A Field Trip to Cedar Grove Composting Facility

Last Wednesday a cadre of Nomads took a trip to Cedar Grove, the family-owned composting facility in Everett that handles the yard and food waste from King and Snohomish counties. When you put your coffee grounds, chopsticks, eggshells, orange peels, leftover Pud Thai, sandwiches, bonsai trees, and approved food packaging into the green compost bins at Office Nomads, this is where it ends up!

Hey! Don’t eat that!

They use a 3-phase Gore system (as in Gore-Tex, the company that makes the breathable covers for the composting piles) to turn organic urban waste into various garden soils and mulches.  In fact, theirs is the largest Gore system in the world!  It turns out over 400,000 tons of rich, fertile goodness every year.

And this bald eagle owns all of it.

The first phase grinds and sorts the waste into pieces no bigger than 4 inches.  Then it is churned in with wood chips, which are important to balance out the abundance of green yard waste they receive.  “Green” materials contain lots of nitrogen, while “brown” materials like wood have lots of carbon.  Getting the right balance is critical to making good compost.  Then, they use front-loaders to move the compost into long piles, which are aerated and sprayed with just the right amount of water for decomposition.  The next phase continues this, and the final one involves “curing,” i.e. letting the compost rest until it naturally darkens in color.

Conveyor system moving the compost from intake to Stage 1.

A long pile of compost in Stage 2

Their “recipes” for nitrogen and carbon (green and brown organic waste, respectively) ratios vary throughout the year in order to produce a uniform final product.  For example, they have a grass recipe, a pumpkin recipe, and a Christmas tree recipe, depending on what they’re getting seasonally from consumers.  They also modify the recipes with nutrients such as manure and loam to make the different products they sell to gardeners and landscapers.

Vesting up for safety

We were able to walk right up to the giant rows of compost to see and feel the various stages of decomposition.  Most were under their Gore-Tex covers, but in the final stage they are out in the open air.  We were able to touch them to feel how hot they get–the composting organic material naturally heats up to about 175 degrees!  This hot composting action works even in the dead of winter.

Veena feels the warmth

On a sad note, there were pieces of shredded plastic visible in all the piles. While they have a system to remove most of the plastic and metal that gets tossed in with the organic waste, seeing the plastic bags all piled in tall heaps was enough to make any Italian-actor-playing-a-Native-American-chief cry.  It might not seem like a big deal to toss a bag closure in with the spinach, but it adds up fast–and the result is pretty upsetting.  They can’t even sell some of their compost anymore because of all the plastic.

Huge magnet they use to remove metal

But encouragingly, everyone we met was super sweet, optimistic, and very passionate about composting. It was such a nerdy good time that we’d love to organize more field trips in the future.  Next up, we’re going to see if we can visit the recycling center to learn how that magic happens.  Onward to more adventures!

Open House THIS Thursday!

The summer open house is going to ROCK! Please join us this Thursday, July 8th from 6-9pm for an evening of photography, info on sharing resources in Capitol Hill, and all the usual shenanigans you find during our quarterly celebrations. RSVP here and let us know you’re coming! Here are all the details on the fun:

  • New art! We are incredibly pleased to welcome Youth In Focus to the office walls for the next several months. Youth In Focus is a fantastic Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering urban teens, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and make positive changes in their lives. As part of the Blitz! Capitol Hill Art Walk, we’re incredibly excited to host this new round of art! You can read more about the featured show by clicking over to our Featured Artist page.
  • Zipcar in the House! We’re not the only ones in town who think that sharing resources (like offices) is a great idea. We’ve teamed up with Zipcar to offer great discounts to our members, and hope to step forward even more to inspire our Capitol Hill neighbors to share with one another. Sharing resources like cars and offices means that we can each make less of an impact on the planet as an individual. Come and chat with the good folks at Zipcar at our event to learn more about what they’re doing in Seattle and in other great cities across the country!
  • Coworking Seattle Meetup! If you’re interested in joining in for a great pre-event, please join us for the Coworking Seattle July meetup. Our group will be talking about great opportunities to share marketing costs, and how our little organization can help to promote coworking throughout our great city. You can RSVP via the Facebook Event if you’re up for joining us!

That’s about it! If you’d like to join us, you can RSVP to let us know you’re coming (and help us determine how big the keg will be!). All are most welcome, so bring a few friends along and make us a part of your summer Thursday night.

**Important PS: We’ve got A/C, so if you’re out there sweltering in the new-found Seattle heat, come on in for some relief and a cool refreshing drink. 🙂

Member Profile: Charles Redell

charlie headshot 2

Charles Redell

Website: http://www.sustainableindustries.com/


Member Since: January 2008

Type of Member: Resident

Charles Redell is the associate editor for Sustainable Industries and he blogs on his own site as well. He has become and important member of the Nomads community by helping with blogging, giving tours and, even, answering phones. A recent project he has taken on has been organizing Brown Bag Lunch Discussions in which he gathers other interested Nomads to discuss a topic that has been floating around. How Charles could function without Office Nomads is hard to say. How Office Nomads could function without Charles…we don’t want to think about that.

He started working at Office Nomads in November 2007, right after they opened. At the time, he was getting his freelancing career off the ground and had been working from home, coffee shops and libraries for about six months. It was not going well. Though he was earning a living, he was miserable most of the time, and like Chris, rarely wearing pants. He was shocked to realize that he needed an office community as a part of his life but after his first day at ON, he told his wife, “I feel like a productive member of society for the first time in months.”

Also like Chris, Charles is amazed by the friendships he has discovered here. In other offices he has worked, he found companions that would drift off after he left the job. “But since we’re all here by choice, we’ve found that we actually want to hang out. It’s really a great place to be.”

Member Profile: Suzi Tucker

Suzi Tucker

Suzi Tucker

Website: http://biznik.com/members/suzi-tucker

Member Since: July 2008

Type of Member: Resident

Suzi started coming to Office Nomads after three months of trying the ‘home office’ thing in her one bedroom condo. She would try and work from her living room then go to Victrola (local coffee shop) then home then to Remedy Teas (local tea shop). Each place could only keep her focused for two hours before she needed something different. She found Office Nomads and, with it, a place to hold onto her sanity. “I came here one day over a year ago and never left. That day when I left Office Nomads I walked by Victrola and knew I was done with that” (for work, I’m betting she’ll still head there for the delicious coffee).

At Office Nomads Suzi has been able to stay focused on her work and complete major projects. She is an independent contractor working for a client that is a multinational, multi-institutional research organization creating an online interactive learning experience. “I bring to bear my unique combination of experiences in education, the physical sciences, and design to create engaging experiences that educate and inspire visitors. I handle concept, development, and design for both physical and online exhibits.” Her work has led her to learn more about such topics as Alzheimer’s, global warming, neurology and more while creating educational exhibits. Check out her latest project at http://www.emergentuniverse.org when it goes live on October 1st.

Closing her apartment door behind her in the morning and coming to work at Office Nomads has helped Suzi feel like a real person. “My job didn’t feel real when I wasn’t leaving my house to work…Now I can set these very clean boundaries for my work. When I’m here I work. When I’m home, I don’t. “

Suzi is a great, positive individual in the Office Nomads space. She loves coming to many of the evening events. These events prove to be great opportunities to connect with the other folks working around her.

“I rave about this place all the time. Office Nomads is $475 a month. Therapy is so much more expensive. This is the better deal.”

Look for Suzi at Office Nomads Turns Two and chat her up about her awesome experience here at Office Nomads.

Lunch 2.0

Lunch 2.0

Office Nomads is very excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a Lunch 2.0 event next week!

What is Lunch 2.0? It’s a monthly lunch and short panel conversation aimed at Seattle-area entrepreneurs, independent workers and tech folks who want to together for a FREE LUNCH and learn about how other people tackle problems, start businesses and the like.

This month the event will have a less technical topic. We’ll talk some about what coworking is and why it’s better than working in a coffee shop and some about the ins and outs of starting and running your own business.

Our panel will feature four Nomads:
Ryan Salva – Prinicipal, Capitol Media
Ron Theis – Principal, Ridiculous Software
Susan Evans – co-founder, Office Nomads
Gabriel Scheer – co-founder, Re-Vision Labs

Lunch is being served by Seattle’s latest and greatest lunch delivery service Molly’s Salads which strives to bring you the best tasting, organic, local and otherwise really good sandwiches and salads you can imagine. All for unbelievably great prices. You won’t want to miss it.

So please come to Lunch 2.0 at Office Nomads on Friday June 26 from 11:30 AM to 1 PM. We’re at 1617 Boylston Ave. on the second floor. To RSVP (space is limited), please visit http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/2912016/?ps=5sl.

Inauguration at Office Nomads

on-inauguration-partyLike most of the rest of the nation yesterday, the Office Nomads community celebrated the inauguration of President Barack Obama. (I still like writing that.) As we did on election night, we invited our extended communities to share this historic moment together. After all, as Jacob said through tears the night Obama won, the kind of change President Obama is leading us toward is the kind that starts with small groups of people, “and that’s exactly what we have here: a community.”

When I walked in, shortly before 9 am our time, there was a crowd of about 30 people gathered in the cafe space in the back of the office watching the proceedings and celebrating with mimosas, donuts and various breakfast noshes. I hurried out of my bike clothes, not wanting to miss the moment and on-inauguration-party2made it out in time to sit at the front of the group to watch the swearing in followed by his speech. Looking out over the relatively small group around me, I was struck by how tightly knit it was. On one couch was Gabriel cuddled with his wife Jill. On the L-shaped leather couch, a crowd of Nomads sat near each other, sharing the moment. On the floor at the foot of the TV was Piper who has done some design work with Jacob and Susan–and her four-year old daughter, sharing an occasion that will likely change the world her daughter will grow up in.

It was the warmest moment I’d had in a long time.

For much of the rest of the day, there was a sense of excitement and optimism in the office. A group of people I don’t know camped out on the floor of the kitchen and held an impromptu meeting. I’m not sure what it was about, but it sounded like a new venture with some social change aspect to it. Throughout the day, various Nomads plopped down in front of the TV to watch the parade or the news and chat about it all. Connections were formed and strengthened as the festivities in Washington. D.C carried on and I think President Obama would have been pleased to see it all. Those of us in the coworking movement, those of us who are independent workers and entreprenuers, we are a huige part of the change that America is going to go through, and I think President Obama recognizes that. It was a thrill to celebrate for him, and with him, yesterday with such a strong and positive community.

Co-sponsored events are great!

What a crowd we had!

What a crowd we had!

Our fifth open house was a wonderful success! As we mentioned before, this was a highly co-sponsored event with several groups involved:

  • It was the Capitol Hill Greendrinks event, bringing together the Capitol Hill environmental community
  • Sustainable Capitol Hill was also a co-host, raising funds and getting more folks in the know about their presence on Capitol Hill
  • Expeditionary Art showed us that watercolors are not for wimps – Maria’s art created a big buzz around the event and drew lots of well-deserved attention
  • Out for Sustainability stepped onto the scene as a new organization at this event. This awesome crew is committed to connecting LGBT individuals who are committed to sustainability.
  • Other fantastic sponsors included Sierra Nevada, Snoqualmie Wines, Pizza Fusion, and Madison Market. We were so thankful for this excellent team who kept us well hydrated and well fed!

There were a thousand reasons why this event rocked, but one important lesson we were reminded of was how great it is for us to co-host our open houses. In October we did our first co-sponsored open house and took it to a whole new level in January. Co-sponsoring events with our open houses create a win for everyone involved – we get to mix communities of folks who may not have met up otherwise and to forge new partnerships in our neighborhood. We are humbled by the organizations we’ve teamed with so far, and look forward to seeing what will happen at our next open house. Any suggestions? Let us know – our next open house will be in April!

Event Time!

Thanks to Maria at Expedtionary art for the image. More of her paintings will be on display at Office Nomads starting Jan. 13.

It’s time for an Open House at Office Nomads again. As with our past events, it’ll be an art opening with some yummy food and drink. Starting next Tuesday, January 13, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, exquisitely thoughtful watercolors by Seattle artist Maria Coryell-Martin will be on display for the next few months. Her work is really something else. She’s traveled the world (all seven continents) and brought back many visions of landscapes. This show will be focused largely on winter scenes and include, I hope since I’ve been there too, scenes from her travels to Antarctica.

But because we like to keep things interesting here at ON, this Open House is something else altogether. For the first time, we’re partnering with Seattle Greendrinks to host the Capitol Hill Greendrinks. For those not in the know, Seattle Greendrinks is a monthly gathering of sustainability professionals. Normally, it is a city-wide event full of a couple of hundred folks all chatting, drinking and eating and raising money for a different nonprofit. But once every few months, they break the event out into smaller based in neighborhoods around the city and raise money for themselves.

We’ve been feverishly planning this event and it promises to be a great one. We’ll have donated beer from Sierra Nevada and Snoqualmie wine as well as pizza from Pizza Fusion and some other snacks. There’s also going to be some crafty opportunities thanks to Sustainable Capitol Hill and, of course, opportunities to help support Seattle Greendrinks by buying a commemartive Seattle Greendrinks pint glass. (They’re super cool and work well for beer!) Best part, if this neighborhood raises the most money, the next time Seattle Greendrinks breaks out into neighborhoods, it gets the free beer again!

So come on down, check out some amazing art, celebrate the start of 2009 with Office Nomads, have a drink, eat some food and get to know the movers and shakers in Capitol Hill’s sustainability scene.

Office Nomads Imagines Capitol Hill

The event in lights!If you’ve spent any time at Office Nomads since March, or if you’ve kept an eye on our calendar of events, you’ve probably heard of Imagine Capitol Hill. Not only has Susan been hosting planning meetings for this weekend’s street fair at ON, she’s been one of the major planners of it. The street fair, which organizers hope will inspire participants to imagine what Capitol Hill could be like as a more sustainable community, promises to be a really great time. I don’t know all the details, but according to the Sustainable Capitol Hill site, it’ll include an outdoor street café with free tea & coffee, sustainable cooking demonstrations and a bike repair clinic (which I desperately need to attend).

But wait, there’s more. Office Nomads will also have a booth there. Susan and Jacob will spend the day extolling the virtues of having a commute-free workspace in the neighborhood. They’ll have couches out for folks who feel the need to take a load off or want to chat with their neighbors (and maybe even get some work done on a Sunday, if they want), displays about the space and, most fun of all, an interactive art project.

The art project will ask folks to put their thinking caps on and imagine (get it?) what they would do with all the time they’d save by not commuting to work by working at a coworking office in their neighborhood. An array of colorful post-its will, I’m sure, have some pretty awesome ideas. We’ll report on the best next week.

So if you’re in the ‘hood, drop by Imagine Capitol Hill this Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm and make sure to say hi to Jacob and Susan!

ON is Upscale Now?

Congrats to our South-Sound brethern and sistern at Suite 133 in Tacoma who had a glowing article about their Tacoma coworking space publshed in the Tacoma News Tribune today:

For $250 a month, tenants rent space at a work table, schedule client time or sensitive telephone calls for one of two private conference rooms, share a common couch-coffeepot-refrigerator area and come and go as they please. If tenants prepay their rent, they can get a drawer in a file cabinet. Otherwise, they pack in and pack out whatever they need each day.

The story quickly sketches the history of coworking focusing much more on Suite 133 and its founders. We love Tacoma anyway so it’s nice to see the coworking space there get some of media love!

It’s also nice that the story mentions Office Nomads, though it’s a bit weird to be identified as the “upscale”
coworking space:

Others, like Seattle’s Office Nomads, which opened more recently, offer an upscale feel, storage and fax amenities, higher prices ($475 a month) and daily drop-in rates ($25).

I mean, we use a blackboard to announce our events such as our upcoming Open House on May 30 at 5 pm which you should come to.