Oops, my life choices! Living in the time of Covid-19

A few days ago I sent this tweet inspiring a full post because this is an issue I’m going to need to put some brainspace toward and why not do that in public…

34EF2E2C-620C-471A-9186-224BE3697FFB_1_105_c.jpeg

I architected my life with a clear thesis. Minimal, small, urban, walkable, alt transportation and public amenities. It was something my wife and I talked about at length a number of times especially after having a kid.  How can something so small immediately consume 50x it’s own space in essential supplies before you blink?  Well, it’s real and needs to be dealt with.

That conversation was 4, then 3, then 2 years ago and we doubled down, strategically downsizing and keeping the accumulation of stuff at a required minimum.  We grew into this life at a great time in the city of Boston.  The playgrounds continue to get upgraded, each summer they open at least 2 new beer gardens within walking distance, the Rose Kennedy Greenway has multiple water features(and a Trillium Beer Garden).  There were even 2 skating rinks(Fenway & Seaport) this winter.  It all culminated in late February when we met some friends at Fenway for family ice skating, lunch at the Time Outmarket.  It included live music with room for the kids to dance and the parents to chat.  Since Ellery wasn’t exhausted but close, she even allowed us to grab a beer at the the Trillium Tap Room on site!  The day was just about perfect and we were home in 5 minutes.

That day there was a of lot talk about this virus and what that might mean for work, school and health but I had no idea that my life thesis was about to be blown to bits right in my face.   Truth be told, I didn’t even realize it until ~5 weeks into quarantine because I’m an external optimist and always look for the unintended silver lining(proof here). My positive predisposition held as a distraction for only so long. There are a million more important, horrific things happening and sometimes getting through each day felt like a victory but even that didn’t soften my resolve.

Then the walls started closing in and the reality of my defunct life strategy settled in, threatening to cause an existential crisis. At the core of this life is the focus on minimal personal space for living and maximized shared communal and active space outside the home. Until a few weeks ago, the plan was in perfect harmony and the family(wife & daughter) did little more than sleep and bath in our apartment. 

We’re living through a once in a generation event that is going to alter, shake and shatter almost all our assumptions about how we can, should and want to live life. This is going to require a complete reimaging of the truths upon which I’ve built my life, define happiness, success and the values that define some core decisions.  I feel like this type of thing doesn’t happen often in one’s life and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The good news, I don’t have anything to do except think about it. Nothing but time on the horizon, calendar is wide open…

The bad news, I don’t have anything to do except think about it. Nothing but time on the horizon, calendar is wide open…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Car Free, carfreebrad.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unintended Consequence…I love my daughter!

Before you get all bent out of shape here, let me say, I’ve loved my daughter since the second she was born.

Still that’s a strange statement to make, I know. But hear me out. You see, the last 18 months my daughter, wife and I have been fighting our baby girls diagnosis with OMS(opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome) a rare and scary condition. That’s a story and post unto itself that you can dive into if you want here. Beyond the mind melting experience of watching your happy baby girl rapidly lose her ability to walk, talk and use her hands. That was just the start and obviously landed us in the hospital. From there the battle began. First, to get the right diagnosis. Then, to get the right treatment. Next, get her medication and therapies right. Next, get her into the right school program. Finally, to get my wife and I back to work and figure out what normal means for our lil family now.

During all that, I loved the hell out of her but for me it was that “I just want you to be ok” kind of love that’s so intense you almost have to distract yourself from it so you don’t exhaust your very soul.

Due to her condition and compromised immune system, we went hard at Coronavirus precautions, practicing extreme isolation and social distancing. If we can put aside the tragic fact that thousands of people are sick and many thousands will die before things get better, I find myself thankful for the time it’s given me with my daughter.

image

Just a couple of pals doing some cooking.

I’ve found myself spending the kind of time with her that I always imagined a good dad would but I always struggled to find before. At first it was weird, awkward and exhausting for me to just be with her in whatever capacity that required. I had become so accustomed to engaging with her for the regular routines(ready for school, diner, bedtime, doctors, more doctors, another doctor) that by the time I’d find myself alone with her to play or fill some time, I’d have nothing there. My mind would be at work or just exhausted from the week and she would get whatever I could muster.

The point of this story is that this time has forced us to just be with each other and connect as people beyond just father-daughter but as playmates, classmates and friends. In this, I’ve discovered that I not only love her(unconditionally) as a father but I love her as the small independent human she has became. Everyday, I get to know that little human more and not only do I enjoy our time together, I love it and love her!

While this forced quarantine is a terrible tragedy it’s given me the gift of time at a point in my daughter’s life that I would have otherwise missed, I could never get back and I’ve fallen in love with her on a whole new level!

 

Posted in carfreebrad.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to Clean Tech….

In 2010 I wrote a research paper to determine the greenhouse gas emission impact of a network of connected farms on urban rooftops and my interest was awakened.

2011 I was feverishly researching the tech, products and systems for commercial plant production while growing my own food and learning all that I could about greenhouse production. Meanwhile I was pursuing my degrees(MBA Sustainability & MS Environmental Science) and building a resume for my career in clean energy.

2012 I watched as clean tech made it clear that the industry frenzy had unearthed great tech, awesome innovations, brilliant entrepreneurs and game changing systems. There was a but…

At this same time I got that “all in feeling” on Agtech specifically CEA(growing indoors with led lights). I was a guy with a great technical idea, in a very important market, in search of a how to turn my hypothetical research into sustainable impact. Aka, how can this idea help people, the planet and make money? This meant a lot of things going right over a long period of time and investing myself in things that weren’t obvious but I believed would become truth someday. The easiest part for me was the tech stack and how the evolution of LEDs, sensors, automation and computing power would change how everyone thinks about agriculture. The hardest element to build personal conviction around, prove out and bet my future on was the business model to best create and provide value to a future customer. As luck would have it, business models are readily available. I found a lot I liked, built complex plans, simple plans and hybrid plans until I got profoundly excited by one. The concept of offering the power of a network of connected farms to remove the barriers to entry for various organizations and to allow more people than ever to experience fresh local produce and empower a distributed supply hit me like a ton of bricks. So I committed myself to this path…….until reality set in.

In order to execute this business, we had to had to invent it. There was no agtech industry, full indoor production was barely understood and no one had a clue how(or why) to standardize a farm module. It was painfully clear that the tech we needed for farming as a service didn’t exist and no one else was building it so we started from zero.

Freight-Farms-Community-13 (1)

2012–2015 was phase one of the our required plan. Build a profitable fully enclosed farm module that anyone could operate. Today known as THE LEAFY GREEN MACHINE running on our software suite, called farmhand that created a new category and Freight Farms the de facto leader.

2016–2018 was phase two of the journey wear the rubber truly met the road as we deployed hundreds of Leafy Green Machines, trained hundreds of new farmers around the globe and processed billions of data points as we iterated on the development of the hardware, software and services. I can honestly say this was the most intense learning period of my life both personally and professionally.

It’s now 2020 and the platform has helped various businesses to grow local produce and create direct connections between farmers and eaters in 45 states and 25 countries. The network of growers, businesses, corporations and community change makers has allowed Freight Farms to make a quantum leap in our technology and unlock the most exciting potential that I imagined years ago as an idealistic grad student.

With our latest hardware platform, The Greenery and new farmhand software suite, we have the technology piece of the puzzle that allows Freight Farms to realize a dream I had in 2011 and unlock the true potential of local food for all.

1. Freight+Farms_Greenery_Crane

The last 10 years would not be possible without the visionary customers,partners and industry colleagues who have always believed in being a part of the solution, took chances with us and provided feedback every step of the way.

It would be an understatement to say that none this would be possible without the passionate, selfless and brilliant Freight Farms past, present and future. This work is not always easy or fun and requires an intrinsic drive that often manifests itself as what some politely refer to as “quirky”. We’ve managed to embrace these “quirks” to form a beautifully weird tribe in which everyone brings their own flavor along with crazy skills to drive the company forward everyday. This collection of personalities, brains and ideas is likely our greatest accomplishment.

It’s funny, I started this post as a reflection on how I went from operations at NECEC with hopes to be part of the AEE nationally but ended up as the CEO & Co-Founder of Freight Farms. It turns out there’s a lot more to it than a quick blogpost can cover and more exciting developments to elaborate on….stay tuned!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If a tree falls in the forest…..

You know how the rest goes but the real question becomes.
If I don’t post often to carfreebrad, does it really exist?

Thanks to the internet, the answer is yes.  With that in mind I wanted to put this post up to welcome any newcomers to the site.  I write here very seldom these days for a number of reasons(Freight Farms, 3 year old, etc) and this blog serves as a historical record of my journey for a proud car owning daily driver to a bike first, shared economy commuter.

I do my best to update in the coming months but no promises on that.

If you’re new to this site.  Thanks for stopping by!  Please click around and explore my journey.  I promise the further you dig the more interesting and occasionally funny the posts are.

Posted in Bike commute, Car Free, carfreebrad, Uncategorized, Urban Bike | 1 Comment

Mobile Only Experiment part 2

Years ago in an attempt to take the perceived pressure off of proof reeding my posts here, I decided to abandon my formal writing process. The big change was to only write posts on my phone and focus on the content of what I wanted to write not bother with or get caught up in formatting, pictures or spellchecking.

My non Freight Farms bursts of productivity are few and far between these days and in a duration that’s usually less than 10 mins. This fact leads me to believe that I should “go mobile” again to embrace the sporadic/random nature of my inspiration to write here.

With that…….HERE IT GOES! Only crappy unedited 3/4 baked thoughts coming at you here for the rest of 2017.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rain Prep- SOMETHINGS HAVEN’T CHANGED(MUCH)

It’s been almost 8 years since I was a broke as hell grad student living in a new city who wanted to learn what it’s like to live life “Bike First”.

I’ve learned SO much over the years but have yet to master rain prep so this video seemed like an appropriate re-post given that the only things that’s changed are the city, the bike, the commute….okay everything except the rain.

Source: LAZY REPOST ALERT- SOMETHINGS HAVEN’T CHANGED(MUCH)

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, Uncategorized | Tagged

You’re Gonna’ Wanna’ See This!!!

To put it simply, WATCH & LEARN….why I haven’t been blogging like I’d like to.  Prioritizing changing food forever.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment