a Northern Michigan Angels meeting and expect that our group will enjoy hearing about his rapidly growing company.  MLUI generously offered their space again, so we will meet at 6pm for our potluck with Scotty scheduled to begin his presentation @ 7pm.  In the days ahead, I will circulate updated Entrepreneur/Speaker submission forms and an initial ALAP member roster so that we can continue to build our speaker pipeline.  
Thanks again for your continued interest and participation and I look forward to seeing you all again in March!