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Shout Outs

Introducing Pro-Use Produce

When I come across people and organizations that are doing things to make positive impacts I like to share their stories with the world. A few months ago, I was at a SafeWay and took this picture of some fruit nobody would want to buy. I thought to myself, “This shouldn’t happen. I wonder if somebody is already working on this issue.” Later that same day, by chance, I met Aaron Stroud and John Iglesias, founders of Pro-Use Produce. After a quick introduction, I learned that they were working on just the issue I discovered earlier. Please read the following description of what they do and how you can get involved.

Pro-Use Produce (PUP) is a start-up Not-For-Profit organization that is meeting food security issues in Seattle through innovation, partnership and audacity. PUP was created by John Iglesias (MS Leadership and Management) and Aaron Stroud (MA Organizational Psychology) in 2011. Through a fiscal sponsorship agreement with St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Greenlake, PUP has been operating as a 501(c)3 organization since 12/21/2011.

PUP was awarded a grant from Rainier Valley Eats, through United Way of King County, for a project which will increase public access to healthy dried fruits and vegetables in Rainier Valley. PUP’s partner Rainier Valley Food Bank will distribute dehydrated fruits and vegetables to its patrons and donate surplus fruits and vegetables to PUP for dehydration. PUP also receives fruit and vegetable donations from Madison Market (Central Co-Op) every week. With volunteers, John and Aaron prepare, dehydrate and package the produce for distribution at the Rainier Valley Food Bank. PUP also sells a portion to pay for costs. To learn how you can support PUP’s mission and purchase high quality dehydrated fruit and vegetables please email John and Aaron at

In Spring and Summer 2012 PUP will also be working in cooperation with City Fruit, a Seattle-based fruit tree gleaning organization, to increase the availability of locally grown fruit through PUP’s dehydration processes and partnerships.

To learn more about Pro-Use Produce visit (still under construction). To find out ways you can support Aaron and John’s work in creating a food rich Seattle you can e-mail them at Ways in which you can support them include: purchasing excellent dehydrated fruits and vegetables, tax-exempt donations, processing fruit and vegetables, donating fruits and vegetables, donating business/marketing services, and much more.

Co-Founders: John Iglesias and Aaron Stroud Email: Website:

Other Websites:

We are currently looking for assistance in gathering volunteers, website development and someone who will look for and apply to grants. Also, we are looking for someone who can head up donations.

Shout Out! Leslie Cervantez Photography

Leslie Cervantez produces artistic masterpieces when she steps behind the lens of a camera. She’s a perfect example of what is possible when somebody merges a high level of skill with a high amount of passion. Last week I took a day trip to Houston, TX to join the fortunate people who have had the privilege to work with her. Cervantez has the unique ability to relate to her subjects and put them at ease, relaxing her clients into the poses that bring out their true essence. Whether she is photographing people or places, she pushes the envelop to transcend typical “shots” and produces works of art. Within a matter of hours I had 240 pictures, 6 proofs, and two fully edited, print-ready images.

Working with Leslie reaffirmed my appreciation of local business and micro-economies. When a person’s livelihood depends on their use of a set of skills, they tend to develop those skills and put their heart and soul into their work. That’s exactly what she does and it shows in her work.

If you find yourself in need of any photography, I fully recommend Leslie Cervantez Photography.

Twitter: @lesliece

Example: Great Solicitation Letter - Written by Jake Negovan

Normally, when I receive a solicitation letter, I roll my eyes and throw them away. The reason is they are normally nothing more than a mass mailed or emailed message. They lack both sincerity and personality. They haven’t taken the time to find out who I am, what I do, or why it would make sense to work together. I’m sure the success rate is high enough (otherwise I’d assume they would quit), but it’s not a perosnalized experience at all.

When I received this letter from my friend Jake, I was excited after I read it and immediately called him to ask if we could collaborate on some projects and see where I could refer business his way. If we could take just a little more time to know our prospect, we will greatly increase our effectiveness.

This is an example of a great and personalized solicitation letter. I did receive his permission to post this, and I fully recommend him if you need a writer for anything.

Example: Great Solicitation Letter - Written by Jake Negovn

Shout Out: Melissa Lojewski

One of my favorite people in the world right now has to be Melissa Lojewski. Aside from being an overall great person and freelance graphic artist, she has proven there is still room in advertising for fine art. Never willing to settle for stock images and basic typography, she is the one of the very few people I know who has the freehand drawing skills to produce fine work worthy of print. She’s more articulate with imagery than most people are with words, and her positive attitude and desire for perfection has been an inspiration to all of those around her, including myself. Please take a moment to check out a sample of some of the work she has done. For more, check out her portfolio at

This particular set is a packaging concept she put together for gift boxes for the Chinese New Year. It was “Year Of The Hog.”


Melissa’s Portfolio
Melissa’s Twitter