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JoyBinge Ep. 20: Wonky Potatoes & New Branding!

Listen to the episode here or on SoundCloud through the links below!

Listen to the episode here!

Listen to the last episode here!

Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. We are Kimmy and Sinow, bringing you some good news to celebrate! We are not journalists or professionals of any sort in the news industry. We just want to spread good news to you! This week’s episode focuses on the past two weeks from March 10-23, 2019. Let’s binge on some joy!

We have new branding! My good friend, James Cole, designed a beautiful new logo for our podcast along with lots of branding details that I’ve slowly been implementing. Mostly just the font. I’ve only changed the font in the blog posts. But now you will see a new logo next to the podcasts on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and my website, as well as a new header on Twitter, SoundCloud, and again, my website! I am so incredibly thankful that he was willing to do this for us and how gorgeous it all came out. So special shout out to James, thank you for the amazing work!


3 cities in the U.S. have ended chronic homelessness: Here’s how they did it

  • Published by Fast Company, written by Adele Peters on March 11th

  • Communities around the world face many similar problems and have for centuries. Homelessness is one of the biggest issues our world has encountered, seemingly unsolvable. Until now.

  • Built for Zero” is a national program created by a nonprofit called Community Solutions and is focused on ending chronic and veteran homelessness

  • Rosanne Haggerty, president of the nonprofit, told Peters, “By ending homelessness, we mean getting to a place where it’s rare, brief, and it gets solved correctly and quickly when it does happen. That’s a completely achievable end state, we now see.”

  • The article goes on to say, “The nonprofit, which calls this goal “functional zero,” announced today that it is accelerating its work in 50 communities.”

  • Abilene, TX recently announced that they are the 9th city in the nation and the first in Texas to have reached this “functional zero” goal with veteran homelessness

  • There is a map on their website where you can see which communities are involved in the program and which have already achieved “functional zero” goals!

  • Bergen County, New Jersey “was the first in the country to end chronic homelessness, reaching the goal in 2017.”

  • How are Bergen County and Abilene able to achieve these goals that many have been tackling for years? The article says, “One key to the process is data, and a visual dashboard that lets agencies track people experiencing homelessness in real time. In Abilene, with a population a little more than 120,000, for example, the city located every homeless veteran, gathered information about each individual situation, and stored this information in a “by-name list” that was continually updated.”

  • By having data in one location that every agency in the city could access, update, and utilize, real changes could be made. Also making sure the data is person specific, not generalized helped meet specific needs and reduce the amount of time needed to get the person the help they actually needed

  • The Built for Zero program helped Abilene achieve their goal after only participating for 10 months

  • The data not only helps to see what needs the person has, but allows the agencies involved to reach out to other groups who might be able to help

  • For example, Bergen County saw that their data reflected that more seniors were facing homelessness. So they were able to reach out to shelters and start figuring out how to add skilled nurses into their systems

  • Many places have all the resources to end chronic homelessness in their areas but don’t have this type of system to organize those resources so everyone knows who to turn to for what

  • How did Built for Zero get this kind of technology? Through partnering with the Tableau Foundation from Tableau Software

  • They had first used this live dashboard format for organizing data when assisting Zambia to tackle their malaria issue. Zambia was able to “reduce malaria deaths by more than 90%, and reduce malaria cases by more than 80%.”

  • So when the realization came about that the software could be used to assist homeless people get the assistance they need, Built for Zero was born.

  • Technology isn’t the only thing that helps communities reach their goal - a change in attitude about homelessness is really key

  • Haggerty told Peters, “We are doing a lot of thinking about how do we change norms so that the expectations shift so that more and more people understand that this is a solvable problem, and just kind of sitting it out and just complaining about resources or the other guy is just not going to be acceptable anymore. We find ourselves thinking a lot these days about marriage equality, smoking, drunk driving–some of these movements in our recent lifetime where an issue went from ‘What’s to be done,’ to ‘We are going to commit ourselves to a different set of behaviors now. We’re going to own different norms.’ And I think that needs to happen on homelessness.”

  • Here is the link to the article discussing An Post, an Irish mailing service (and more!), and their rebranding including providing addresses for homeless people to use until they get their own permanent address.

Finland is the happiest country in the world again, launches contest for free trip

  • Published by NBC News, written by Elisha Fieldstadt on March 20th

  • Guess which country was named the happiest country in the world...again! Finland!

  • Cleverly, Finland decided to use this election to promote their tourism industry, but in a funny way

  • The article reports, “The country’s tourism board is holding a contest in which eight people will win a free trip to Finland and will be paired with Finnish hosts.”

  • They call it “rent your very own Finn

  • Want to know their secret? Apparently it’s their nature. Yup. Just their nature. Visit Finland, the tourism company using this campaign, put out a release that stated, “Our secret is in our nature, very literally. When others go to therapy, Finns put on a pair of rubber boots and head to the woods.”

  • Not to say that therapy isn’t useful or needed, and I’m sure that’s not what Visit Finland is trying to say. But rather if you need some peace and quiet in your life, you can enter their contest for a free trip of three summer days to stay with one of their hosts and learn the Finnish appreciation for nature

  • The Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN puts out the World Happiness Report every year

  • They rank 156 countries through citizens evaluating their lives in those said countries

  • The UK is 15th on the list and the US is 19th

HOMESLICE of Scotland & Texas:


Wonky spud vodka couple eye export market

  • Published by BBC News, written by Andrew Black on March 11th

  • A couple who farms potatoes has been using potatoes they can’t sell to market in their vodka distillery

  • Markets tend to have a picky standard for what veggies and fruits will look like so what do you do with the unpresentable ware? Find a new use!

  • Caroline and Graeme Jarron founded Ogilvy Farm and Ogilvy Distillery which is where they use their “ugly” potatoes to make vodka!

  • In the effort of figuring out what works best, the Jarrons worked with the brewing and distilling department of Heriot-Watt University

  • The article states, “They then spent another seven months perfecting the process, before settling on Maris Piper as the perfect potato with which to make vodka.”

  • Even though Ogilvy Distillery has had difficulty selling enough product in the UK, they are hopeful for sales in the Middle East and the US

  • The Jarrons spent £150,000 on creating a visitor center for tours to learn more about their wonky potato vodka

  • They are hoping to host tours for 3,000 people this year!


Woman who was smallest baby in Texas now works at the NICU that saved her life

  • Published by WFAA, written by Leslie Draffin on March 20th

  • Tammy Lewis was born in 1985 as the smallest baby in Texas

  • She was a micro preemie born 3 and a half months early in the 24th week of pregnancy

  • Tammy weighed 1lb 4oz with a 5-10% chance of survival

  • Now Tammy works as a respiratory therapist in the neonatal intensive care unit (or NICU) of the Baylor Scott and White McLane Hospital in Temple where she was cared for during those first shaky months of life

  • Growing up, Tammy knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to do what the nurses did at the hospital - care for lives such as hers

  • She told Draffin, “Going through school, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to work with children, and not just children, but NICU patients. Not many people can say you can go work where you were born and care for the same type of babies like you were and be able to give back in that way.”

  • Tammy even gets to work with some of the same doctors, nurses, and therapists who helped her 34 years ago

  • Draffin quotes Tammy as saying, “My hope is that those parents who have children like I was can see a success story, working right there alongside you, working with you and your child, getting to know them and showing them there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I hope I can give them a little hope.”

Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to me! I’ve got an email, or tweet at me @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!


The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

"Industrious Ferret" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Dallas, TX


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