Pour Back is just days away.

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We're getting excited about out next picnic-themed fundraiser, which is sure to be a blast. With the help from our friends from Turnstyle and Duo we're throwing a party to celebrate our local businesses and raise some dough for our design for good initiative. Here are somethings to look forward to for Thursday's shindig...

Bid on artwork from great local artists such as David PhillipsJason Grube, Katy Harrison, Tamai, and Shogo Ota.

Play giant Jenga with Makerhaus.

Join us on the rooftop deck and take pics in our awkward family photo booth. Complete with matching vests and cats.

Be inspired! We have some design for good examples to show you from Turnstyle and Sarita Schaffer of Viva Farms.

Speaking of Viva Farms, they'll have all their berries out for us to eat! Yum!

Raffle prizes. Yes we have lots of good stuff to give away thanks to our gracious local sponsors.

Oh and did we mention hors d'oeuvres from Skillet and beer from Hilliard's?

We can't wait to see you all there! Get your tickets now online

Pour Back is on Thursday August 4, 2014 @ Turnstyle & Duo, 4743 Ballard Ave. NW Suite 200, Seattle

Order tickets here, otherwise they go up $2 at the door!

Design from the Ground Up

A guest post by Pour Back winner Sarita Schaffer.

My first AIGA event was a Schmooze at Black Coffee Co-op on Capitol Hill, a rad worker-owned, nonprofit community space – a venue choice that earned AIGA my instant respect. Within minutes, I met several interesting people, collected a dozen recommendations of events and meet-ups to check out and received valuable career advice from a local UX design professor. I was already contemplating joining Seattle AIGA when I picked up a pamphlet about the Pour Back award. After reading about Pour Back, I was completely sold on joining AIGA – and applying for the award.

If you haven’t heard about the competition and award, definitely check out the Pour Back site and attend the upcoming brew night, Aug. 7th at Turnstyle and Duo. Pour Back works like this: with the help of local businesses, breweries, wineries, and distilleries, AIGA raises money for great causes.

All money raised is put into the Pour Back Fund and then given to talented designers who are focused on benefiting a community in the Pacific Northwest and solving real-world problems. As a social entrepreneur transitioning into design work, this was right up my alley.

13 years ago, I was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design for illustration. Three days into orientation I had an existential crisis. I chose RISD to pursue design for good – to channel my creativity into promoting social justice and environmental protection – but I realized that I lacked a practical understanding of either. So, I withdrew from RISD and hitchhiked across the US to work on an organic farm here in the Puget Sound. From Washington I traveled to other states, then to Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Brazil, working with farmers and studying innovative models of agricultural education and rural development.

In 2001 I co-founded GrowFood.org, a site that connects people who want to learn about farming to internships and work on farms in all 50 states and 52 countries. In 2009, I joined forces with Washington State University to bring its Latino Farming Program to western Washington and launch Viva Farms. Viva is a farm business incubator that helps Latino farm workers and new farmers become farm owners by providing them affordable access to land, equipment, start-up capital, and marketing & distribution support. Finally, this past September, my journey came full circle. After working in sustainable agriculture locally and internationally for more than a decade, I returned to school for graphic and UX design.

Why?

Because I’ve come to see that a socially just and ecologically sustainable food system can’t be built by farmers and agricultural nonprofits alone. Everyone will have to participate. Most of all, eaters, who outnumber farm operators 150 to 1. Eaters shape the food system because farmers respond to consumer demand. Farmers always grow more of what sells and less of what doesn’t. If local, organically-grown, field-fresh, minimally-packaged strawberries sell best, more acreage is dedicated to growing them. If heavily-fumigated, plastic-packed, cold-shipped strawberries whose low price is maintained by under-paying farm workers are what sells, more acreage is converted to that. It’s that simple.

But as eaters, how do we know which food system we’re voting for when we reach for a pint of strawberries at the store? Often we don’t. That’s why I’ve come back to design after all these years, and why I applied to Pour Back.

Design informs and educates. It distills infinitely complex concepts into beautiful, recognizable symbols that guide us to act in accordance with our values. For instance, it helps signal which berries build the food system we want and which ones don’t.

The goal of my Pour Back design was to transmit Viva Farms’ mission via the medium that most directly connects farmers and eaters: the product itself. The Viva Farms label that will soon be affixed to select Seattle-bound product prominently displays our bright, high-octane logo. It briefly tells our story, and directs eaters to VivaFarms.org, where they can learn more about our work and get involved in supporting a new generation of sustainable farmers.  Keep an eye out for our delicious product at Central Co-op, Stockbox on First Hill, in Molly Moon’s strawberry sorbet, and at upcoming Pour Back events!

Pour Back at Turnstyle and Duo

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Remember when we threw that party and raised a bunch of money to design for good? Well we're doing it again this year! This time around, Turnstyle and Duo are graciously opening up their studios to host this summer's Pour Back Fundraiser. Join us on August 7th at the historic Kolstrand Building on Ballard Ave. to sip some brews from Hilliard's and raise money to support designers & their causes.

Stay tuned for more updates about the event and the grant!

Details and Tickets are here.

Check out the work from our friends: turnstylestudio.com & duopr.com

And the winner is...

It was tough to be a judge at last night's award ceremony. Aaron Shurts (Deloitte Digital), Izzie Zahorian (Google), and David Wykes (Teague) were faced with the difficult task of choosing only ONE person to win the $1500 grant. Three amazing presentations were given by our finalists: Noelle Hoffman, Sarita Schaffer of Viva Farms, and Adriel Rollins & Melanie Wang of the Pivot team. Each project differed in audience, plan, and design; but passion and generosity were the 2 common characteristics that linked them together. They were all true examples of designing for good.

Pour Back Finalists from left to right: Sarita Schaffer, Adriel Rollins (Pivot), Melanie Wang (Pivot), and Noelle Hoffman.

Pour Back Finalists from left to right: Sarita Schaffer, Adriel Rollins (Pivot), Melanie Wang (Pivot), and Noelle Hoffman.

So who did the judges choose to be the first Pour Back Fund winner? Drum roll please... Sarita Schaffer! We can't wait to see her "pour back" her talent to the next generation of Washington farmers. Be sure to check back, as we'll be receiving updates from Sarita throughout the year. 

Noelle Hoffman and the Pivot Team were given Honorable Mentions of $500 each. We are so proud of these designers and so excited to see the great things they'll do for the community. 

A big congratulations goes out to Sarita and the rest of the Pour Back finalists! Thank you for sharing your ideas, talent, and passion to give back. Continue to inspire and design for good always.

Sarita with her $1500 award and the Pour Back judges: Izzie Zahorian, Aaron Shurts, and David Wykes

Sarita with her $1500 award and the Pour Back judges: Izzie Zahorian, Aaron Shurts, and David Wykes