We all know it, “awesome” is one of the most exhaustively misused words in the English language. A video on the internet of a man falling off a chair goes viral, racking up 1 million hits in a day. This is, apparently, awesome. No, this is not awesome. If something is awesome, it is supposed to inspire awe. It should elicit a reaction of overwhelming admiration. Chances are, if something is truly awesome, you might find yourself speechless, which is why it took me one hour to find the opening line to begin this post. The Give2Girls campaign was awesome.

To celebrate and participate in Women’s History Month, we launched our second Give2Girls campaign, which ran for the full 31 days of March. Our aim was to empower girls and women the world over. We wanted to write our own chapter in the story of women’s history. This year, with the invaluable help of CRAVE and Women@Google, we had a bountiful matching fund of $6,000. Our goal was to raise $12,000. It is with much excitement – and awe – that I can announce that the total raised was:


We are so thankful to everyone who participated – everyone. To those who donated, to those who blogged, to those who tweeted and re-tweeted, and to those who gave up their time and energy. A very special thanks must be reserved for Zanoon Nissar and Jessan Hutchison-Quillian for their munificent contribution to the matching funds. The awareness you’ve created and the impact you’ve made has been monumental. So to all of you: way to be feminists!

See the impact for yourself:

Underwrite 2 Day of Training & Counseling in Haiti
Transportation for 2 Midwives in Palestine
Training for 8 women in bio-intensive farming methods in Kenya
Training for 8 Young Woman Trainers in Nepal
Training for 6 Girls in Pakistan
Diarrhea Treatment for 2 Girls in India
2 Girls to attend Day School in China
1 Field Trip in Tanzania
1 Year of Education in Liberia
The Rescue of 6 Girls in Nepal
Transportation to Meet with 8 Weavers in Peru
School Uniforms to 3 Girls in Liberia
School Supplies to 52 Girls in Liberia
School Supplies for 4 School-aged Weavers in Peru
Oral Rehydration Salts to 20 People in Somalia
One Year of Schooling to 2 Girls in Liberia
20 Woman Access to Clothing in Seattle, WA
6 Technology Classes in USA
7 Semesters of Education in Liberia
8 Life Skills Class in USA
Medical Supplies for 15 Weeks in Bangladesh
Lower Level Literacy Education for 26 Women in Afghanistan
Health and Hygiene Training for 3 Women in Kenya
Food for 10 Weeks in Uganda
25 Health Kits in Somalia
Farm Training to 8 Women in Sudan
Clean Water to 8 Families in Guatemala
13 Water Construction Tools in Kenya
A Stipend  for 1 Week in USA
156 Months of Oral Contraceptives in Nepal
22 Week of Health Screening in Bangladesh
5 weeks of care for a mother and her baby in Guatemala
1 Stove to 2 Families in Nepal
16 Solar Lamps in Tanzania
28 Personal Hygiene Kit in Tanzania
1 Month of Transportation in Tanzania
9 Hygiene Kits in Tanzania
6 Bag of Seeds in Nicaragua
10 “Safe Birth” Kits in Palestine
20 Fruit Trees in Tanzania
1-on-1 Care to three Woman in USA
10 Girls 1 Year of Public School Education in Pakistan
Funding for a Skills Workshop for 11 Weavers for 1 Year in Peru
Food for 3 Families of 6 People for 3 Weeks in Somalia
1 Week of a Cook’s Salary in Tanzania
3 Built Stoves in Nepal
Adoption of 3 Mothers in India


I’m a man and I’m a feminist. But I will admit that when my wife (my then girlfriend) first told me she was a feminist, I rolled my eyes and thought, “OK here we go!” As a reaction, it wasn’t malicious, neither was it misogynistic. But it was dismissive, and it was certainly deeply ignorant. Ignorance is the operative word here. Because, at the time, my idea of feminism was mostly pre-conceived and – surprise surprise therefore – largely wrong. For me the word feminist only conjured up images of cantankerous women burning bras and hating on men. To be honest, I felt quite threatened by feminism.

But let’s define feminism.

feminism [femuh-niz-uhm] noun 1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

What about feminist?

feminist [femuh-nist] adjective 1. advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

So feminism is the doctrine for equal rights for women, and a feminist is someone who advocates that doctrine. Nothing scary about that.

photo credit: Flickr, Jay Morrison

The thing is, deep in my heart I knew the burning bras and the cantankerous hating parts of my definition were probably an exaggeration, or at least an exiguous minority. So that left me with just the women part. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a sympathizer for gender equality. So what was my problem then? The answer is simple: the fear of otherness. Or to put it more soberly, prejudice. I felt threatened by that which was unknown to me and by that which was different to me. This is the heart of all prejudices.

There was something else curious about this, though. Why did I only envisage women when I thought about feminism? Probably because the only people I saw, read, or heard about in the media who had anything to do with feminism were all women. Feminism was a movement for women run predominantly by women. No wonder, then, feminism seemed so other to me; it was other.

And herein, I believe, lies one of the great barriers to gender equality: there are not enough men advocating feminism. If feminism is about gender equality, then both genders must fight for it. Otherwise how is it equal? Because, men, you can’t say you believe in gender equality if you’re letting women do all the work.

I’m convinced that feminism will continue to be misunderstood, and therefore dismissed by many, unless more men stand up and count themselves as feminists. Because if feminism remains a movement for women by women, then the inescapable laws of prejudice will mean that men will always fear it.

Lessons to be learnt from this (especially for men) :

1. Feminism is simply about gender equality

2. Own up to your prejudices

3. Become a feminist; advocate women’s rights

You can advocate women’s rights in the simplest of ways. Giving to our Give2Girls campaign, which seeks to empower disadvantaged women the world over, is one method. Help us reach our goal of $20,000 donated. Be a feminist here.


The Give2Girls campaign has been fully matched and we have raised an incredible figure just shy of $13,000! But although the matching part of the campaign is over, the campaign isn’t! We still have 10 days remaining for Women’s History Month and our goal is to reach $15,000. And with UN’s World Water Day coming up this Thursday, March 22nd, we wanted to highlight our Give2Girls Clean Water project run by MADRE.

Your donation provides essential tools for building water construction systems for women in Kenya. In doing so, you help bring clean water and a sustainable water system to the community, as well as empowering local women to participate in income-generating activities.

Give to the Clean Water project here, provide a community with the source of life, and help us reach our campaign goal.

Know your facts on water? Here’s an excellent infographic about why we must stop wasting water. Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

Infographic by Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meters that measure and conserve water.

Give to the Clean Water project here. Empower women, Give2Girls.

Don’t invest in women and 150 million people could starve. FACT. This infographic illustrates perfectly just one of the myriad reasons why we must invest in women. Be it on our own heads if we don’t. Let’s not allow it to get to that point; Give2Girls.

Give women farmers in Sudan the resources, the education, and the chance  to be more productive here or provide sustainable bio-intensive farm training for women in Kenya to help them improve their yields  here.  Or look for our other projects with the Give2Girls logo

to see how you can empower the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today. Donate to any of these and we will match your donation up to $500!

Go to our campaign page to find out more.

Tell your friends about the Give2Girls campaign.

Follow us and share our updates on Facebook.

Tweet using the #give2girls hashtag.


How’s your knowledge of women’s history? Honestly. I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say mine is a little patchy. Well, if you’re anything like me, then this month of March is your chance to change that. March is Women’s History Month – a world-wide movement that looks back and celebrates the tenacious achievements of women in our history, with a mind to looking forward and increasing awareness of the great distance that is yet to be traveled to achieve gender equality.

Introducing the Give2Girls matching campaign

To celebrate and participate in Women’s History Month, we’re proud to be launching our second Give2Girls matching campaign, running for the whole of March – starting today! We’re dedicating thirty one days to improving the lives of thousands of women and girls around the globe. Like last year, we’re partnering with the indefatigable CRAVE, a networking organization committed to connecting and promoting women entrepreneurs.

How will the campaign work?

Give to any of our 20+ projects related to women or girls, and we will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to $500 per donor! Even better than that, though, we will double your proof. So donate $40 to educate one girl in Afghanistan for ten months, and we’ll send you the proof for how two girls have been educated. The campaign is being matched up to a total of $6,000.

Why this campaign?

Here are just some of the reasons:

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
  • The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 – already the largest in history – is expected to peak in the next decade.
  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.
  • Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
  • Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.

(statistics taken from

For too long women have been over-looked. Their worth within society, communities, and families has been woefully neglected. And the true absurdity of this is that the roles they play within these spheres are of paramount importance. But we’re not here to bemoan the past; we’re here to change the future. So let’s do that.

What can I do?

1. Educate yourself. Give a bit of your time to learning about the past and women’s history. You can start here at Then, learn about the present. The sites are numerous, but here are a couple we like: and the UN’s womenwatch.

2. Spread the word. Share what you learn and share our campaign with your friends, families and social networks. Tweet using the hashtag #give2girls.

3. Change the future. Support the Give2Girls campaign and invest in the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today!

Empower women and girls the world over here.


There’s a nothing like a bit of jargon-busting from time to time, especially when it concerns a word that is heavily used. A word like empowerment, for example – we talk about it a lot at Jolkona. But why? What is it about empowerment that is so fundamental to our vision as a non-profit? The answer to that question lies in the relationship between power and justice: one of the core functions of justice is granting power to those who need it. Take any situation of injustice, chronic or temporary, and at its root will be an imbalance or abuse of power.

In America there is an imbalance of power in the meat industry. Small scale farmers are marginalized due to agricultural pressures to yield high quantity (not quality) at minimum costs. In the world there is an imbalance in the allocation of wealth, and one of the many countries that suffer interminably because of this is Sudan. Here farmers lack sufficient resources and access to agricultural education. Imbalances of power in the farming industry are local and global. So that’s why we started the Eat Local, Give Global campaign.

What was it about?

The goal was two-fold: to raise awareness of America’s overlooked local farming industry, whilst raising funds to provide tools and agricultural education for women farmers in Sudan. To do this we partnered with the brilliant and munificent Bill the Butcher, a Seattle-based chain of neighborhood butcher shops that supports sustainable farming practices by selling grass fed, natural meats from local farmers and ranchers. The funds were raised in three ways:

1) You could donate online through Jolkona via the campaign page

2) Customers could donate in any one of the six shops around Seattle

3) Bill the Butcher generously donated 10% of its sales on Thursdays and Fridays to the campaign

To throw in a bit of competition, we devised the Great Meat Race. This was a competition to see which of the six shops could raise the most of amount of money via customer and online donations.

What was the impact?

Some – but not all – of the results are in. We do not yet know the winner of the Great Meat Race, neither do we know the final amount raised including the 10% donation from Bill the Butcher’s Thursdays and Fridays sales. However, we do have the results from the donations made online and in the shops by you the donors. Remember: $30 covers the cost for one Sudanese woman to attend 2 days of farming classes, providing her with essential knowledge and tools which she can share with her entire village.

Through donations made online and in the shops, over $1170 was raised, providing training for 39 women.

Returning, then, to complete my jargon-busting: the crux of empowerment is not exercising power on someone’s behalf; rather, it is the placing of power into their own hands. And in this campaign the power was education and tools, both of which the women farmers in Sudan can utilize to change their own lives, that of their families, and that of their entire community. This is empowerment. Sincerest thanks to all who donated.

Stay tuned to find out which shop wins the Great Meat Race, and also for the final total raised and impact made….

And don’t forget: you are what you meat.





One of the things we’re encouraged to do here at Jolkona is to find projects that resonate with us personally. Jolkona has some 120 projects, so that’s not so hard a thing to do. And the idea is to really invest ourselves in those favorite projects: to learn about them, to draw attention to them, to love them. Our motto – Your choice. Your world. Your impact. – is not just an alluring marketing slogan; it’s an attitude, creed, and work ethic that is congruent with our very own grassroots. And the 12 Days of Giving Campaign epitomizes that spirit. (To understand more about those grassroots, watch this excellent talk given by our CEO, Adnan Mahmud, at last year’s TEDXRainier conference.)

What was the campaign about?

The 12 Days of Giving Campaign saw all of us at Jolkona split into 12 teams. Each team picked a project they wanted to support and set a target for how much they wanted to raise. To promote the project, every team made a video regarding what the project was about and why they were supporting it. Then each on each of the 12 days leading up to December 25th one project was revealed on our campaign page. The goal was to raise as much support as we could to achieve the targets each team set for themselves. Take a look at the creative videos promoting the projects at our campaign page.

What was the impact?

The figures are in. The efforts were sterling. Here is the impact:

6 months of psychological care for 12 orphaned children in Bolivia. Project partner: Friends of Orphans.

12 children in India medicated against life threatening diarrhea. Project partner: Calcutta Kids.

1 month of education for 22 disabled children in Nepal. Project partner: The Rose International Fund for Children.

1 month’s literacy education for 9 children in India. Project partner: India Rural Development Fund.

28 children received night classes in the tsunami-ravaged Prefecture of Migayi in Japan. Project partner: iLeap/Katariba.

7 publications in the Snowland Tibetan Women’s Journal. Project partner: Machik.

8 full lunches for Peruvian weavers and their families. Project partner: Awamaki.

2 semesters of text-books, midday meals, and uniform for a child in India. Project partner: Inida Rural Development Fund.

$489 in working capital for aspiring entrepreneurs in India. Project partner: Upaya.

7 Notebooks for youth classes at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. Project partner: Pacific Science Center.

6 months of schooling and medical costs for 2 children in Bangladesh. Project partner: Distressed Children & Infants International.

3 months of peer tutoring for a child in the U.S. Project partner: Soccer in the Streets.

The lives of many have been touched; the lives of real people with real needs. Thank you to everyone who participated and donated their time, money, and energy.

The 2011 holiday season, then, was truly a season for giving the gift of impact. Quarter 4 was our best quarter yet at Jolkona, sending $70k to our partners.  And here’s the challenge: that our giving not be something purely seasonal, because the ability to choose is not seasonal; it’s perennial. It’s your choice, your world, your impact.

Make a choice here.


What makes a company stand out and truly sparkle among the sea of eager entrepreneurs ready to stand in the spotlight? Is there a language to a successful business? When your mission is to provide a non-profit example of humanitarian work, how do you gain enough recognition and generate enough buzz to truly be heard?

TRAY Creative is one such agency that develops a strong identity and unique marketing for any business, but especially for those who may lack an available resource due to low funding.

I had a chance to talk with Ralph Allora, TRAY Creative’s Principal/Marketing Director on their most recent campaign that ended before the new year. We provided them with the giving platform to make this event happen successfully. Get to know Ralph, TRAY Creative, and the challenge below:

What is the inspiration behind TRAY Creative’s Holiday Giving Challenge?
TRAY Creative is a big supporter of Jolkona, and we had been talking for some time about partnering on a corporate giving campaign. So we hit upon the idea of doing a Holiday Giving Challenge in December–a limited-time competition to raise money for a handful of selected nonprofits.
TRAY designed the online giving page and developed content for the social media and PR components of the campaign. Jolkona did the development work and hosted the page. We paid a licensing fee to cover development and hosting to ensure that the participating organizations received 100% of their pledged donations.
We approached four nonprofits based in Seattle to participate in the program, and they all agreed. We knew there had to be an incentive to get donors excited about the competition, so we added a reward: the organization that raised the most money would receive $2,500 in pro bono marketing and creative services from TRAY in 2012.

How was the response?
We were thrilled with the response. In just 26 days, we were able to raise almost $7,000 for the four nonprofits. Because these are locally focused organizations, that’s a meaningful number.

What is your personal experience with each non-profit organization featured in the campaign?
We picked these four organizations specifically because they represent causes we care about. People for Puget Sound represented the environment, the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation represented animal protection, FareStart represented economic empowerment, and the University of Washington Dream project represented education. For any business thinking about running a campaign like this, our advice would be to partner with organizations that align with your company’s core values. It’s critical to the success of the program.

What do you believe is the greatest public impact from this campaign?
Especially around the holidays, people are inundated with appeals from different nonprofits. There are so many choices, so many opportunities to give, so it’s important to create incentives, which we feel we did successfully. First, by offering a prize of pro bono assistance for the winning organization, we were able to keep donors motivated and show them that their dollars could go further. Second, because it was a competition the participating groups–TRAY and the nonprofits–actively used Facebook, Twitter, and e-marketing to rally their audiences throughout the campaign. We added a pie chart on the giving page, which updated the results in real time and kept it exciting down to the final days, when People for Puget Sound surged ahead and won the competition.

Looking forward to another campaign? Have anything in the works?
Yes, we’re hoping to make this an annual holiday tradition, and raise even more money this year. And we’re already talking to Jolkona about creating a giving-platform template that can be branded and customized so that other businesses can run this kind of cause-marketing campaign in a simple, cost-effective way. For any small or midsize company that’s looked at a miltimillion-dollar initiative and wondered how they can pull off their own small-scale version, we think this could be a great solution.

What does philanthropy mean to you?
Speaking from a business standpoint, philanthropy is about more than cutting a check for a nonprofit and calling it a day. It’s about giving back and expressing your company’s core values on multiple levels, whether that’s encouraging employee volunteerism, doing pro bono work, or getting employees, customers and vendors actively involved in a campaign like TRAY Holiday Giving Challenge. When you’re willing to put your company’s brainpower, time and resources to wrok on behalf of a cause you believe in, that’s true philanthropy.

6,768 dollars were raised during this challenge, and the winner was People for Puget Sound with a total of 2,880 dollars raised. Great job!
Click here to learn more about TRAY Creative, or follow their tweets.

“OK Gabriel,” I say to myself, “Don’t make a fool of yourself now. Just take it easy, alright?” I’m waiting to interview Bill the Butcher CEO, J’Amy Owens. For some reason – or perhaps good reason – I’m as nervous as hell. She is, after all, one of the most successful business women in the whole of America. We’re sitting in the apartment below hers on Queen Anne Hill, waiting to go up. Things are running a little behind schedule; she’s taking a conference call. Of course she is -  she’s a CEO. We pass the time talking meat and quality cows, but really I’m worried about how much of a bumbling buffoon I’ll end up being.

It’s time.

“OK, mate, just pretend she’s any other person.”

We enter a gorgeous apartment and I shuffle through to the living room like a nervous school kid. Down the stairs comes J’Amy. She greets us with great charm and aplomb. I think I hold it together for about 12 seconds, and then the Brit in me escapes: I’m thanking her effusively for her kindness, for taking the time to see us, for anything I can think of. If I could apologize for something, I probably would. She offers us a glass of water. Foolishly I decline (my throat will be as parched as the Moroccan desert by the time we’re finished).  Again, that’s the Brit in me; I’m quite certain it would be rude to accept, or that it would cause her far too much trouble.

We sit down to begin. All the other interviews I previously did for this series lasted a few minutes, tops. This lasts twenty five. As an interviewee, J’Amy is incredibly engaged – and engaging. I quickly realize she is in no way just trying to get this over with. Indeed, her answers are full, expansive, and remarkably illuminating. I admit it, I’m quite spellbound. OK so she’s been in marketing and retail all her life, but it’s more than just a way with words; it’s a conviction. I learn this early on when she talks of her childhood on her family’s farm in North Dakota. She grew up surrounded by livestock. We start off with a few light-hearted get-to-know-you questions, but, as you’ll see, by the time we get to hobbies, things get serious. And this is a serious matter. It’s the future of our food system.

J’Amy what’s the first thing you do when your alarm goes off in the morning?
Ugh, I curse. I tend to stay up very late. I like to work long into the night. The alarm goes off usually because New York starts to call. They can’t help themselves.

And how do you take your coffee?
Always made in a French Press, Starbucks extra bold French Roast. I make it black as tar. I put a little organic half and half in, and then I fundamentally try and get my whole body into the cup!

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Black because I like to make one mark and I like it to be indelible; I like everyone to see it. And I like it to make the difference, and I like it to be the outline.

Summer or Winter?
Depends on where I am. If there’s only one season to choose, though, it has to be summer because I’m the original Barefoot Contessa.

Do you have any major hobbies?
I’m obsessed with figuring out how to take the pain I can see in life and create antidotes for it in business. And it’s my driving passion and need. Right now, I see a real pain in the small farmers and ranchers that have been excluded from working in big agribusiness, and I’ve watched them make less and less money each year. I’ve watched it my whole life, and it’s wrong. We need those farmers; we need them as stewards to the land. Without them doing that and raising animals for us locally, we’re toast as humans.

What’s your personal story in becoming involved with Bill the Butcher?
I’ve worked retail for about 30 years. I’ve developed 400 retail businesses in America, they’re in about 20,000 locations now. I was in the coffee business for a very long time. And when I heard the term “grass fed beef” in 2006, I knew in my knower that it was going to be like coffee – that meat would have a renaissance and revolution which would make it grow up and be as complex and as compelling as coffee. Because remember, in 1989 coffee was Fulgers in a can in a grocery store. And now it’s an $80 billion industry. So having had that as being a big part of my own journey, I knew when I heard this term that it was going to happen for me. And I thought, “I bet I could influence that.” So in 2006 I wrote the business plan for Bill the Butcher, and have endeavored to make it go ever since.

How does this compare to your previous work experience?
It’s quite similar in that both coffee and meat are commodities – they’re consumables; people use them every day. People buy them every day. People buy different qualities and quantities every day. And what we’re doing with meat is a lot like what happened to coffee. There was a new language of coffee introduced to consumers. What’s a latte? What’s a cappuccino? What type of bean is it? Where do they come from? How are they roasted? It turns out the same is true for meat: do you want a Shorthorn Brahman raised in open range in Nevada that was finished on clover or legumes? That is a different kind of flavor profile than a Belted Galloway that comes from the Prairie grasslands in central Illinois. And once you experience them side by each, and you can tell the difference, you will have a preference. And that preference will drive your behavior. But us American consumers have been Angus-ed to death by the grocery store. And we’re made to think that all meat is equal, or that it’s Prime, Choice, or Select, which really means nothing.

Could you tell us about how Bill the Butcher has simultaneously built “the world’s shortest supply chain” and a created new market place for meat?
We go the shortest distance to get enough meat to sell. So if we can get it from Washington, we do. If we have to get it from Montana, Idaho, OK. But why put a cow on a box cart and send it from Whatcom County to a feed lot and then have it slaughtered somewhere else, to then have it come back on a truck in a box? It adds layers of cost and carbon footprint. So our idea is creating the world’s shortest supply chain by knitting together small farms and ranchers that really cannot sell to grocery stores, because they’re too small. The big conglomerates don’t give them the time of day. Our market place, then, is above the farmer’s market and below the grocery stores. So we’ve created a new supply and we’ve created a new market at the same time. And I think that’s what people will talk about when they write about this business. Yes, we brought back the neighborhood butcher shop, and isn’t that groovy and cool. But behind that, the thing that really makes it work, is the distribution and the idea of how to coalesce a new supply chain.

What are your thoughts on Jolkona’s Eat Local, Give Global campaign and its partnership with the Bill the Butcher stores?
Well I’m horrified, as I’m sure we all are, by what I watch and read on the news. There is an inequality in how food is distributed around the planet, as well as an inequality in where food is grown. And you’re addressing that in places where there is perhaps the most need, and I truly have such respect for you. We’re doing this on a local scale; you’re doing it on a global scale. In many ways, though, our philosophies are a dead match.

Local food, sustainable farming, grass fed beef: these have been dubbed as “megatrends.” Are these indeed just megatrends, or is there more to it than that this, is there more meat on the bone, as it were?
Well I’ll say this: it’s much better to be a trend than a fad. The truth is that when 46 million people are doing it at once, it’s a megatrend. You see the organic food market has grown 100% in volume year after year for the past 20 years. And it is the only food sector in the business that is growing. The rest of them are flat. So that’s a big indication that more people are leaning in this direction. And listen, the barometer is Walmart: when Walmart was forced to put in an organic food section, that said to me, “OK, we’re really at the tipping point here.” Because they serve a customer base that is considered low income, but the demand for organic milk was unprecedented; they couldn’t stem the tide. Of course, our desire is for these trends to become normality, but all things that become “standard” start out as the “irreverent upstart.”

OK, so if you were a cut of meat, which would you be?
Depends from which animal! I think I would be the hanging tender on a cow. It is a very rare piece of meat and it connects all the other important pieces of meat on the animal.

If I gave you a herd of cattle, where would you hide it?
I’d hide it in plain sight on our family’s farm in North Dakota.

3 words to describe natural grass fed beef:
Vital. Delicious. Required.

The Eat Local, Give Global campaign is all about raising money to empower and educate women farmers in Sudan with sustainable farming techniques. We’re running the campaign in partnership with Bill the Butcher and its six shops in and around Seattle. Donate online, or go directly to your local shop, meet the friendly butchers themselves, and donate there.

Check out Laura Kimball’s launch post, or go the campaign page for more details.


A few Thursdays back was the Jolkona Foundation’s holiday party held at one of our wonderful boardmember’s home. It was great to catch up with the other volunteers, but I was most captivated by all the vitality and energy in the room. Everyone there was excited to be part of Jolkona and its numerous accomplishments over the past year. Many of these achievements can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of young people wanting to make a difference.

As a member of the NextGen team, which focuses on engaging youth under 25 in philanthropy, I love seeing the energy and commitment that young people bring to giving. The holidays especially inspire people to make the world a better place. I know that I always feel more motivated during this time of year to donate my time and resources towards those less fortunate. This season is all about feeling thankful for what you have and recognizing that others may not be so fortunate.

During this holiday season, I will use my small change to bring awareness to a cause I feel passionate about: the NextGen team is excited to help prepare kids in the United States to become employable adults as part of Jolkona’s 12 Days of Giving campaign! This organization has helped thousands of children from all over the US learn the life skills necessary to have professional careers and become more civic-minded through the medium of soccer. I am excited to support a non-profit that inspires the next generation of youth philanthropists. These kids want to make a difference, and with everyone’s support, we can help them reach their goals!

Make a difference here.





Earlier in the series, we featured Tim McMullen: Bill the Butcher’s Director of Operations. When we met with him at the commissary, Michael LaRoche sat to his left. Being Director of Purchasing, he is a hard-working man with an easygoing vibe. You pick up on it after talking with him for awhile. He takes his coffee black and unlimited, dabbles in music playing, sketching, reading literature, and cooks – of course he would! He is originally from Boston, and has adventured across the earth’s oceans to Amsterdam. Michael gave us plenty to laugh about during his interview. Check out what he has to say on life, giving, sustainability, and meat:

What are your thoughts on Jolkona’s Eat Local, Give Global campaign and its partnership with the Bill the Butcher shops?
It’s a very worthwhile endeavor. It’s getting people to be part of a growing community that wants to close in their food sources, to get to know it better, and to expand that to people in such challenged regions as Sudan. It gives them help in getting their food chain up and growing. The way we have it set up here, you see, is that big chains come in and control your food supply when it could be done locally.

Jolkona is a nonprofit which is centered around simplicity and visibility. How do you think Bill the Butcher fits in with such principles?
We’re certainly trying to be very visible. Simple – well, we are actually quite a complex system, while our idea is simple.

Local food, sustainable farming, grass fed beef: these have been dubbed as “megatrends.” Are these indeed just megatrends, or is there more to it than that this, is there more meat on the bone, as it were?
Corn-fed beef was the megatrend for the last 40 years. Before that it was grass-fed beef – as it was for 400 years. Or are we just back to what it used to be?

I read that Bill the Butcher shops are the “new marketplace” between farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Could you explain more about this?
Farmers used to have two options: sell their meat to the big conglomerates at a vast loss, or go sell that meat at the farmer’s markets. The first offers very little profit; the second is very time consuming. So we buy directly from the farmers at a fair price and sell it straight out of our shop.

With Bill the Butcher you’ve built “the world’s shortest supply chain.” Could explain more about this for our readers?
So for instance, take the Nelson family, I talk to Mr Nelson, and I say we need x amount of cattle and they have they x amount ready, that’s slaughtered on their farm by a mobile processor, and then we take the whole animal and sell it to you. Minimal middlemen. So now it doesn’t have to travel half way up the country to be slaughtered in one place, and then shipped – goodness knows where – to be sold  in another place.

Bill the Butcher has a very broad consumer appeal, why do you think this is?
People are starting to realize they have no idea where their food comes from. Eating is what you do three or four times a day. People want to start learning where it comes from and not that it just came from the frozen food section in the supermarket.

Which cut of meat do you think people should know more about?
Beef cheeks.

If you were a cut of meat, which would you be?
A round because I’m kind of an ass.

Empower women farmers in Sudan with farming education and sustainability efforts. Join our Eat Local, Give Global campaign! Bill the Butcher and Jolkona are the dream team making headway on this exciting project. Access the donation page online or stop at any of the shops to learn more and hold your own “interview” with the butchers!
Check out Laura Kimball’s launch post, or go the campaign page for more details.


Image credit: Flickr

Did December sneak up on you, too? We couldn’t be more excited that it has– it’s a time for hot cocoa, good company, holiday parties and (best of all) giving selflessly. The mood shifts. We’re suddenly connecting with the people we pass on the street, exchanging a smile or a gentle “hello.” I remember holiday shopping as a child, looking to my Mom for a dollar or two to drop in the Salvation Army bucket. Even today, hearing those bells ring, raises a certain sense of comfort in my heart. It’s no wonder, then, that 67% of us get excited for this time of year, and 77% of us are choosing to contribute to nonprofits. Personally, I feel fortunate to be able to combine the two. Will you?
12 Days of Giving starts today! It’s a daily dose of philanthropy for the holidays: 12 different Jolkona teams have dedicated themselves to sharing the love and raising awareness on a certain campaign that speaks to them. We give each team their spotlight for a day, and offer you a chance to make a difference by donating. It’s like our humanitarian holiday wish list and an amazing opportunity to transform someone’s life– someone you may pass by on the street some day.

We all have a dream, a message, or a truth to share with the world. I wish to inspire you to challenge the statistics of holiday spending: $44 million dollars are spent during the holiday season in America– PER HOUR. What percentage of that would you like to see spent bringing a smile to someone or positively impacting a community without the comfortable privileges we enjoy? There are 12 days, 12 campaigns, 12 teams who are sharing their stories with Jolkona. Our goals can be met with your help and support. Get to know each team and the projects that they are passionate about. If one resonates with you, donate! If it doesn’t, share it with someone who may. Drop by drop, your generous contribution– amount is up to you– will create the ripple effect for sustainable, revolutionary change.

Our first team is unwrapping a very special project. Help orphaned or vulnerable Bolivian children by providing them with psychologists and support their psychological growth. Their goal? 72 months of care for these kids. Check out their video below, and get more information about the project here:

Join us.

Stay connected on Facebook, follow our tweets (#12daysgive), or check the blog to unwrap the 12 gifts we are sharing with you over the next 12 days.
The impact you can make is limitless. Here are four ways you can personally generate change and inspire others:

Start a campaign
Donate to one of the 12 Days of Giving campaigns
Give a Jolkona gift card
Your business and Jolkona

Part 4 of our Bill the Butcher interview series

Within the outskirts of downtown Seattle stands a modestly sized building. Just looking from the outside, you would never guess that one of Seattle’s most important local businesses operates there. We ventured into SoDo to shake hands with the brains behind the cattle, Tim McMullen. He appears as a soft-spoken, introspective man from Colombus, Ohio and loves reaching new heights when he rock climbs, or kayaks. Like many of us, he would prefer to hit “snooze” before pouring his coffee plain and black in the morning. He spends his time at Bill the Butcher juggling all types of victories, obstacles, and creative new ventures, while keeping the well-oiled machine turning. Here’s a glimpse into Tim’s psyche:

What are your thoughts on the Eat Local, Give Global campaign?

I think it’s an awesome partnership. It’s giving back to communities, education… helping a country that’s had such a terrible time in the past couple years, and helping them build a sustainable economy. It’s our motto.

I think eating local started as a trend. As the consumer learns about what they’re eating, how much healthier it is for them, and how much better it tastes the trend will become a norm. They will continue to buy what they like and what’s good for them.

What lead you to becoming a butcher?

I had a business back home; produce company, and a whole sale farm-direct produce in Charlotte, NC. I approached Bill the Butcher about joining them, and I was amazed with what they had done and their mission. The skillset was perfect for coming out here to Seattle. I was a big advocate of getting money to the farms and I would buy directly from the farmer and sell straight to the consumer, which gave the farmers more money.
We try to educate our consumers on what we’re about– educating people on eating the entire animal instead of what’s popular.

What’s the best thing about being a butcher?

Previously, consumers could only get our products at farmers markets. Most grocery outlets do not offer the quality of products that we have. So I guess the best part is being the Middle man in that aspect.

You’re quoted as being “the world’s shortest supply chain.” Could you explain more about this for our readers?

We buy directly from the farmer, and send directly to our shop for retail sale. We advertise for those farms, letting the consumer know where it comes from.

3 words to describe natural grass fed beef?

Healthy, delicious, appealing.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Red. I always run hot.

If I gave you a herd of cattle, where would you hide it?

I have no place to hide a herd of cattle. Maybe the parking garage in my building.

If you were a cut of meat, which would you be?

Sirloin tip.

Empower women farmers in Sudan with farming education, and sustainability efforts. Join our Eat Local, Give Global campaign! Bill the Butcher and Jolkona are the dream team making headway on this exciting project. Access the donation page online or stop at any of the shops to learn more and hold your own “interview” with the butchers!
Check out Laura Kimball’s launch post, or go the campaign page for more details.

Part 1 of our Bill the Butcher interview series

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Jon now lives in Columbia City here in Seattle. After being laid off from a cushy desk job, Jon turned his back on the sedentary life style altogether and decided to take up something entirely different: butchery. Now you can find him in the Bill the Butcher shop in Madison (next door to a vegetarian restaurant of all places!), where he’s busy serving his customers top quality, sustainable, affordable meat. Ask him what the best thing about being a butcher is, and he’ll tell you straight and simple: the meat. And in a shop like Bill the Butcher, that makes a lot of sense. Jon is a deft wielder of butchering utensils, he has a sharp (!) sense of humor, would take winter over summer, and likes his coffee black. Here’s a short excerpt of our interview:

What are your thoughts on the Eat Local, Give Global campaign?
I think it’s great. It would be valuable to do it in this country, too, to educate farmers and consumers about sustainable farming. Of course there is great need in parts of the world like Sudan. So yeah, it’s certainly a worthwhile cause.

How do you see your role in sustainable farming?
Well, it’s pretty important. We’re the the middlemen between the farmers and the consumers. Obviously without us, farmers would have a harder time getting their product out there, and the same goes for the consumers being able to buy it. So we’re a good outlet, I suppose. It’s all a part of the sustainable farming cycle.

How does it work out being next door to a vegetarian restaurant?
It actually works out pretty well. They get busy on the weekend and we have a lot of people from over there waiting for their tables that come around here and take a look. And a lot of the times they actually come back and order something.

Why is your shop better than the other Bill the Butcher shops in Seattle?
Because I work here!

Which Bill the Butcher shop is going to come in last in the Great Meat Race?
Can there be a five-way tie for last? – because that’s what it’s going to be.

If you were a cut of meat, which would you be?
Brisket – it’s tough and fatty.

Are you or have you ever been a vegetarian?
No. No. How dare you?

If you were a cow, which kind would you be?
Hopefully the kind that doesn’t get eaten.

Do you have any good party tricks?
None that I can show you.

And 3 words to describe natural grass fed beef:
Delicious. Healthy. And…. can I use delicious again?!

The Eat Local, Give Global campaign is all about raising money to help implement sustainable farming techniques for women farmers in Sudan through supporting sustainable farming here in the U.S. We’re running the campaign in partnership with Bill the Butcher and its six shops in and around Seattle. Donate online, or go directly to your local shop, meet the friendly butchers themselves, and donate there.

Check out Laura Kimball’s launch post, or go the campaign page for more details.

Remember: each store is in competition with the others to raise the most money. This is called the Great Meat Race. If you want the Madison shop to win, donate to the campaign here and join its community.



Bill the Butcher Laurelhurst shop

We’re thrilled to announce Eat Local, Give Global, our first campaign with Bill the Butcher, a Seattle-based chain of neighborhood butcher shops that sell grass fed, and natural meats. The company works directly with local ranchers and farmers, who follow sustainable and organic practices, to deliver the highest quality meat that is healthiest for consumers while being good for the environment.

Bill the Butcher believes in supporting sustainable farming practices and working with local farmers and ranchers who raise beef, pork and poultry without hormones, steroids and genetically modified feed.

To celebrate this commitment to supporting local, sustainable, farmers and food, they are launching a campaign to bring this belief to another part of the world. Starting today, Bill the Butcher is launching Eat Local, Give Global, a fundraising campaign on Jolkona to support women farmers in Sudan.

The Great Meat Race

Bill the Butcher is raising money for this campaign in a number of ways:

  1. Bill the Butcher will be donating 10% of sales from every shop on Thursday and Friday from this week through the end of 2011.
  2. Customers can also donate (learn how below).

And what’s a giving campaign without a little competition?

All six Bill the Butcher locations will be competing to raise the most money for this campaign and to get the most number of donors. So get giving!

How to contribute to the campaign

Help your local butcher shop win The Great Meat Race by donating to the campaign:

  1. Donate at the shop — Customers can add $1, $5, or $10 to any purchase they make in any of the Bill the Butcher shops.
  2. Donate online — If you can’t make it to your local Bill the Butcher shop, you can support this campaign by donating directly to the campaign itself.

After you make your donation online, you’ll see 6 icons for each Bill the Butcher location. While still logged into your Jolkona account, choose your location and join that shop’s giving community. Once you join the shop, this is how we’ll help track which shop is leading in the Great Meat Race! Easy!

Let the Great Meat Race begin!

We’re very excited to partner with Bill the Butcher on our first campaign with a retail-based corporate partner. Last week we traveled to all of the stores to interview the head butchers for our “Meat the Butcher” blog series that’s starting this week. It was wonderful to meet their team, see their shops, and learn how Bill the Butcher is dedicated to supporting the growth and economic vitality of small local farmers and ranchers by changing how we get our meat from the farm to our dinner tables.

Not to mention their meat is delicious and can’t be beat!

You can support the Eat Local, Give Global campaign, follow our progress, and our total impact on the campaign page as well as on Facebook (by Liking Jolkona and Bill the Butcher) and on Twitter (@Jolkona, @theonlymeat, #BtBEatLocal).

Let’s give!