Tag Archives: Boston

Hi my name is Igor and I fight the good fight. You can too.

Now that I’ve announced my return from writing retirement, let’s address the elephant in the room. What the hell am I up to nowadays? Well, one thing in particular absorbs about 150% of my awake time. The beast of burden? The one and only Bootstrap Compost. I live it. I breathe it. It smells like compost. I figure I should to tell you a bit more about it, and how I got here, and some other personal tidbits to fill the gaps.

Boothead

Saving the world one Bootstrap bucket at a time. BIG thank you to all our subscribers!

[puts on corporate hat] Hi my name is Igor Kharitonenkov and I am co-founder and Vice President of Bootstrap Compost (BSC). BSC is a residential and commercial food scrap pickup service founded in Boston in January 2011. Our mission is to collect organic material and redistribute it to area farms for the sake of composting. Every day, we divert hundreds of pounds of food scraps from landfills, and in the process, help create a valuable resource for the local food community by creating a safe, nutrient rich, all natural soil amendment. All told, we serve to empower individuals and families by building a community around composting. To date, serving over 450 subscribers, we’ve diverted nearly 200,000 pounds of compostable material from landfills. As VP, I spearhead business development.

[takes off corporate hat] You’ll have to excuse me, but I can’t explain the trajectory, even to myself. I went from an unemployed, grad-school dropout. I was a depressed blogger, a guy whose alarm clock was set to double digits, only so I could get up to write in my pajamas. In many ways, I was a bleeding-heart liberal looking for a solution in a society that seemed apathetic to solutions. And here I am, co-founding a popular, market-proven and growing green startup company, making a real impact in our community. And we’re really doing it. Our clients, the press, fellow entrepreneurs, they love us. The plants love us. It’s really too fucking much to think about. I’ll psychoanalyze later.

MC2012 reception

Bootstrap Compost took part in MassChallenge 2012 as finalists! Pictured at the reception.

Just today, I found myself on a panel at Harvard speaking about social entrepreneurship. I know what you’re thinking, but c’mon I gotta name drop, it’s Harvard. And they gave me a sweet pen for participating. Which means I feel like a made man, Goodfellas style. Anyway, I was asked about the mentality of succeeding as an entrepreneur. My advice? Fake it until you make it. It’s what I said and it got a good laugh. But I’m not selling myself short, this is relevant. I told the story of my friend who cheated on every test in college. He got a degree without putting in half the work. He’s now a successful businessman. I don’t endorse this by any means. I believe in an honest day’s work. But my friend has serious charisma and can sell you fire in hell. As for me, I’m not as naturally gifted. But maybe I was in the right place at the right time. Maybe it was my hard work. I think it was a combination, but mostly, it was good attitude and a hope that just one day, maybe one day, I’d be able to prove that yes, I do in fact have some talents to offer this real world. It was a fight and I had my doubts. I got depressed. But I knew a better day would come. I faked that good day, until I got there. I’m still, in many ways, getting there.

Harvard pen

This pen? Gold. Totally worth sharing my opinions with undergrads at Harvard

To those who know me best, I’ve always been a believer in that cliche JFK quote, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Living in the United States with a college degree in hand, I’m like in the top 5% of the global population. I pretty much have a golden ticket, no matter what happens, so I’m doing what I set out to do: fight the good fight in the name of mother nature. And I’m making a living doing it.

 

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Nora Lutz and the Pond Jam – Premiering “Stories From Boston’s Emerald Necklace”

Over the hump!  Premiering Part Four of the Six Part Series.

This was the first video I completed for “The Stories Project”.  It’s also one of my favorites because of its’ unique style – in essence, I like to call it my own little rock-doc.  Nora Lutz’s story – The Pond Jam – invites us to take a look at how art, music, family, and community come together and are brought together everyday by the parks.  Enjoy Nora performing a beautiful rendition of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.”

See last week’s premiere hereRunning the Emerald Necklace with Mark Lowenstein

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Premiering “Stories from Boston’s Emerald Necklace” – Running the Necklace with Mark Lowenstein

The Third Film in a Six Part Series!

Millions of people step foot on the historic paths of the Emerald Necklace every year.  Mark Lowenstein, author of “Great Runs in Boston,” addresses the functional and recreational importance of the Necklace’s linear paths for Boston’s commuters, walkers, runners, and bikers.  Mark also explains how the Emerald Necklace inspired him to write running guidebooks for the Boston area.

See last week’s premiere hereSpending a Summer in the Necklace: The 2010 Green Team

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Premiering “Stories from Boston’s Emerald Necklace” – The Green Team 2010

A First Look at the Second Release of a Six Part Series!

Every summer, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy employs urban youth to help with park maintenance and restoration via the Green Team Youth Program.  Through the Stories Project, I was fortunate enough to visit with a few of the Green Teamers this summer.  After spending lunch with them, chatting with them for a few hours and hearing out their personal stories, I left with a feeling of how powerful such an experience can be in a “city kid’s” life. See for yourself – watch “Mad Mike” Michael O’Sullivan, “B-Doggie” Bradley Ortiz, and Josie Bergersen-Lewis recount how their summer with the Green Team has helped them meet new people, form new friendships, expose them to exciting outdoor adventures, and build character and work ethic.

See last week’s premiere hereMarylin Rodriguez and the Franklin Park Hispanic Baseball League

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Premiering: “Stories from Boston’s Emerald Necklace” – Marilyn Rodriguez

Now Playing in High Def on a Computer Near You!

Welcome to the first official online video premiere of my summer project!  Over the past several months, I have served the roles of film-maker, cameraman, writer, journalist, video producer, editor, and web-developer for the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.  What started as one man’s vision to build awareness and appreciation of our city parks through video and media has transformed into an archive of touching, endearing, and compelling stories from Boston’s historic Emerald Necklace.  Over the next six weeks I will individually unveil and present each story as a weekly publication on IGORoamandreportMore about the Stories Project here.

First up, Marilyn Rodriguez.  Marilyn revisits childhood memories at the Franklin Park baseball fields, a venue where family, friends, and community gathered together, watched, and played in the Hispanic Baseball League.  Enjoy!

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The Stories Project: A new venture into video-documenting a historic Boston park system.

Scroll down to see two of the ‘Stories’ videos I am publishing!

This summer, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a nonprofit oversight organization of Boston’s historic Emerald Necklace system of parks, launched the beginning of a brand new venture  – the Stories Project.  The Stories Project is meant to video document the broad variety of stories that come from the 1,000,000+ people that visit the park system every year.   The Emerald Necklace is a 1000+ acre linear park system outlining the city of Boston that includes six parks in total, each with a different character and motif.  It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and completed in 1891.  The Stories Project is groundbreaking for the Emerald Necklace; it marks the start of creating a historical database of experiences formed at these historic parks and promotes and encourages use of the parks through a series of creative and compelling high definition videos.  These videos are being posted online and eventually will appear at the Conservancy’s new visitor center, opening in the fall.

[Update: All Six ‘Stories’ Videos Now On IGORoamandreport]

How do I know all this?  I’m the lucky son-of-a-gun that was hired to develop a vision and produce the novel video project.  Yes, it is my responsibility to find, collect, produce, and report Continue reading

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Building Sustainable Neighborhoods: A Blueprint in Boston

We live on the same street, my neighbor and I, and we avoid eye contact at all cost.  I’ve seen him dozens of times; on my way to work, coming back from class, on the weekends…too many times, I feel, to introduce myself now.  As we pass each other in the street, he glances at me but I look down.  Day after day, we pass without saying hello.

We all yearn for a sense of community in our neighborhoods.  Basic human nature tells us to feel comfortable around, welcomed, and valued by our neighbors.  We need to feel a sense of attachment to improve the places we live in.  Therefore, to feel the value of giving back to our communities, we first have to feel valued by our communities. Building sustainable cities and supporting local business starts with caring for and being taken care of by our neighborhood.

Last August, my girlfriend and I embarked on a move to Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in south central Boston, from Bloomington, Indiana, our beloved college town.  Our sights were set high; according to everyone we spoke to, people seriously love Boston.  Nine hundred miles later, we Continue reading

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