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Q&A With Wen-Jay Ying: Founder Of Local Roots NYC

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I met Wen-Jay a couple months back after stumbling into a Sustainability Commerce Popup Conference in Williamsburg.  She was among an eclectic panel of speakers that day who’s company missions were not only vivid with green priority, but also deeply rooted into the fabric of their local communities. Her company, Local Roots NYC provides New Yorkers with a access to goods and produce from a network of local farmers (local meaning that their supplier’s operations happen within a 250 mile radius).  It’s a subscription based membership where you can sign up for different seasons, each having a variety of different seasonal foods.  Throughout the city are different “markets” where your allotted order is ready for pickup.  What’s awesome about Local Roots is that their markets don’t just happen anywhere, they happen at your favorite cafe or dive bar right in the heart of your local New York community.

Local Roots NYC has been in operation for six years, with over 25 market sites, and over 750 members.  When meeting up with Wen-Jay at one of her market locations set up outside of a cute Brooklyn cafe, I got an overwhelmingly inclusive community vibe.  Toddlers were running around, and Local Roots members came to grab their goods while also inviting me to their yoga class later that day… I felt right at home! Here’s some things we talked about that day:

How’d you come up with the idea for Local Roots?

I wanted to find a better, more social way to connect people and their communities to local farmers.  Creating Local Roots was my solution to the gap between farm to table.  Not only does it support local farmers but also the local businesses that we symbiotically partner with for our markets.

What makes this different than meal kits or other food delivery systems?

Having markets not only encourages the social aspect to shopping with us, but also greatly reduces waste.  When you order a food kit or have groceries delivered they tend to come with an excessive amount of packaging.  At are local market locations you can bring your own reusables and stop it at your favorite bar for a drink all at the same time.

How does your company take sustainability into account?

Each of our farmers practice different levels of sustainability.  Kindness to animals and to the land are extremely important to us.  Our vegetables are either Certified Naturally Grown, a grassroots alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program, or USDA Certified Organic . While the standards and the labels are the same – organic – the USDA Organic Program favors medium to big-sized farmers, and the Certified Naturally Grown program is better suited for small farmers. The Certified Naturally Grown label was created in 2002 in response to the USDA labeling, which is expensive in terms of time (paperwork per crop) and application fees. The Certified Naturally Grown program has farmers review fellow CNG farmers and prioritizes the exchange of feedback and ideas for growth.  More info on each of our famers can be found on our Farm page if you want to check it out.

So far what has been your favorite part of starting this company?

We’ve been running for over six years now.  In this time I’ve had customers become friends.  I’ve seen them get married and have babies, and I’ve seen those babies grow up on Local Roots produce.  Now these kids are almost three and they know so much more about their farmers and where their food comes from.  Not many other three year old kids are that connected to their food and how it grows! This makes me extremely happy and proud.

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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10 Most Affordable Cities For Singles

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If you are looking for the most affordable cities for singles, you have come to the right place. Apart from the reasonable rent for a 1BR apartment, and a decent hourly wage, we chose these locations for their fantastic culture perfect for single people who are up for more adventures. 

1. Columbus, Ohio 

A lot of young professionals eye Columbus, Ohio to be their home for a number of reasons. You will never run out of things to do here. If you love arts, theater, and music, then Columbus, Ohio, will undoubtedly hit the spot. And let’s not forget about the locals too. They are known as fun-loving people whom you can get along easily. Here, you can find parks, restaurants, and bars – perfect if you want to relax after a long day from work.  

Average Hourly Salary: $17.73

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $896  

2. Madison, Wisconsin

One of the most beautiful and affordable cities we highly recommend is Madison, Wisconsin. You can find jaw-dropping lakes, beaches, and parks. Many people consider this area for work and permanently live as it was named the Best Work-Life Balance City by SmartAsset in 2018.   

Average Hourly Salary: $18.87

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $1131  

3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

What we love about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is that they have a strong sense of community. For a single person, that should be included in your criteria when looking for a new home. As of the moment, a lot of companies and corporations are building their presence in the city. Thus, job opportunities increase year after year. The situation was far more different 20 years ago, wherein the younger population’s percentage is small due to a lack of job opportunities.    

Average Hourly Salary: $18.14

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR:  $1254

4. Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky’s population increases day by day, but the cost of living still remains low. In fact, the rent in this area is one of the most affordable in this list. This is why thousands of young professionals and single people would like to live in the city. 

Lexington has a stable economy and has a diverse job market. Regardless of your skills and specialties, you are likely to find a job in this city. 

Average Hourly Salary: $16.76

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $777

5. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Everything is cheap in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Think about the rent, fuel, food, and even shopping! That’s just one of the reasons why we urge single people to move here. But in reality, the city has more to offer. Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a booming economy, and we see more job opportunities opening over the years. Multinational corporations also consider building their headquarters in the area, proof of the city’s development, which you can take advantage of.  

Average Hourly Salary: $16.84

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $692  

6. Wichita, Kansas 

Wichita, Kansas, is a great vacation destination and a city where you can house big events. But apart from that, it is one of the best and most affordable cities for singles. 

Your commuting experience will be amazing as well. At an average, you only have to spend 19 minutes of travel to work. That’s way below the average commute time on a national scale. It also has excellent health care facilities. Plus, they have a lot of sunny days, giving locals more time for outdoor activities. 

Average Hourly Salary: $16.37

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $669

7. Fort Wayne, Indiana 

It’s impressive how Fort Wayne, Indiana, maintains a low cost of living with a high quality of life. It has a population of 264, 052, and the locals are incredibly welcoming. Adjusting here is easy, and you will instantly feel at home. 

Many people who relocated to the city did not have an idea of what Fort Wayne is all about. However, most of them were surprised to see how wonderful life here is. There is no congestion, like most cities in the US. So if you wish for a more relaxed lifestyle and a loving community, this is a perfect choice.

Average Hourly Salary: $16.58

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $758 

8. Omaha, Nebraska

We also included Omaha, Nebraska, in our Affordable Cities for Singles list for a handful of reasons. Here, you get to see a thriving business environment and several options for entertainment. The best part is, the cost of living is extremely low. 

It’s not only ideal for singles but also for couples planning to raise a family. And if you love good food and craft beer, Omaha, Nebraska will surely deliver. Lastly, it’s the ideal location for those who want to start a small business.  

Average Hourly Salary: $17.56

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $891 

9. Cincinnati, Ohio 

If you are always looking for things to do, then living in Cincinnati, Ohio, could be the perfect plan. Apart from a steady job market and low cost of living, the city has an amazing park system and world-class architecture. So whether you fancy arts or outdoor activities, you can do it all here. Cincinnati, Ohio, will also let you experience all seasons in one day!   

Average Hourly Salary: $17.88

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $1115 

10. Lincoln, Nebraska 

Last on our list of the most affordable cities for Singles is Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s also tagged as a safe city to move in. So if you are going to live alone, then include this location in your options. 

Don’t be surprised if strangers will initiate small talks here; this just means that the locals are friendly. This is also a haven for music lovers. As of the moment, Lincoln, Nebraska, has a population of 280,849. 

Average Hourly Salary: $16.75

Average Monthly Rent for 1BR: $807

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Top 5 Cities To Move To For Millennials On A Budget

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At some point in our lives, we’ve envisioned living comfortably in LA, NY, or other big cities in the US. It’s all thanks to what we view in movies or TV shows. Sadly, due to rising costs and unforeseen economic circumstances, we may no longer attain our dreams to become a big shot in a big city.

However, hope’s not all lost for millennials. There are still areas in the US where you can make a decent living without breaking the bank. In this article, we discuss the top 5 best cities for millennials to live while on a budget.

1. Raleigh, NC

Average cost of living:

  • Food: $388.12
  • Rent: $1,214.35
  • Utilities: $127.21
  • Internet: $55.79

Raleigh has become one of the best cities for Millennials because of the growing number of tech companies setting up camp in the city. Sure, there’s Silicon Valley and Seattle, but East Coast millennials won’t have to travel far to achieve their dreams of working with a tech company.

If you plan on working in the Research Triangle Park, you won’t have problems with the commute. Bus fares are cheap, and some buses have Wifi installed.

It’s not all work in Raleigh, though. Raleigh residents will have a lot to explore in their city because of their museums, parks, and attraction. Among the cities in the list, Raleigh hosts music shows almost every day in different venues. Music lovers will enjoy their time living here to discover various artists.

Besides that, Raleigh has a booming nightlife thanks to its bars. You’ve got choices between hidden or underground bars, so that you can visit a different one after work or on the weekends.

2. Columbus, OH

Average cost of living:

  • Food: $302.97
  • Rent: $1060.74
  • Utilities: $170.83
  • Internet: $57.40

Just like Raleigh, Columbus, Ohio, also has a thriving tech hub. In connection to that, Columbus is making developments in becoming a Smart City. Since their win in the 2015 Smart City Challenge, they’re making commitments to transform the city through technology. Who knows, when you move there, you might get to see a glimpse of the future.

As for the commute, you might have to take the bus or bike around the city. You can even ride an open-air golf car for free in Downtown Columbus.

People have also started to take an interest in Columbus because of its culture and breweries. One of their most popular attractions is the German Village. So, if you’re craving German food or want to learn more about German culture, that’s the place you want to be.

As for the breweries, Columbus has the famous Brewery District, where you can try out their most popular brews. Plus, it’s right beside the German Village, so you have more booze choices.

Also, Columbus is dubbed as America’s test market. People in Columbus get the first taste of the hamburgers and wear the newest designs. So, if you want to become a trendsetter, pack your bags to Columbus and take snaps for the ‘gram!

3. Grand Rapids, MI

Average cost of living:

The Right Place finds the city is the number two destination for millennials to live. Aside from its affordability, its overall atmosphere is what attracts people to visit and live there.

If you plan to or want to work for the healthcare or manufacturing industry, you can thrive in the Grand Rapids, since those have prospered in the city. However, you’ll still find work for any industry since there’s a high demand for employees there. According to Area Vibes, there’s a 6% unemployment rate in the city, so you still have a high chance of getting employed anywhere. That’s why it’s one of the best cities for Millennials.

Cycling is a much more affordable alternative to driving a car in Grand Rapids. You can take a bus, though, but the stations are limited.

Grand Rapids is almost an hour’s drive to the beaches in the state if you want to live in an affordable city and go to a beach. However, much as you would like to go to the beach in your swimwear, you might have to prepare winter jackets because the weather is unpredictable. You can still enjoy some activities like visiting breweries and cafes to warm you during winter or become your hangout place with friends.

4. Austin, TX

Average cost of living:

  • Food: $320.04
  • Rent: $1,660.45
  • Utilities: $154.52
  • Internet: $59.83

As compared to other cities on the list, Austin may have a higher cost of living. Still, Austin appeals to millennials because of their booming economy and sustainability measures.

In terms of commute, you may face challenges with traffic. You may use the bus instead or ride a bike to divert from the traffic.

If you’re saving up for something, but want to skip out on doing something extravagant, there are free events like live performances and music fests.

The one thing any Austin resident shouldn’t miss out is to try food trucks in the park too. It’s something you can splurge on once in a while. Plus, Austin is the home to the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival happening every March. Here, you can discover new artists or catch their faves. These should serve as a reason why Austin is one of the best cities for Millennials to move to and build up their career.

5. Boise, ID

Average cost of living:

Boise has emerged as one of the leading cities to live in because of its affordability. Even California and Washington millennials move to the city for a lower cost of living. One thing that may stop you from relocating is limited public transportation.

However, Boise is also making developments in becoming a greener city like bike rentals and geothermal energy. So, this is perfect for the environmentally conscious millennials. That’s why it’s beginning to set itself up as one of the best cities for millennials.

In terms of work prospects in Boise, you can work for any industry, but you can consider becoming an entrepreneur. It’s gaining attention as one of the fastest-growing cities to launch a startup.

Residents of Boise rave about the Boise River Greenbelt, where one can enjoy biking and scenic views. If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’ll enjoy hiking and skiing as well. If you’re into art and theater, you’re in luck because you can visit museums during the weekend and watch a production by the Boise theater companies.

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Top 10 Most Website Builders That Doesn’t Suck

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Create your own pages with the best website builders. There are hundreds to choose from but we’ve already selected the top 10 for you.  

Years ago, only professionals that know how to use codes can create an effective website. It’s a daunting skill that most of us would rather outsource. But as always, technology found a way to make website building easier for an average internet user. You don’t have to learn codes (although it’s still useful in some cases). And you can create your website in just a few minutes! All thanks to website builders. 

Best Website Builders 2020 

Before creating this list, we asked our team of website developers and designers to assess each website builder. Likewise, non-website builders from our group were also tasked to create simple pages. This approach allowed us to gauge each website builder based on its features and ease-of-use. 

1. Webflow

Webflow is a website builder that’s perfect for both amateurs and professionals. It allows you to create websites without using codes, yet you can still customize it depending on your needs. You will also find their templates useful so you don’t have to start your web design from scratch.

When we tested it out, our group didn’t have problems onboarding the platform. The instructions are straightforward and you can build right then and there. But just in case you need some help, their tutorial is tailored-fit for first-timers.

Webflow has this ‘Box Model’. It’s a process where you think of your elements as boxes. Generally, you have your image boxes, text boxes, and button boxes which you can overlay to get that web design you want.

If there is one improvement that we are looking forward to, that would be their personal support. Yes, tutorials are available, but of course, there are questions that are best answered by an actual support team. Webflow’s pricing starts at $35 per month. 

2. Carrd

Carrd might be an underdog in the world of website builders, but it sure does a great job. Aside from being user-friendly, the web pages you create from it will load fast. That’s a huge point for them. As for the templates, these are nothing short of amazing. Just some tweaks and you’re all set to go.

We also timed our test, from signing in until we created a live page. Surprisingly, it took us less than an hour.

However, this might not sit well for pros and for e-commerce content. Nevertheless, for a price of $19 per year for their Pro Lite package, this has got to be the cheapest in the market today. Yes, the cost is per year and it isn’t a typo.  

3. Wix 

Wix is probably one of the most popular website builders in the list – thanks to their aggressive marketing. But is Wix worth the rave?

It actually is. To date, there are more than 180M users around the globe and that’s a testimony that Wix works. It’s easy to use, yet customizable. In fact, your professional web designers will enjoy it too.

Wix design options are commendable as well. They have a huge library where you can find awesome templates that can instantly give your website that professional look.

Lastly, they have a reliable support team that can answer your concerns, the soonest possible time. Wix has several plans to choose from and starts at $24.50 per month. 

4. Squarespace

Included in our best website builders list is Squarespace. This is the right platform if your priority is the visual appearance. Their templates are carefully designed. The main challenge is actually choosing one (because everything seems to be perfect).

If this is your first time to design a website, Squarespace will not intimidate you. Just drag and drop elements, and you are all set. It doesn’t matter if you are building a website for your online store, a non-profit organization, travel, or photography blog. This website builder will surely have something for you.

There is no blank canvas though. But that’s not enough for us to dislike it. You can start with their Personal plan for only $12 per month. 

5. Duda

Duda has everything you need for a good website builder plus more. Apart from being user-friendly and having cool templates, it also has a feature where you and your team can easily collaborate. The platform allows you to leave comments on the design and this makes the entire process faster.

One of the downsides of choosing Duda is that their plans are quite costly. Getting their least expensive package for $14 per month is too restricted in our opinion. 

6. GoDaddy

Another website builder that has taken the world by storm is GoDaddy. We’ve already used this platform a couple of years ago, and we have to say that there were a lot of improvements. The designs are now modern, and there are SEO and marketing features that are obviously essential for your website’s success.

Quite frankly, most website builders will promise you the same thing – that you can build a website right away. The same is also true with GoDaddy. But what sets it apart is its customer service. They have 24/7 support through phone, email, and ticketing systems. So basically, it doesn’t matter where you are. If ever you have trouble with your website, just reach out to them and get answers fast. However, if you are looking for a website builder that allows more creative and design freedom, this might not be the best choice.

You can get a package for $10 a month.  

7. Ucraft

Ucraft isn’t one of the biggest players in the market, but it still deserves to be on our list of the best website builders. You can create your blog, business website, or e-commerce page from this platform. As for the ease-of-use, we have to say that it can be a bit challenging as you cannot move the ‘ready-made blocks’ around your template. It’s as if there is a pre-determined space allotted for these.

What we enjoyed though is the free logo maker. This is ideal for a startup company that has yet to create their brand identity. Their Pro package is $10 per month. 

8. Shopify

If you are building an online store, then we could not recommend anything better than Shopify. And right now, it powers more than 800,000 businesses around the world. They have an amazing inventory, tracking, and shipping tools.

This is ideal even if you don’t have an idea about e-commerce design. Everything you need is here. They even have their own payment gateway. The interface is simple and clear so you can start building your online empire whenever you want to.

The Basic Shopify Plan is $29 per month. But as you grow your business, we encourage you to get their higher tiered packages.  

9. Weebly

We cannot really say that Weebly is the best website builder. In fact, back in the days, you will find reviews mocking their templates for being below average. They took it to the core and made changes. And we are happy to say, it’s all good now. If they continue making improvements, we will not be surprised if it will get a bigger portion of the market soon.

As of the moment, we can recommend it for small businesses only. You can add advanced site tools if you want. It’s versatile enough not just for beginners but also for pros in web designing. 

Their Professional package starts at $12 if you subscribe for one year. 

10. Webnode

Lastly, we have Webnode, a website builder that supports more than 20 languages. This means you can create a multilingual website. That’s precisely the reason they now have more than 40M registered users. And let’s not forget, it is also great for SEO.

Just recently, they made improvements to their editor and shopping cart features. Nothing’s wrong with the old ones. But seeing that they are proactive in making changes, that’s already a good sign on how they will handle future requirements. As of the moment, this is not the ideal choice for e-commerce websites.

If you want a professional and bilingual website, you can choose their Standard package for only $11.95 per month. 

Conclusion 

Having a website now brings added value to your business and organization. There’s no reason for you not to have one given the best website builders out there. A quick reminder though. Don’t forget to look at the package’s inclusions. The cheapest one might be too restricted and it would be more practical to get the higher plans. So take your time in understanding the features and then start building your website. 

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