Thursday, October 14, 2010
First-ever carrotmob in Texas descended on Deep Ellum’s LaGrange
But did attendance reach mob status? We wish it did.
DEEP ELLUM Wednesday night, a group of green consumers, art lovers, regulars, and press descended upon LaGrange in Deep Ellum. Some came for the snow cones or to hear the five bands that were taking stage that night. Tajana Mesic and Jonathan Feinstein were there to make history.
Mesic and Feinstein are two young professionals on a mission: Revitalize the Dallas area while building a sustainable future through green improvements. Both of them came upon the idea of Carrotmob separately but quickly realized that by joining forces, their two communities could immediately make an impact. Or so they thought.
LaGrange "won" the carrotmob by pledging the highest percentage of their revenues that evening -- 81.5% -- to put that money toward energy-efficient lighting. The bid topped the list of 12 competitors (second place was 80% by Bolsa in Oak Cliff) and is far and away higher than the first-ever carrotmob bid from April 2008 in San Francisco, with a winning bid of 22%.
As of 11:30 p.m., the marquis at LaGrange showed that $3,700 had been collected.
What is a carrotmob?
Carrotmobbers want to help local businesses go green simply by shopping there. “The problem is that corporations will do anything for money," said founder Brent Schulkin. "But what if the solution were that corporations will do anything for money?”
He thinks the answer is to harness the power of consumers and "organize what we buy." In Dallas, Mesic and Feinstein say the place we should organize our money is toward energy efficiency.
Yeah, but who has ever heard of a carrotmob in Dallas?
Attendance at the October 13 event never hit mob status. Still, the organizers remain upbeat. “I am very proud given it had never been done before here,” Feinstein said.
Several websites that cover green events in Dallas had no information regarding this event: DFW Earth, “Green Living for environmentalists in Dallas-Fort Worth,” shows no news of the Carrotmob. A Dallas City Hall website, www.greendallas.net, was also missing this information. Frank Librio, listed as the press contact, was unavailable for comment. Why did these green entities not know?
The JustFaith group, which practices green consumerism along with its social justice mission, had not heard of last night’s event. When asked if she would have attended, Johanna Parkinson said, “Yes, I would have gone … I would support that, that’s a good idea.” She went on to say that events down in Deep Ellum might not attract many people in her age range, but she would have gone.
Even meetup.com was blank on the whole topic of carrotmobs.
Yet, around the world on October 10, carrotmobs were staged in Freiburg, Germany, Dundee, Scotland, and state-side in Santa Barbara, Denver, and Boulder. Over the past two years, Carrotmobs have occurred more than 100 times. And for the first time now in Texas, we've been mobbed.
Organizing a carrotmob
Mesic and Feinstein, along with a core group of others affiliated with Dallas Green Drinks and Net Impact DFW, diligently worked on this event for eight weeks. Feinstein said organizers of this event were ambitious, thinking that this would set a record for the most money raised ever with a carrotmob.
Dallas Green Drinks is a group of professionals concerned about making Dallas greener by supporting those businesses who are already green. Mesic is the president of the organization and is passionate about what she calls the “triple bottom line: people, profits, planet.” It is her hope that after hitting a few restaurants and bars, carrotmobbers will line up at hotels, yoga studios, or other businesses.
Feinstein touted the events transpiring during TEDxSMU Idea Week, saying that the carrotmob event was just one of many ways that new ideas are surfacing in Dallas. Feinstein is an advocate for grassroots community building.
Feinstein asks us to think what the end impact is of those dollars we spend. “Everyday should be a carrotmob,” he said. “Deep Ellum and Oak Cliff are such strong communities.”
He also refers to the healthy competition of a carrotmob, hence LaGrange's win over Bolsa by just 1.5%. It's clear that the 80% bid by Bolsa in Oak Cliff was already a strong statement.
The winners at the table were the businesses: first the energy efficient lighting who may get a customer out of LaGrange, and LaGrange itself which got attention for their winning bid. The other half of the equation, though, is the consumer. If Dallas can’t muster up a mob, there won’t be much collective bargaining going on in the future.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Assignment Desk, DFW
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