Ajit George – Massive Pivot Amid Corona Quarantine

Ajit Mathew George is a serial entrepreneur, opportunity maker, creative marketer, TEDx organizer
emeritus, food & wine aficionado, philanthropist and certified Dream Builder™ Life Coach who divides his
time between Wilmington, Delaware and Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, He is also the author of The
Magic of The Red Carpet, in which he shares how anyone can learn to give a great TEDx talk by following
101 tips while sharing his unlikely journey from being organizer of TEDxWilmington to founding Second
Chances Farm
Ajit is the founder of Second Chances Farm, LLC, (www.secondchancesfarm.com) an
organization focused on hiring and giving turn key entrepreneurial opportunities to people returning from
prison after serving their sentences through the creation of indoor, hydroponic vertical farms – or “plant
factories.” Second Chances plans to produce organic produce, year-round, in local communities and minimize the carbon footprint of transporting produce.
Connect with Ajit:
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[00:00:00] Michael King: Hey everybody, welcome back to In the Trenches with Michael King where we talk with business owners, leaders, and executives about the lessons they've learned while fighting In the Trenches of the business battlefield. I am Michael King.

[00:00:21] We are all In the Trenches right now. There is not a small business owner out there that's not facing bullets, but you know, going in, in every direction, whether it's employees that aren't able to work right now because of the quarantine or hopefully it's not because of their health, but that's a reality.

[00:00:39] Or whether it's revenues, drying up, loan money, tightening up. Everybody's facing some type of adversity in the small business world right now. And, I think, you know, we're in a lot of ways founded by negative news. Every time you log into the news, it's how many people died, or you know, what the unemployment claims look like, or how long the economy's going to be hurting.

[00:00:58] There's horrible news around us everywhere, and it's really easy to get sucked up into that bad news. Recently, I was introduced to a gentleman named George. George is the owner of Second Chances farm in Delaware. On his 63rd birthday, which was just about three years ago now, he set out to put together a vertical farm that's employed only by individuals that have been convicted of some sort of crime.

[00:01:28] They served their crime and now they're second chance capitalists as he calls them. So he's wanting to provide work for folks that have done their time. And so for the last couple of years, Ajit has been putting together this vertical farm that's going to employ people that have been convicted of fraud crimes and they're coming back to the workforce and, audited stream, became a reality.

[00:01:49] It's just on March 16th of this year the farm had its first harvest and they were ready to deliver the crops from this vertical farm to their customers. And basically they were wholesaling these to restaurants. And within eight hours of the harvest, the governor of Delaware and the governor of New York put out a mandatory quarantine.

[00:02:10] And in an instant. His entire market restaurants try it up. And it would have been real easy for Ajit to say, well shit, we've lost it. I don't know what we're gonna do and close the doors and walk away from his dream, but he instead of not doing that, he immediately got about the business of brainstorming.

[00:02:30] What are the other markets we could go after? How can I keep these people employed? How can I use this amazing produce and herbs that we've grown and serve somebody else or serve in a different way? And within 24 hours, he had flipped his business model on its head, and now his business is sold out for months.

[00:02:49] And so I don't want to get into too many of the details, but if you're an entrepreneur, if you're a small business owner and you're looking for a way to pivot your business, if you're looking for a way to find the light in the middle of a saw, the dark that's around us right now. Absolutely listen to this episode and get some amazing tips on what you can do.

[00:03:08] And if nothing else, hear a positive story. Somebody that's doing amazing things right now to give it a little bit of light into your life right now. So without further ado, here's my conversation with Ajit George.  Awesome. Thank you for joining me today. How are you?

[00:03:23] Ajit George: I am wonderful on this Sunday. Hey, Sunday afternoon.

[00:03:28] Sorry. I should probably not date it. I apologize. Do you want to restart it?

[00:03:35] Michael King: I'm okay? You know, I think everybody knows that in our current environment, everybody's just kind of winging it and doing what they can. So, I strive for authenticity over perfection, so we'll be fine. So earlier this week I was talking with a friend of mine and he told me about a pretty incredible story, and it was your story.

[00:03:55] And, I wanted to get an interview with you as quickly as possible because I think our listeners need to hear it. Basically what I understood is that you went right up until the day that New York went on mandatory quarantine. You basically were launching your new company that day, and you realize that, with the quarantine and everything that was going on, your primary market hit evaporated.

[00:04:20] Yet you had workers, produce and nothing to do with them. And so you had to make basically a game time major pivot just to be able to stay afloat. Is that right?

[00:04:31] Ajit George: I think that's reasonably accurate. We are based in Delaware, which is halfway between New York and Washington. And, we have been working on setting up this company for the last two and a half years and we worked very hard for the seven weeks prior to March 16th to have, essentially our first crop.

[00:04:49] We are an indoor vertical farm. Well, hold on.

[00:04:52] Michael King: Well, hold on. Before we do that. Take us back. I want to start this story. You told me it began on a birthday. Is that right?

[00:04:58] Ajit George: The idea for this is, so I announced on my 63rd birthday, three years ago, on May 10th my 63 friends, I invited sort of a fun number to have. I said, here's what I want to do as my legacy project.

[00:05:14] By the age of 70 which would have been seven years. From that point, I want to create 70 compassionate capitalists and the 70 compassion capitalists would all be returning citizens, which is my definition of someone who has served time and it covered, turned home from prison, and so they have repaid their debt to society.

[00:05:36] And the way I was going to do that. Well, it's to create an indoor vertical farm, which is a hydroponic farm that is inside a building so we can grow our produce and herbs and other things. Presumably 365 days a year. Yeah, It was an idea that I had looked at for two years prior to that. Casually got serious and

[00:05:58] by publicly announcing it in front of 63 friends, they would all be my accountability partners because everybody should have accountability partners. Otherwise, it's easy to have dreams go by. And so by publicly announcing to my friends, I felt I was being both vulnerable, but also stating that I was going to work really hard, putting together that mission.

[00:06:19] Michael King: Wow. So this was like two and a half years ago, you said this

[00:06:24] Ajit George: May to be exactly three years ago. So, and I want to speak and say that I had no idea how challenging, difficult or complicated the task is pre-wires, but we managed to get to a place where we acquired a 47,500 square foot building on September 4th of last year.

[00:06:43] More than that, we tested some prototypes and then on January sixth of this year, we had our first cohort of 10 returning citizens join us. So that's the moment of reality. We had 10 people being in the program, and we also placed an order for all of the equipment that we needed, which arrived, on, essentially the first week of February.

[00:07:06] And then we had to work pretty much around the clock to install it by the 7th or the 8th of February, which was quite a miracle in itself. And then we planted, what I will say around 240,000 seeds for the first crop, you have to put a lot more seeds than you think because you don't know what germinates.

[00:07:25] And then they were in cubes. They are in Rockwell cubes, so they had 40,000 cubes. That's what we did. And the anticipation was when you planted seeds on February 7th, 8th, and 9th, we would harvest on Monday, March 16, because it takes six weeks to get there. And so we had sold off our crops pre harvested, and that's harvest time prior to our harvest.

[00:07:49] Two restaurants, which was, sorry, the initial clientele. And we were happily going around, and Monday, March 16 began harvesting and that four o'clock that day or five o'clock or three o'clock that day is when the governor of Delaware issued a mandatory order for all restaurants to close at eight o'clock that day.

[00:08:07] Obviously this will change that day.

[00:08:10] Michael King: that's crazy. Let me make sure, cause you took us through a lot of important steps here. Let me make sure I'm following along. So, almost three years ago, you had your 63rd birthday party and you brought 63 people to the party and you announced the 63 closest friends.

[00:08:27] You said, Hey, I have this, this legacy project that I've dreamt of. I'm going to hire 70. Individuals that have, committed crimes, serve their sentence, and are now returning to society. I'm going to create this vertical farm that employs 70 of these folks, and we're going to serve organic vegetables.

[00:08:50] Ajit George: fruits and vegetables

[00:08:53] Michael King: Okay, so produce and herbs to restaurants in our local area. And so you went and you procured over a 40,000 square foot commercial space to grow them in. And then, you hired your first 10 people in, what was the term that you used for that?

[00:09:07] Ajit George: Returning citizens because they are returning from home, returning home, from prison. So, I don't like the word ex-convict sorry.

[00:09:17] Michael King: It was the capitalist term

[00:09:18] Ajit George: that captures it's returning citizens because they are returning. And I look at them as, no differently than if they had a mortgage for 20 years or 10 years or 15 years.

[00:09:31] They repaid their mortgage, and if you pay your mortgage off, your deed is paid in full. It is free and clear. So that's why I use the term returning citizens.

[00:09:40] Michael King: So I like it. So you've hired 10, as of February of this year.

[00:09:44] Ajit George: January

[00:09:45] Michael King: January six, you plant your first harvest. Hundreds of thousands of seeds.

[00:09:50] Yep. The harvest is, do, your you do to, so on March 16th, and it was, basically within 24 hours of the harvest that the quarantine was put into effect.

[00:10:02] Ajit George:  It was less than eight hours. We started at nine o'clock with the harvest and at three o'clock, the governor issued the order, flashed over Facebook that the governor was closing all restaurants at eight o'clock that night.

[00:10:13] And so. We knew the next day we were planning to deliver all the harvest material on Tuesdays, which was St Patrick's day. There would be no restaurants to deliver because they were all shut down. So it's the end of the discussion.

[00:10:27] Michael King: What did that feel like? You've been, you know, passionately working towards your legacy project.

[00:10:33] You've brought 10 citizens back. You've given them meaningful work and you've got this 40,000 square foot space and you've done all the hard work and now some deliver. When you realized that what you thought was your opportunity hit evaporated, what did that feel like?

[00:10:49] Ajit George: It was like a gut punch, but I couldn't really let anyone know.

[00:10:53] I just got punched because my returning citizens as well as my leadership team knew. That this could be the end, that that would be the potentially the end that day. startups are notorious for failures. Startups are prone to failures anyway. It doesn't take anything for a startup to fail. You never have enough capital for a startup.

[00:11:14] I mean, unless you're just crazy. So venture capitalists and people could sense that there was something that was going to dramatically happen. So I had to be exceptionally cheerful as they continued the harvest with packaging. As long as that and doing everything like we are going forward.

[00:11:33] Without anybody really asking what I was going to do the next day I had to be a leader. And part of being a leader is, you are going into battle without even knowing who is going to shoot you in this case or whether you're going to survive. And I think I needed to be brave, even though I was scared, to my skin beyond belief that I had no idea at that moment what to

[00:11:57] do. But as the day progressed, I knew that the day that I had to do something in 48 hours to make a difference, and that 48 hours had to be critical because produce is a perishable product. It cannot sit for two weeks. You can't let us, you know, you have to separate and send it out.

[00:12:17] So I started brainstorming and I said, what if people are starting to not be able to go to restaurants. And now starting to stay home. Would there be a market for a home delivery program? And so I worked with my team to put together a farm to home delivery service. We had to create a landing page on our website.

[00:12:39] We had to create, obviously, an order page. And more importantly, we had to think about if, God forbid, if people actually subscribed, how we would deliver this stuff because we had no plan for delivery. In fact, we had no operations for retail. Everything was wholesale. So I said, you know, I'll worry about the delivery if I get orders, and if I don't get orders, there's no point in worrying about delivery.

[00:13:02] So we literally, in 48 hours or 24 hours, by the end of Tuesday, we had on our website a landing page, and I posted on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I sent letters to all of our supporters and my friends inviting them to subscribe to it. And that's really what I did without really having any expectation of what would happen.

[00:13:25] And so we are up on Wednesday, up to Wednesday morning. so I did it five 30 Tuesday night, which is when we put it onto their face and they waited for it. That's a Wednesday morning to see what happened and great. And I prayed and I prayed. Well, the key, and while I would say to you, the key is you can easily fold and it would've been the easiest route because obviously I have no idea what I was doing and there's no guarantee what I was doing with the sailor.

[00:13:52] But I knew I had to give hope to the 10 returning citizens. I have to give hope to my investors. I have to give hope to my team, other members of my team. And hope men that I have to at least give it a try of a new idea. And that's what I would say to anybody struggling, is you have an obligation to yourself and to your team and your stakeholders, which are investors.

[00:14:14] It could be your bank, to really, say, let me try. What else can I try? Now that the donor has given an order, restaurants are not going to open tomorrow. So what can I do? And that requires you to step back and reflect. Very seriously. What is really important, and that's really what I did.

[00:14:33] Michael King: Let me ask you this.

[00:14:34] There's a lot in here to unpack that I think is hyper-relevant to the entire listening audience right now, and all of us are finding ourselves in some version of that same predicament, right? With, you know, money's drying up our traditional, who we sold to last month isn't necessarily who we're going to sell to next month because maybe those people are out of business now.

[00:14:55] Maybe that entire market segment has gone. Let me ask you this. You said that you sat back and brainstormed. Take me through that process. Did you have a team of trusted advisors with you? Did you go into a room with a dry erase board and start writing things? How did you process what to do with this produce and what the opportunity might look like.

[00:15:14] Ajit George: Well, I, what I did is I started asking members of my team, do you think we could sell retail? And people look up, we don't have packaging in our that sells street Dell. We don't have labels that we're selling to restaurants, which didn't require labels. They knew what Aruba love meant and they knew what it was.

[00:15:34] So we didn't have packaging. That would have been typical for a retail. If I sold a supermarket, there would be packaging. I said, what do we have? We have plastic bags. I said, okay, we have plastic bags. We could put stuff in a plastic bag. We could put, we could print white labels and say, this is baby arugula.

[00:15:52] We could say this, this cilantro on this stuff. They said, we don't have enough labels. So I said, okay, I will print. And then the problem was we were growing some exotic stuff where chefs like, which most people didn't know what it was, or. Bach choy. And so I said, I'll tell you what, let, what if we have a group actually put together recipes and we'll do a recipe sheet and put a picture of what we are in the package so people can look at what's in it.

[00:16:17] So, we had, two or three people take charge and put together a recipe sheet with pictures of what they were getting. And so that people could look at box joy and never have seen box joy and actually say, okay, here's the recipe for it, because we had to do it. Quickly because I couldn't get the white labels fast enough to do the labeling of each package.

[00:16:39] So that's number one. We needed to do number two and was really finding out whether I could get the website page app, which is really where technology really works and whether I could have a team member send out a letter too. Mailing list, which is a personalized letter making the offer and setting up really on the stuff.

[00:16:57] So you brainstorm with different people. So I was very, very blessed, you know, meaning to have a great team. We were a group that did a phenomenal job, my CFO, Korean in something on Zoho, which is a software we use to take orders. We had, we had our PR person or web. Oh, of course. And create a page. We had other members of that team improvise the recipes and we all did different things because we were scrambling to put together essentially a package and an offer, within 24 hours that we could deliver.

[00:17:30] So I really didn't have time to go in the race sport and then also didn't want people to see how nervous I was. I think if I had sat in front of a whiteboard, I think. My nervousness would have come in through. I've looked in, cause the obvious question is how are we going to deliver if we sold anything?

[00:17:46] I didn't have an answer. I really had no answer. So I figured what my answer would betray the fact that I was clueless. So I decided to ask individual people different ideas. And then I said. I'll find a way to deliver, even if I have to deliver it myself. So I just took that article of faith that if he had orders, if they build, they will come, except in our case, if they build, we'll go to their house.

[00:18:09] And I made the decision that I would only do it from within a 25 mile radius or 20 mile radius. so two counties in Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware, because I just knew otherwise I would get a strung out. And, we just, it was really, I would say grace of God. It was the blessing. It was the fact that my team believed in me.

[00:18:31] Each did their part without asking a lot of questions. It'd be asked a lot of questions we would have doubt would have crept in and we would have never done it. So I think fear of the fear of the unknown is what? Chills good ideas.

[00:18:43] Michael King: Fear of the unknown is what kills good ideas. I love that. I'm writing that down.

[00:18:48] I think you said something else that's, that's really important. It's one of my pet peeves or passion ideas in business, and it's this idea of solving problems that don't exist yet, and something that you said really hits on that is you said the first thing you you had to figure out was how to get orders, even though you didn't have a way to deliver them yet.

[00:19:09] You said. Hey, we're going to get the orders first and then I'll solve the problem of delivery. And I think a lot of times entrepreneurs, they get inside their own head and they start trying to solve the delivery problem first, or they don't move forward with getting orders because they don't know the answer to the delivery.

[00:19:24] But I, I think that you hit the nail on the head and say if it's, Hey, let's get the orders in the door now. Let's figure out how to deliver them. And so don't solve problems that don't exist yet.

[00:19:36] Ajit George: But I would say be aware of the problems and be aware that you have a backup solution. The backup solution was I had a nice car and I figured I could go deliver myself.

[00:19:44] So it wasn't beneath me to go out and deliver myself because honestly, if people bought, I wasn't going to let them down. And the other thing is I wanted in the first week, within 24 hours of an order place. The delivery. So I wanted it to be better than Amazon, which is sort of a crazy standard, that I put, I didn't put it in print, I didn't put it on the website.

[00:20:05] I had sent it to myself and my team. Oh, by 7:00 AM when 7:30 in the morning when an order came overnight, the next day we would deliver, but there's one or 20 and that, because that I thought was really important. Instill confidence that we actually were real. That's because we were asking for people to prepay for a month.

[00:20:23] Which is a four weeks award. And so, which happened to be $99 and 95 cents, roughly 24.95 per a week. and because I wanted it not by week, I wanted it by month, so I knew this was a viable thing for a month. Otherwise I would shut it down. And once you have the confidence, and once you say, look, I, if we can deliver this, even if it took me to deliver it, then a couple of my leadership team will absolutely go deliver it.

[00:20:49]not knowing how we were, one of the things we didn't realize is how complicated it is. So around Europe, map on it. My and my CFO about last name came up loud, researched it, and there was a very reasonable roadmap that gave us available to purchase that actually can put the addresses in and sorts it out and absolutely sources in the right order.

[00:21:10] With the map and Prince directions. And that took us a day after the first store. At first, the first day we got the orders, we didn't manually look up maps, which was a really unbelievably bad exercise. It took so much time trying to figure out which houses were logical to go, but it didn't. 48 hours. We have this route map, which has become a lifesaver.

[00:21:30] Somebody created for some purpose. It's available for a subscription that is reasonable. And you know. Just to fast forward the story between, yeah, between yesterday and Friday in two days, we delivered 200 and a 30 orders a day, 230 households, and we did it with five different people delivering using these route maps.

[00:21:53] So, you know, we solved the problem because somebody else had a vision of creating a software for probably pizza delivery or somebody else in some other business that we didn't even know how they did it. And we were able to adapt it and actually make it very easy for somebody to go out and deliver.

[00:22:11] Michael King: Did you come from a background of entrepreneurship or is this a new?

[00:22:15] Ajit George:  none? My family are all doctors, engineers and teachers. There's, eh, and my parents were mortified when they decided to sound out that I didn't want to be an engineer or a doctor or a teacher. as far as Atkinson being an entrepreneur.

[00:22:30] Absolutely. It was not a business. My father died without ever understanding why I was an entrepreneur and my mother sort of, it might be, but didn't understand it because it's risk and risk is not something they, particularly, my father was an accountant. I appreciate it. So I was the black sheep in that sense.

[00:22:48] And, but I've spent, since 1980, which is, we're, let's see, that's 40 years of my life. As an entrepreneur, risk and failure go in my life may be handy. And at 65, I had invested so much of my time and money and effort into this. I felt I personally didn't have a second chance to redo anything if I didn't make it work.

[00:23:09] So it was my own second chance story. because I needed it, I knew that this was a title wave. I didn't realize how bad the tidal wave this score on a virus would be, but I figured if I closed up shop. There was zero chance I would have a restaurant all ours and nobody would even, we would just be a footnote in the history of it.

[00:23:28] This was three weeks ago, which was way before we hit with all the crises, 10 million people unemployed and so many businesses out, and now we are at full fast working around almost. We can't do three shifts, but we are working as hard as we can. We are harvesting everything and we can grow everything.

[00:23:46] Again, this morning's conversation with me. Keep growing up as a West, how can we push it from two 25 to 300 or two 50 or two 75 is there a mix? We can do it, which is a really bizarre place to be.

[00:24:00] Michael King: So, I kind of want to get in the car and come up and help. Right? This is such an amazing story. The reason that I ask about your background in entrepreneurship is my team that I've worked with hundreds of companies, you know, that's what we do, is work with entrepreneurs all day long and.

[00:24:12] Boy, the number of times that we see great ideas just get stunted because of analysis paralysis. And let's come up with a plan and a strategy and we've got to, you know, model everything out. And, and, you know, I tell people all the time, like, quit screwing around and go sell it and then perfect it.

[00:24:31] And, you know, just what, why are you waiting? What are you waiting on? And it's so inspiring to hear that, that you guys had this wall put in front of you. You know, 99.9% of us would have just said, ah, you know, we've got to close this thing down. And you just continue to grind it out. What would you say is there so many business owners listening to this right now that are, that are scared they've, they've been in business, whether it's a couple of weeks or maybe a couple of decades, but they're, they're seeing the traditional opportunity they had in front of them.

[00:25:03] Disappear. How would you encourage them to think through what their version of home delivery produces, produce looks like? What, what should they be doing?

[00:25:11] Ajit George: I will tell you what I read about somebody else, which I thought was fascinating. If there's a local brewery called Iron Hill Brewery, which is a restaurant, they were obviously shut down, but they could take out.

[00:25:22] And they could do, take out their food and, and, and eventually they were allowed to have some beer. But what they did, I thought was really brilliant, is they add, because they had access to produce and fruits and vegetables because they're whole, they're, you know, they buy wholesale. They then packaged, and it's everything from toilet paper to tomatoes, to eggs and milk.

[00:25:45] Not something they would have ever done. So their takeout included, if you came and bought their food, you could also buy their package that had three dozen eggs, a carton of milk and tomatoes and, and toilet paper, which of course we know for some reason,  short supply. I just think that whoever was behind that idea of essentially comforting people, giving them comfort food  but also comforting them with one stop.

[00:26:11] You can get toilet paper, you can get eggs, you can get milk, and you can get tomatoes. I think it requires us to suspend what is our primary. This model is, and finds out what the need of the customer is and what we know the need now is, and one of the things we have become acutely aware of is people want no contact.

[00:26:30] So we actually have been asked in most cases, to drop the stuff off in the front of the house, ring the doorbell, and scan six feet up, and they say goodbye and mourn. we are. This week actually went. I'm reaching out to all of our customer scribers to ask, because we have, most of them have cell numbers.

[00:26:46] Say, would it be appropriate for us to text you just before we arrived? So we don't even have, you know, we'll drop it and we can get back to the car. That requires, that's a whole different, way of thinking. But what it does is it means that people feel comfortable. The food is not sitting out there for a long time, but they know when it arrives by texting because if they're not there for any reason or they are, they may not open their door, but by texting, we can do it.

[00:27:11] So we're going to try texting at the end of this week to see whether that enables people to feel comfortable that they're getting their deliveries when they get their deliveries. Just become. Very, just think outside the box, which is such an easy thing to say because I managed to do it here, but in reality, every one of us has something alternative.

[00:27:31] I read about a con, a consignment store that got shut down because it was not essential. And they are selling online. By showing the videos by essentially Facebook live saying, we have this, and they package it and UPS comes, picks it up and delivers the stuff. So I think you're going to see people come up with new and alternative ways of selling that might survive and succeed after this pandemic.

[00:27:56] Michael King: Do you think this model is going to be the future of your company, or do you think you'll go back to the wholesale models?

[00:28:02] Ajit George: The conversation we've had is we might have found an additional line of business. We started with a very small section of, out of our 47,500 square foot building, we have 2,500 square feet for this farm.

[00:28:16] So it's a very small section. There's very possible that this market, if this continues for another month. We will keep it as a sort of a permanent line of business, what I call home delivery. And then the rest of it, we are so large. And the rest of it, just to give you a scale, our farm one, which is one and a half of the building, will produce on an annual basis, 4 million plans on any given day, 364,000 plants, or it will grow 80,000 plants so we can harvest.

[00:28:44] So that. That is really going to be grocery stores and restaurants or perhaps grocery stores more than restaurants. Cause I think restaurants will take some time to come up and restaurants and grocery stores are doing well, but we have found if we can retain enough of our subscribers over the next 60 days, we'll create it.

[00:29:02] We'll dedicate this farm to customization now. Then it becomes the more interesting thing as people are asking for things like. Can I just get dark greens? Can I get a specific kind of thing? And so how we customize it, track it, add, because if you customize it, you can charge more. You know? And also somebody wants it, you know, if they are vegetarians, they want a particular mix of they're big and they want a particular make, sorry.

[00:29:28] If they are, they really want more kale cause they'd drink a lot of fruit, liquid, kale drinks. you know, we can just do cow, but how do we customize it? And create a market. That's a whole design strategy. We can think about it, but we'll know in a month if the visa, it's the people renew and there's an interest.

[00:29:46] We'll do a survey, that is perhaps either by phone or by email, of people's interest. But. I think people also feel good about supporting, by eating healthy. They feel they're also doing, good by helping the returning citizens. One of our new delivery people yesterday said, who didn't know me much at all, in fact, in NAMI until Lee was hired, said yesterday when he reported back to me at the end of the day, he says, did you know.

[00:30:11] That's two thirds of the people. I said, I opened the door and thanked me for delivering, and then said what a great job you're doing and how much it means that their stuff is helping returning citizens. So tying it to a mission, we are a for profit company. We are not a nonprofit. So tying your mission to something that makes a difference in this case is probably a differentiating factor.

[00:30:33] Michael King: That's amazing. That is an inspirational story. I cannot wait to get this episode live because so many people need to hear this message right now. I love the Iron Hill Brewery story as well. What city are they in?

[00:30:44] Ajit George: They're in Wilmington, Delaware. And I'm sure if you Google, but I just love the fact that they talk.

[00:30:51] I know would I, I'm not even sure. I'm sure there are owners or somebody thought somebody was crazy when this has a distinct toilet paper and eggs, the delivery. Cause they're not geared for that. But they said, look, we're packaging. People are coming in. They need the stuff. Why don't we make us, make us stand it?

[00:31:06]but so I think those who survive, my prediction is two years from now, if somebody does stories of people who survived. They're going to meet the people who didn't make it. Nobody's going to talk about it because they'll be forgotten. It's like the unknown, unknown, worry, unknown at tombs. You know, people will be unmarked to him.

[00:31:26] Stop there. In World War I and World War II, there were people who nobody remembered that after they died in mass graves. but the people who survived it, many of them will be. Have learned something about their business, learn something about their team. In my case, my team has risen to the creation and, so in such a way, there's no way I could have done this myself.

[00:31:47] So it is truly teamwork and because it takes a lot of, it takes several people to harvest, several people to package and several people that deliver. So there is no way you can do it by herself. So, and so keeping their morale up and, and believing them is really important.

[00:32:03] Michael King: Are you at capacity? Right now?

[00:32:05] Ajit George:  We are plus or minus 10 we say we are capacity or we will take additional orders in this area only because on any given harvest we always have some excess because plants don't grow.

[00:32:21] It's not like visits you put into a thing, you and you get it. So we predicted 15% wastage in pigeon harvest and a rope bridge and seeding and harvest. And we can reduce it to 10%. We have excess plants, but we are at capacity based on conservative numbers. but we'll probably take a few extra orders.

[00:32:40] But the truth is we are monitoring that daily cause we don't want to ever oversell and, and make people feel unhappy. So it's, for all purposes, we are at capacity.

[00:32:51] Michael King: Well I'd love to give you a little challenge. I'd love to know if you think you can squeak out two more orders. I would love to pay for two quarters.

[00:33:00] So two orders worth, cause it's monthly for a quarter for deliveries, for families in your delivery area that need it, that need, you know, somebody to step up. Do you think you could squeak out two more.

[00:33:13] Ajit George: For you. I would absolutely do that. And by the way, we have a long waiting list of people who have a need, who cannot afford $9 a month.

[00:33:21] So there's a this, that, and we have had several people donate their orders to give to needy people. And this will become phenomenally valuable. And I am very grateful for your support. And, and you can do this on, you can just sign up on our website. under secondchancesfarm.com.

[00:33:44] And underneath it, we have a tab for farm to table. And there's someplace where you can sign up and you can just say, there's a place to say ship to, and you can say ship to gift. And that's what it does say. And the good gift tells us that you're giving a gift to needy people.

[00:34:00] Michael King: That's awesome. If anybody out there is listening and you want to be part of that, secondchancesfarm.com I'll put the link in the show notes and my new friend will take care of you and take care of a family on your behalf.

[00:34:12] So awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time on a Sunday. It's okay to say that out loud. typically that's against the podcast rules, but I think it's okay right now. Your story has certainly been inspirational to me and I'm sure to a lot of our listeners. So thank you so much for sharing

[00:34:27] Ajit George: And thank you for being a gift to two subscriptions you have made my Sunday.

[00:34:32] Thank you very much.

[00:34:42] Michael King: Thanks for joining us today. Please don't forget to subscribe to In the Trenches with Michael King on your favorite podcast platform like Apple, Google, or Spotify. Once again, I'm Michael King with KFE Solutions. We'll see you again next week.